Wednesday, 6 November 2019

Website Speed Test: How to Measure and Speed Up Page Load Time

Website Speed Test: How to Measure Website Load Time and Speed Up Your Website
Website load time is a crucial rate that may define the future success of the project. The rate is responsible for whether a visitor will stay on the site and keep exploring it or leave for faster loading competitors. The reviews show that over 40% of people who usually surf the net would probably leave in case the website load speed is more than 3 seconds. It is almost half of the potential target audience.
The question is not only about the visitors’ volume, traffic, various ROIs, etc. It is also about the overall website optimization and SEO. The less time your pages need to be loaded, the high search engine ranks they will get. The speed depends on different factors. Sometimes users opt for a pack of random tips that might not work. In this article, we will review some handy steps that will let you improve the load speed when using a website builder.

How to Measure Website Load Time

Before we start discussing the tip on how to speed up your site when used with hosted website building platforms, we should clarify what load speed is and how it works.

What Is Website Speed?

The rate depicts the time necessary for the particular page to load once a user has clicked on the link or types the URL in the search bar. The longer it takes user to browse through pages, the lower satisfaction and engagement your website has. Low-speed results in decreased conversion and traffic, lower SEO ranking, and huge visitors’ loss.
For this reason, most website owners try their best to reach the optimum load speed, which should be less than 2 seconds. As Google stats show, 47% of all users expect the load time will never exceed that timeframe. On the other hand, we all want to come up with a beautiful, dynamic, and at the same time functional site. What should we do to avoid crucial website degradation?

How Does the Website Speed Work?

The web page loading process mainly relies on three essential points:
  • A browser used by your visitors (Opera, Safari, Chrome, etc.);
  • The internet connection speed established by your local provider.
  • Server performance or hosting (a place, where your project actually lives).
Imagine yourself surfing the net in search of a particular product or service. First of all, you go to your preferred browser and type in the name of the product or marketplace. In this case, you actually send the request to the server, that sends the necessary info back with all files and codes arranged so that you could see the finishing touch of the web page.
The key question is how to make server deliver the requested info as fast as possible especially when using all-in-one building solutions.

Website Builder Load Time Optimization Tips

The situation with website builders might be a challenge. The key feature of all hosted platforms is the fact that that they handle most of the performance issues on their own, unlike self-coded or CMS-based sites. In other words, you do not have access to advanced optimization tools, as you get all features in the ready-packed box.
If the load time is the prior objective for the future project, you need to pick the platform with the best performance rates. Of course, none of the most popular website builders would ever say: “we have a low page load speed so why don’t you go somewhere else”. For this reason, it is all about research, comparing, and contrasting. Follow these steps to get a clear understanding of the platform’s load speed potential:
  1. Pick a platform and sign in for a free trial.
  2. Create a BLANK website with no files and content.
  3. Publish your website.
  4. Use any of the available time measurement tools to identify the speed.
When using a blank site, all hosted platforms are put under the same conditions making it easier to identify the best one in terms of performance. If you decide to check a website that already contains images, texts or widgets, it would be harder to identify the winners. Let’s say you have a full-width header with image slider and several pictures of high resolution. Of course, you should not expect high server response in this case.
Crucial tip #1: use the blank website with no content to check the page load speed on various hosted platforms. As a rule, the most trusted ones offer free trials. So, you can measure the rate at zero cost.

Online Services to Measure Website Load Time

We have picked some of the most popular services that let users measure the website load time with a couple of clicks. Some of them generate detailed reports showcasing the issues that require urgent optimization. However, you won’t need that at first, as we are measuring a blank website with no content. So, here are some top services to rate the load speed:

#1 – Google PageSpeed Insights

Google PageSpeed Insights
Google PageSpeed Insights – is a trusted tool to measure website speed. The key feature is that it not only provides actual performance results but also lets Google look into the code. The system uses a powerful analytics engine to ensure real-time stats and offers some hints at what should be done to improve the overall performance. Moreover, it is very easy to use.
Key Features:
  • A combination of Lighthouse and CrUX engines;
  • Intuitive interface;
  • Simple scoring system.

#2 – Pingdom Testing Tool

Pingdom Testing Tool
Pingdom – is another popular website speed-testing tool that makes it possible to test a website form various locations due to data centers situated in the United States, Canada, and Europe. The platform comes with a detailed summary of all issues that might require optimization to benefit from a higher load speed. It has handy chart with all content formats supported as well as colors related to a particular status.
Key features:
  • Enhanced reporting;
  • Testing form multiple locations;
  • 24/7 accessibility.

