According to Moz, 47 percent of web users expect a page to load in under two seconds, and those good folk at Moz also say that 75 percent of consumers will head for a competitor site instead of waiting for a slow loading page.
So, slow loading pages affect your site's user experience and conversion rates, and can also affect your rankings in organic search and the 'Quality Score' for your Adwords search advertising. Not only will your site under-perform, you'll end up paying more for click-throughs than you need to.
And with Australia's slow internet putting us behind the eight-ball anyway, it's well worth investing the time to test for slow pages and grabbing some handy hints on how to speed them up... which is where these tools can help...
Chrome's developer tools
First up is the Chrome browser's built-in developer tools. They're intended for web developers and provide way too much information for us mere marketers, but some of the tools are very useful for testing download speeds.
There's also the added bonus of showing you how a page displays on a range of devices including various versions of iPhone, iPad, Galaxy, etc. This could prove useful, especially when the Mobile Devices report in Google Analytics shows poor behaviour metrics (bounce rate, pages/session, session duration) for your site through a particular device.
The tool also allows you to ‘throttle’ your internet connection so that you can see how long a page takes to load through 3G, for example.
- Open your Chrome browser and go to a site.
- Press CTRL-SHIFT-I.
- Click the mobile button.
- Click Network.
- In the Device box, select a device (e.g. iPhone 5).
- In the Network box, select a network (e.g. 3G).
- Navigate your selected site, and each page’s load speed is displayed.
Google's PageSpeed Insights
Not only can you get your mitts on these insights through your Google Analytics account, the very same information is also available through Google's stand-alone PageSpeed Insights.
Both options provide desktop and mobile-specific recommendations to help you decrease a page's load time. There's also the bonus of some handy hints to improve your site's mobile user experience.
Quick and easy, pingdom is another tool to test the download speed of a page.
Enter a page's URL, select a location from where to run the test, sit back for a sec, and you'll get a whole heap of useful stuff. As well as the page load time, the tool also a gives a performance grade and a comparison against the average for bit of perspective.