We live in busy times, attention spans are limited, everyone expects websites to load instantly! Speed is an important factor to ensure your website is effective and is listed well in search engine results! We test a BigFish website for loading speed.
You would think that as networks have gotten faster and faster, we would have to worry much less about how long it takes a website to load. The fact is, no matter how fast the networks, designers always take advantage and push the limits of whats available, adding media to web designs including videos and large high definition images. There's obviously a balance to be made here - we want to show great content, but we need to be wary of how much this content can slow down the page loading. However, it is possible to "have your cake and eat it too" if you optimise every possible aspect of your website for fast loading times.
Google takes this seriously and so should you! In the quest to rank websites in their search results, Google has used loading speed since 2010 for their desktop results. In 2018 they are taking loading speed up a notch by applying it to their mobile results listings too. Basically, if your website runs slowly then you are providing a bad user experience and therefore your website should not be listed as high up the list of results as one that provides the same answers but loads quickly.
There are lots of tools out there to test website loading speed, here are two of our favourites.
Gtmetrix provides a very detailed audit of your websites speed. You simply enter your website url on this page.
Here we test one of our BigFish samples, the Barracuda e-commerce website; https://www.bigfish.ltd/ (please feel free to test it yourself).
There are two main scores, the PageSpeed Score and the YSlow Score. The PageSpeed score uses algorithms from Google and the YSlow score is based on Yahoo's rules for high-performance websites. There are also 5 tabs for the results, PageSpeed, Yslow, Waterfall, Timings, Video and History and each tab is full of recommendations of improvements that you can make to improve your website's scores.
Here, our BigFish website scored two A's (91% and 92%) which we are pretty happy with, and all the green arrows indicate that it is faster than the average website tested. We can get the non-e-commerce version of BigFish even faster, but we are more than happy with these results as they stand.
To test with Pingdom simple enter your url on to this page. You can choose where to test from (USA, Australia or Sweden) and then start the test. GtMetrix also allows location-based testing like this but only after you register for a free account.
When we test https://www.bigfish.ltd/ with Pingdom we can see the results are slightly different to those given by GTmetrix. Loading times are broadly similar and are probably affected by the test location as much as anything else. The results show that the website is faster than 58% of websites tested with a performance grade of 87/100 which we are happy with.
These tests are the be-all and end-all of website optimisation, speed just plays one small part in the optimisation of websites. And its also important not to get too hung up on the scores, as its possible to go down deep rabbit holes to get a "perfect score" but have very little real-world improvements to talk of.
Make sure to test your website and please do get in touch if you want help with optimisations.
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