#3 – Load Impact

Load Impact
Load Impact – is more focused on professional developers and programmers. Dedicated pros get a chance to design the test of their own using any of the available programming languages. Beginners may also benefit from detailed reports built-in form of a diagram that depicts server response time, request rate, and other crucial stats.
Key Features:
  • Local and Cloud accessibility;
  • Performance alert algorithms;
  • Customer support and growing community.

#4 – Uptrends

Uptrends – is a trusted and easy-to-use speed measurement tool that makes it possible to benefit from detailed insights. Site owners have a chance to measure all vital metrics that include page size, loading time, request speed, possible breakdowns or waterfalls. The system generates handy reports with detailed stats as well as improvement recommendations.
Key features:
  • Servers located worldwide;
  • All key metrics to measure;
  • Desktop and mobile site version tests.
You may use any of the above-mentioned to compare the results with your free blank website hosted by various website building platforms. Choose the one with better rates and start building a fully operated project.
Crucial tip #2: even if your finished website scores 10 out of 10, there is always a place for optimization.

How to Speed Up Your Website

We have discussed some tips for those who only get started with their sites. But should a user do with already existing websites that are far from perfection in terms of load time? The main stumbling block is that hosted platforms usually take care of the performance on their own providing limited access to the source code or page settings to optimize them.
The only thing left for us is to make the most of settings and customization features we can. Some reputable systems offer their own custom load time booster packages (for example, Wix Turbo). But in most cases, you will need to handle the optimization by yourself. Let’s see, what we can do.

1. Integrate Optimization Features

First of all, have a look at what features a chosen website builder has. Some platforms usually come with built-in optimization tools that are often left unnoticed by users. For example, most systems offer Lazy Load feature activated on default. In some cases, it may be switched off. All you need is to go to the website settings and turn it on. The feature was designed to proceed with automated image optimization and website load time improvement for both desktop and mobile versions.
Some website builders offer a separate tool to optimize some of their blocks and elements for the mobile site version. For example, you have a photographer portfolio with tons of high-resolution photos and images. You may optimize them to boost the mobile version site speed separately from the desktop version.

2. Optimize Images

The second way is to optimize the images manually making them more lightweight. In most cases, high-resolution photos and pics turn out to be the main reason for low page load time. Users may opt for three different ways:
  • Choose image sizes recommended by the website builder (as a rule, you will see the recommended resolution for each block I the dashboard. Try to stick to it);
  • Optimize each image manually (there are tons of editors letting your crop and resize the photos. The compression level for Jpeg images should be at least 85% without the detriment to the image quality);
  • Use plugins and widgets (most platforms offer extra plugins to optimize website images. However, every new plugin or add-on may also be to the detriment of the website load time).

3. Make Page Structure Clear

The good thing about website builders is the fact they come with ready-made templates. They have a set of integrated plugins, blocks or elements depending on the niche. They are designed to ensure maximum performance.
Of course, we are all eager to build a stylish and dynamic site as well as add some exclusive apps and plugins. The key mistake here is the more the worse. Each widget is a piece of code that loads the page and makes it harder for the server to send requests back as soon as possible.
Moreover, some apps are pretty complicated and require more server resources to be delivered in a proper way to the end-user. The key idea here is to keep it as simple as possible without the detriment to the project’s usability.

4. Avoid too Many Visual Effects

Web design trends are evolving. They deliver new technologies and visual concepts to make the project as engaging and interactive as possible. Website builders follow those trends. Some of them come with a set of animation features. For example, you may add a parallax effect to the header or on-page blocks with images, create animated icons that appear from both sides, implement visually appealing buttons as well as call-to-action blocs.
Adding too much of the animated features is not good. Users will hardly appreciate a website that looks like a billboard from the nearest gas station courtyard working round the clock. Try to keep it simple but trendy. Simplicity is the key to users’ satisfaction. Make it simple for them to find the page, section or product they need. Prevent them from the necessity to make their ways through endless colorful and annoying banners saying “get our free PDF”.
Crucial tip #3: the best bet is to stick to the structure offered by a website builder. If you need a portfolio, use a portfolio template instead of editing an eCommerce mockup. Do not overload your site with animation and widgets. Keep it crystal clear and simple.

The Bottom Line

Keeping up good website load time is vital. First of all, it will ensure better usability in terms of users’ experience. Secondly, it will ensure higher traffic resulting in better conversion rates. The last but not least is improved SEO ranking. Search engines love sites with great page load speed. But what is more important, improved speed rates will result in better users’ engagement.
While website builders and to take care of security and performance on their own, users do not have much of optimization capabilities. However, we may still sort out the best software from the start by checking the blank site. At the same time, users may still optimize the content as well as the page structure to make the project lightweight.

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