Along with security and authority, your website speed is critical to how successful you are on the internet. But why? If your website is slow, then that negatively affects how well it converts. Slower websites are typically ranked lower in Google’s Search engine results pages (SERP). Not only do they fail to show up where you need them, but they also drive your potential customers away.
But how do you know when your website speed is great? Website speed issues are often technical in nature and will sometimes require the help of a developer. However, if you run a speed analysis on your website it could help you identify areas of improvement to focus on.
However, there are some factors that might affect your report and make things even more confusing when you try to analyze your speed report. So, before testing, there are some things we might want to take a look at first. Let’s begin.
Before running a Website speed test.
Consider these four factors before performing a speed test. These will help you make sense of the results and provide ways for how you can use the information that you acquired.
- On-Page SEO
- Content Delivery Network (CDN)
Having these factors considered you’re well on your way to make sense of your results and improve your website if necessary.
1. Consider your hosting provider.
If you follow WordPress’s officially recommended hosting list, then you’ll stumble upon three recommendations. SiteGround, Bluehost, and DreamHost. Both Bluehost and Dreamhost are owned by the same company so we’ll only do a comparison with SiteGround and Bluehost to consider Website speed factors.
Faster Storage = Faster Websites
All websites are stored somewhere on a server’s hard drive. SiteGround provides SSD storage for your websites, which is slightly more expensive but will not have you disappointed with speed. Bluehost uses traditional storage methods which is cheaper, however, you suffer from the loss of speediness.
More data centers = Faster Websites
Data centers are typically where your website is located physically on a server. With having a data center near you, you’ll be sure to have greater speed and this is important for users visiting your website who are not located in your region. SiteGround has 4 data centers in Chicago, London, Amsterdam, and Singapore; while Bluehost has 1 in Utah.
Server-side caching = Faster websites
When conducting speed tests your results will be affected mostly by caching. Caching is basically storing your data in the fastest memory possible for a period of time. SiteGround, out the gate, is equipt with caching by the hosting provider while Bluehost only offers to cache using third party plugin.
Hosting is the first and most important factor for speed, therefore, if you are not getting the results you want, consider changing hosting providers. Here are our most recommended hosting providers for WordPress users.
2. Your On-Page SEO Counts.
Image size affects loading speed.
While there are many keys to On-page SEO. We will only focus on the roles your image play to determine your website’s loading speed.
You can reduce your image size by using lossy or lossless compression. Lossy compression simply discards some of the information, while lossless compression keeps the information so that your file can be restored fully after compression.
Use screenshots instead of large-sized images
Your browser should allow you with tools to capture images online instead of downloading the original files.
Caching stores data in a quick-access memory location for a period of time. This is similar to having your tools in your hands as opposed to in your toolkit. So basically, it allows you faster access but it does not store everything at once, only what you will need at the moment.
Cache memory is very high speed and also expensive. Siteground’s hosting plans include in-built caching, but if you are not using this web host, then you can use a caching plugin.
4. Content Delivery Network (CDN)
A CDN is similar to a data center that produces your website to users in different regions. CDN’s normally come with features like caching and compression that allows for faster content delivery and coupled with redundant physical locations; this severely affects the speed of your website.
With SiteGround you get free access to Cloudflare CDN on your cPanel. CDN’s can speed up your WordPress website loading up to 50%.
Best practices for running a website speed test.
Stick to one location at a time.
When using tools like Pingdom, sticking to one location for your speed test will yield consistent results.
To get an accurate depiction of what your users experience, test from the location that most of them are located.
This is not to say that you cannot use other locations, you should, but ensure that you test one location at a time. Analyze the data and see where you are lacking. If you are not getting reasonable speeds in a certain region, it may be time to switch to a better host or use a CDN.
Not every tool tests speed the same.
Each tool uses different techniques to report their findings. Stick to one tool and do multiple tests. In this case, any tool you choose is alright because they are accurate when gauging improvements and consistent in their findings.
5 Best WordPress Speed Test Tools 2019
Pingdom is one of the most user-friendly speed test tools for your WordPress website. It is a free interface that allows you to see your site’s statistics in several different criteria, namely; Image page performance, response codes, content size by type, content size by domain and file requests. You can filter your file requests order based on specific information that you need, whether about loading time or other features like the content type.
Pingdom scores your page speed out of 100 and gives you suggestions on how you can improve your page score. With every test, Pingdom historically keeps your score and you can download or share the results.
2. Google PageSpeed Insights
As Google is the most used search engine ever, they are the best sources that you can rely on to analyze your website, and since they serve millions of websites daily they have a lot of information. This would make them the best to give suggestions for SEO on their platform and they provide you with that information with Google PageSpeed Insights.
Your page is ranked from 0 to 100, with a higher score meaning better performance. Any page of 89 and upwards indicates that your website is doing pretty good. It is possible to get 100/100, however, not with large websites; so do not worry about hitting the perfect score.
With Pagespeed insights, you also get a report of how your site is displayed on mobile devices. The scores may vary slightly, however, the diagnostics remain the same and the suggestions for correcting them are consistent as well.
3. GT Metrix
GT Metrics gives a combination of different results. Intuitively, this tool tests your website in multiple ways, so that it can share the best results along with some recommendations.
This tool uses Google’s Page Speed Insight Rules to rank and score your website. For this test, there are more than 25 recommendations given and they show priority rankings as well as content type.
Yslow is another tool employed by GT Metrics. As the name suggest, it analyzes your website and tells you why it is slow and then give you upto 15 recommended improvements. Some of these results will overlap with the page speed score, and so making updates will improve the score on both.
Waterfall is another tool used by GT Metrics to show your insights in a list format. The results are color-coded and there is a key to understand what all the colors mean. This key pops up whenever you hover your cursor over the graph area.
This is the most technical tool on the list because it provides so many options. WebPagetest allows you to simulate how your website shows on individual devices and operating systems. For mobile systems, this tool allows you to test on slow 3G, regular 3G, and 4G networks.
The Advanced tab allows you to choose location, device and different browsers for a comprehensive result when comparing multiple results.
The Simple Testing tab is where you would choose the type of connection that you’re testing.
Visual Comparison allows you to compare with other URLs and this is good for reference when you want to gauge your ability to keep up with the competition.
5. KeyCDN Speedtest
This free tool from KeyCDN gives you a comprehensive readout of your website’s speed statistics. You have up to 14 locations to choose from around the globe so that you can fully understand the geographic impact on your website.
KeyCDN’s speed test tool is a fast and reliable source to test your website. This tool offers multiple areas of testing such as; website test, performance test, HTTP header, HTTP/2, and Brotli test.
The results are displayed in a waterfall diagram which you can save or share and use for future use.
So which one should I use?
All the speed test tools listed above give beneficial readings on what your website’s progress is. So, the tool that’s the best is the one that you choose and continue to use. You should always take note of where your site is so you can see where it stands in your plans.
Analyzing your website speed takes time, and if done properly will give you a competitive edge. Almost as competitive as if you let Sitepact take care of all your website’s speed, SEO and security needs (free SSL available to help boost rankings).
Managing your WordPress website with all its criteria for good SEO can be daunting, check out our pricing plans to see what fits your budget.
I hope the tools we identified above can help make your life as a website owner easier. You can share how in the comments!