Who has time for a slow website?
Visitors these days are notoriously impatient.
Fortunately, there are many tools out there today that let you test your page speed for free.
The best tools show you how your website loads and give you tips on what you can improve. GTmetrix is one you don’t want to miss.
You can use GTMetrix for free and unlock some extra features by signing up for a basic account (also free). You can upgrade for a fee and take advantage of premium features.
This tool will take a video of your site loading. You can see the progression for yourself.
Check out this video of the SYMDIY home page loading. Keep in mind that this video would be more interesting if the page loaded slowly!
Because it’s fast, you just see a loaded page after the first flash. That’s what you want to see with your website too.
Pretty cool. But what if your website doesn’t load in a flash?
See Your Results
GTmetrix shows you what’s loading on your website and how long each element takes. Just paste your URL into the box, click the button, and watch the test.
While you wait, check out their useful tips and information. During the brief analysis, you can a few interesting things:
Did you know?
- GTmetrix has analyzed 475,838 URLs in the past 24 hours!
- Don’t forget about the speed of your server! Low-cost/Cheap shared hosting often provides insufficient resources for your website to run optimally.
Read fast and take in those facts and tips!
Within seconds, you’ll get your performance report, filled with a treasure trove of useful information. All for free.
Here are the results for SIMDIY:
As you can see, it’s a nice report. Go get your own report here. It’s easy and fun.
Also, try testing the websites of some of your favorite companies. You’ll notice that even some big-name companies seem to neglect their website performance.
You don’t want to be like them. Test and tweak your website often. It’s much easier to test along the way than it is to slog through a long-neglected website down the road.
Keep in mind that Google has said they will weigh performance more in the future, placing greater emphasis on mobile than desktop. Performance matters.
GTmetrix is a great option, but there are many other free tools. Mix and match and see what you can learn.
Global giant Google offers a free tool called Page Speed Insights where you can see how you’re doing. You can also install the Google Site Kit WordPress plugin to see your results right inside the admin window.
Notice with Google, mobile scores are almost always lower than desktop scores. According to Ezoic, there are three main reasons mobile scores tend to be lower:
- Mobile devices generally have slower processors
- PageSpeed Insights simulates the cell network at a slower speed
- Mobile devices have device-specific CSS rules (re-sizing images, viewport size, etc.)
Google has a “mobile-first” policy. That means your mobile score is more important than your desktop score. You should keep this priority in mind when making decisions. But no matter what, your mobile score will usually be lower.
Some sites will say they can tell you how to achieve 100/100 but with few exceptions, that isn’t a practical goal. If you can achieve a mobile score of 70+ and a desktop score of 90+ pretty consistently, you’re doing well.
WebpageTest is another good option. Mix and match, and find the best advice for speeding up your website.
Website performance matters to your users and to search engines.
Keep your site lean and clean by only using the plugins you need and a fast, high-quality theme like Astra. Keep everything up-to-date, including, WordPress.
These tips alone may keep your site humming along without the need to venture under the hood at all. If you do decide you need to jump in and tinker, be sure you back up your website first!
Performance tuning involves a lot of trial and error. If you do enough of it, you can and almost certainly will break your website. So back it up. Every. Single. Time.