Metrics, Tools, and How to Advance Page Speed Optimization

Website Optimization Matters

Page loading speed is one of the most critical websites ranking factors, especially when we take into account the expansion of mobile browsing. Users want fast websites, or they’ll click away. According to Kissmetrics, 40% of people abandon a site if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load.

Unfortunately, even though making a website is relatively easy with tools like Weebly and Wix, it doesn’t guarantee that the site will load quickly. Let’s have a closer look at page speed optimization and some metrics and tools that can help you determine how to improve your site optimization and page loading speed:

How Page Loading Works and What Can Slow It Down

Loading a page is a complicated process from a technical standpoint. It involves various requests between the domain name providers and servers, and issues can abound during this back-and-forth. Some of the most common ones include images that are too large, hosting problems (older, slower, computers) , third-party scripts, large theme files, complicated redirecting system and the JavaScript itself.

Some of The Site Speed Metrics You May Encounter

When you start analyzing your site speed metrics and assessing the level of your website optimization, you’ll encounter some of these terms:

  • First paint — the first non-black paint that appears on a screen as a page starts loading;
  • First contentful paint — the first content that appears;
  • First meaningful paint — the first instance when primary material becomes visible;
  • Time to interactive — the first instance when the page becomes usable for the user;
  • DOM content loaded — the first instance when HTML loads and parses completely.

Tools to Help You Pinpoint and Fix the Issue

Google generally provides most of the useful tools that can help you pinpoint what your loading speed issues are. Some of them, like the Chrome User Experience Report, is only available for large websites that get a lot of traffic. However, there are others that every site can use:

  • Lighthouse — available in Chrome Dev Tools which allows you to run a Lighthouse report in the Audit tab of the Chrome Dev Tools part of Inspect Element;
  • Testing mobile speed — testmysite.thinkwithgoogle.com provides an excellent way to test your site’s mobile speed and evaluate how much traffic you may be losing due to your website speed;
  • Page speed insights — a part of the Chrome User Experience Report which still does a favourable job to evaluate the configuration of your website and provide some feedback based on that information.
  • Talk to a professional and get back to your real job 🙂

Depending on which issue ails you, there are a few ways to improve your page loading speed. Whether your website is fast or not, it’s always a good idea to compress images and use caching with a CDN (Content Delivery Network.) Other ways of improving your site speed include minifying resources, using HTTP/2, as well as prefetching, pre connecting, and preloading content. Yeah, this can get technical.

With page loading speed playing such an essential role in your website ranking, it’s critical to ensure optimization, so your SEO efforts are not wasted after months of work.

If you’d like to see the results of your marketing efforts faster, don’t hesitate to contact me. I’d love to discuss your marketing strategy and help in any way I can.

Rob Dunford is a Marketing Consultant in the Great Toronto Area with over 20 years of experience in implementing marketing plans for small businesses.

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