We’ve all stared at our screen waiting for a painfully slow website to load. Whether you waited or left the website altogether — your overall experience was likely tainted by the poor load time.
When it comes to an e-commerce site, a fast website matters (a lot). When your website fails to load quickly:
- Google may penalize your search ranking
- Your customers are less likely to make a purchase
- Visitors lose trust in your website
How to check your website speed
There are many free resources online that you can use to test the performance of your website and determine the areas that you can improve. We recommend the following sites:
The first tool we recommend for measuring your website’s performance is Google’s PageSpeed Insights.
Below the main score, it tells you how long it takes for any text or images to load and then the total load time. As you scroll down the page, you will see suggestions for how to speed up your web page.
The first contentful paint (FCP) and speed index (SI) note the experience your customers are getting. If your FCP is four seconds and the SI is seven seconds, that means your customers aren’t able to interact with your website from four to seven seconds.
As you are looking through your data, keep in mind that Google puts a really high value on mobile website speed. PageSpeed Insights will give you a detailed look at the performance of your mobile site.
However, if you want an even simpler way to get your mobile website speed, you can use their Test My Site tool. It will tell you the site’s load time and give a few suggestions for optimization without bogging you down with too many details.
GTmetrix is a free tool that gives you a score based on your website’s load speed and identifies specific ways to improve it.
Before testing your website, we recommend creating an account. This will allow you to customize your test so you can get the most accurate results.
We recommend customizing your:
- Location (based on where your server is located)
- Type of connection (i.e. LTE mobile or broadband)
After you launch the test, you will see two different results categories: Performance Scores and Page Details.
The scores given are based on how your site compares to others in the past 30 days. A green arrow means that it performs better than average while a red arrow means that it is performing worse than average.
As you scroll down, you will get into the why of your results. You will see a letter grade for each category along with specific areas where you can reduce the size of files on your site.
Note: Look at the size of the files that GTmetrix is recommending you condense. There may be some recommendations that are so small, it won’t make a difference if you condense them.
WebPageTest gives you a series of scores based on the different components that contribute to your site’s load time. Underneath your score, you’ll see the load time from the first byte to the full page content.
As you scroll down the page, you will also see a waterfall view, connection view and request details for your site.
Benefits of using WebPage Test include:
- Test location feature so you can test closer to your target audience
- Capture video option that allows you see the site load from your visitor’s point of view
- First Byte Time to show you how quickly your server (not just the website code) delivers content
- Waterfall view that displays which assets on your website take the longest to load and block it from fully loading
When you are testing site speed, we recommend using a variety of tools to determine how your site is performing. Each resource we’ve shared measures your site differently.
Using these tools together will paint a full picture of your site’s performance. It will also give you a better idea of what your priorities should be.
Next steps to better website performance
Running diagnostic tests is only the first step in getting your site up to speed. To learn more about how to improve your website performance, read our Magento blog or WordPress blog.
We also offer free consultations to help you identify ways to improve your site. You can schedule your consultation here.