Slow, slow, quick-quick, slow

Back in December I took a look at the importance of having a fast-loading website and although Google has set the record straight about some of the more outlandish fears people have had, speed is certainly a factor now in Google’s considerations.

But like so many of the aspects of your website which Google looks at in assessing your importance, this is just a reflection of what’s important to your visitors. We so often forget that. If your web pages don’t appear instantly, visitors won’t necessarily hang around waiting for you. Especially if you’re trying to sell them something.

An excellent new tool for assessing the speed-related factors of your website is GTmetrix. This combines the Yahoo! YSlow and Google Page Speed tools and puts them in a very nice interface. Give it a go. I’m not sure there’s a “good” or “bad” score, although the sites I run, which I’m fairly happy with, seem to score around 70%-80%. More important, however, are the recommendations. Make a list of the ones where you don’t score an “A” (in both YSlow and Page Speed tabs), and see what your website designer and web hosting service has to say.

Discussion

  1. Peter Mann

    GTmetrix proves the obvious – the less and simpler the content, the quicker a page will load, even if it looks complicated. Thus, the home page for http://www.cabletronics.ltd.uk (which I’m responsible for) scores a double ‘A’ 95% / 91% rating (nice!) – it’s essentially one graphic overlaid with 15 hot spots + separate contact details. I tested GTmetrix’s own site and, not surprisingly, it too scores a double ‘A’ (92%/ 97%).

    I have two sites – http://www.buzzassociates.com, again one graphic and text but it doesn’t fare quite so well (‘A’ / 96%, ‘B’ / 89%), and http://www.buzzassociates.co.uk, essentially an all text page: it only rates a double ‘B’ (88% / 84%).

    The worst score on the other sites I’ve created is 75%.

    Once I’ve understood what ‘Add Expires headers’ and ‘Configure entity tags’ mean, I ought to be well on my way to achieving 100% scores!

    Pity, though, folks with Flash on their home pages.

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