Informative

How to Properly Run a Website Speed Test

Speed is essential to successfully run a website.  There are two main reasons why it is necessary to consider your website’s speed. First, page speed analysis is one of the primary factors that Google takes into consideration when ranking websites. The faster the website, the higher the chances of being featured on the highly coveted Google first page. Second, good user experience is significant. If your website has slow loading speed, a huge percentage of your website visitors may click the exit button without even checking what your site has to offer.

Olivia Scott

Guest Writer

Feb 4, 2020

Why fast website speed is important

1. SEO ranking 

Recently, Google changed its search directions to a mobile-first index. This means it now uses the mobile version of your website for indexing and ranking content. 

Thus, the mobile version of your site should load faster than the desktop version. Although the speed may vary depending on the industry and type of your website, it should load within 3 to 4 seconds. The lesser the load time, the better the SEO ranking and organic traffic your site will get.

2. User experience and conversion rate

Site speed directly affects the user experience, which, in return, affects SEO. Also, low loading speed leads to a high bounce rate and a lower conversion rate.

3. Google paid search 

The loading speed of your site affects the quality of results you’ll get from paid Google ads. Based on Google’s last update, the landing page experience that users get when they check your site will not only affect the quality score of your site but also the rank of your Google ads and PPC costs. 

Thus, if your site loads fast, your site’s paid Google ads will be positively affected.

4. Social media ads

Facebook and Instagram both pre-load or pre-fetch advertisers’ sites before approving their social media ads. This is to make sure that its users will not wait for a long time to check the sites of advertisers. Moreover, these social media platforms state that website landing page speed will also affect ad auctions and delivery. 

In a 2016 internal study by Facebook, it found that pre-loading advertisers’ sites can speed up the mobile site loading process by around 8.5 seconds. This boosts the total number of ad clicks that lead to advertisers’ sites as well as the overall performance of their ads. 

How to run a website speed test

Running a single speed test may not provide a wholesome overview of how your website is performing. This is because numerous factors can affect the quality of the test results.

Below are some of the ways that will you get more accurate results.

1. Run multiple tests 

Although most speed test tools are reliable, each test will provide different results. The usual difference between the tests is the exact time it takes to load the web page. Therefore, you should run multiple tests to get more accurate results.

2. Use multiple test locations 

If you are in Asia and your website receives visitors from the US and UK, then testing using servers in Asia may not provide accurate results. What you should do is use tools like Google Analytics to see where most of your visitors come from and list the top 5 most common locations of your site visitors. 

If most of your users come from the US, UK, Netherlands, Switzerland, and Germany, then you can use a VPN to hide your location in Asia and change it into one of those countries to see how fast your website will load on your computer.

3. Turn on website caching 

Before running the speed test on your website, make sure caching is turned on

A cache is a temporary storage of web documents that can reduce server load and site lag. Turning on your website cache will enable your server to recognise requests from repeating visitors, which will then allow them to get a faster loading site when they visit your website again. 

Best tools to run a website speed test

There are various free and paid tools that you can use to test the speed of your website. Since each tool has unique features for measuring website performance, it is advisable to use more than one tool to get comprehensive results. 

Below is the list of the best tools you can use to run a website speed test.

1. IsItWP website speed test tool 

This is a free website testing tool that is very easy to use, even for beginners. 

It will enable you to check your website performance by running numerous tests and determine what is slowing down your site. The best part is that the improvement suggestions are organized neatly.

2. Pingdom

This is one of the most famous website speed test tools on the market. 

Pingdom sets itself apart from the rest because it allows you to run the speed test on different geographical locations. In addition, the test results are displayed in a way that is easy to understand.

3. Google PageSpeed Insights 

The most noticeable feature of this tool is that it provides reports for both mobile and desktop sites. 

In fact, you can switch between the reports to find common issues. Apart from the speed test, this tool offers detailed recommendations that will help you improve your website.

4. GTmetrix

GTmetrix is a popular website monitoring tool that will enable you to test your website speed using powerful tools like PageSpeed and YSlow. 

Like Pingdom, it will allow you to change the test location. Also, apart from the summary of the results, you will get detailed reports of your website performance.

5. WebPageTest

This is another free tool you can use to test your website speed. 

Even though it may be a bit complicated to beginners, it is also a reliable tool that will enable you to choose a different geographic location. It also provides a detailed view of each result. 

Conclusion

To sum up, if you want your website visitors to have excellent user experience as well as boost your site’s SEO ranking and overall ads performance, run a website speed test now, make changes on your site and don’t waste any more time.

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Olivia Scott

Marketing Manager @ VPNpro

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