Congratulations! You’ve found the site that will seemingly answer all of your questions and has exactly what you need – but it won’t load. The culprit could be page load speed, which is comprised of one or many technical issues. So many people are aware of how maddening it is when a page takes forever to load, but are oblivious to same problem on their own site.
“Page load speed” or “page load time” is the time it takes to download and display all content of a web page in a browser. It may seem like a small issue if a site takes an additional second or two to load, but it can have huge consequences. Even a one second delay in page response can cause a 7% drop in conversions and Amazon ran an experiment and determined if their site ran just 1 second slower, it would cost them $1.6 Billion a year in sales.
A slow page load time can also affect your site if it’s not ecommerce. It can send your bounce rate sky high and other key performance indicators plummeting. 47% of people expect your site to load in less than two seconds and 47% will leave the site entirely if it takes longer than three seconds. When these users leave your site they often go to a competitor’s site for the same information.
If that doesn’t convince you, even Google uses page load time as a factor in its ranking algorithm, so if your site is running slow, the search engine may prioritize another site instead of yours. If it’s not bad enough to have users leaving your site once they’ve found it, you could be in a position where no one will find your site at all. These revelations have made page speed a major SEO initiative that all website owners should be paying attention to.
The first step in solving a problem is admitting you have one, but a number of site owners don’t even know a problem exists with their page loading time. Luckily there are plenty of free tools online that can diagnose your site issues and recommend solutions for them. The tricky thing is to determine which site is best for you – this is where our list comes in. We’ve compiled five site speed testing tools we’ve used and will address the capabilities, similarities and differences of all of them. So let’s dig in.
1. Google PageSpeed Insights
KeyCDN offers testing and insights on a more granular level, like Google PageSpeed Insights, they give you detailed insights on how your website performs. But unlike Google, KeyCDN allows you to test sites from 16 different locations around the globe to see how it loads from there. The site serves up a detailed breakdown and a visual preview of the site at the bottom of the page. KeyCDN also allows you to keep the results of your site testing public or private if that is a concern. One of the downsides of this tool is that it can be a little too detailed for someone new to the digital space.
Pingdom, like KeyCDN, allows you to choose different locations to test your site from. You receive a performance grade, the load time for your page, what percentile your site is in load speed among other tested sites, and page size. It offers a great list of suggestions you can add to your site to allow it to run faster. Like KeyCDN, Pingdom returns a lot of information which can confuse a novice user and leaving them questioning the key takeaways.
Like other tools in this list WebPagetest allows you to choose locations to test your site from, but is ahead of the pack offering 40 locations! You can also test from about 25 different browsers, including mobile. This site assigns your site a letter grade based on a combination of factors including; FTTB, Compression, Browser Caching and more. Along with this you will also receive a summary of your site with details, a performance review, content breakdown and screen shots. One of the troubles, oddly enough, is that you might have to wait a little longer for results as it’s slower than other tools.
GTMetrix also allows you to test from different locations and browsers – but still has a great user experience allowing all users to comprehend the suggestions, which may not be the case for KeyCDN or Pingdom which are a little more specialized. You also receive page details including full loading time for your page, total page size and # of requests needed to load the page along with detailed recommendations for further optimizations.
These tools are user-friendly and effective in diagnosing your site problems and suggesting fixes for them. Some of these fixes are easy and some may be more technical. Many novice site owners can fix the more simple problems, but you may need to consult your in-house web team or contact an experienced agency to correct the rest. Now you know the problem, it’s time to address your site speed.
Have you experienced issues with any of the tools listed above? Do you prefer one over the other? Or is your favorite tool not on this list? Add your questions or comments below! we’re always here to help and on the lookout for the newest and coolest marketing tools.