That’s a great-looking blog you have there! It will be a shame if your audience leaves before they can appreciate all your hard work.
If you pay little to no attention to site performance, then they probably will.
According to statistics, 40% of online users will abandon a site if it takes more than 3 seconds. This means nearly half of your prospective leads bounce without giving your content a chance.
Page loading speed also indirectly impacts search engine optimization. Since it is tied significantly to user experience, it can affect certain SEO metrics such as pages per visitor, average time-on-page, bounce rate, and the number of returning users.
Without further ado, below are seven of the best tools you can use to measure the loading speed of your site and determine the best course of action:
When it comes to usefulness and convenience, no other tool in the world can measure up to PageSpeed Insights. All you need to do is insert your website’s URL, and you can get comprehensive results in seconds.
But that’s not the reason why PageSpeed Insights is on top of this list. In addition to spotting issues that bottleneck your site’s performance, the tool also provides you with actionable recommendations to help you fix them. It even goes as far as to provide optimized code resources that can be downloaded and used for free.
As the name suggests, YSlow is a simple tool that lets you know why your website is slow. It integrates directly with web browsers like Firefox, Chrome, and Safari for quicker access. But unlike PageSpeed Insights that is provided by Google, YSlow takes into account the performance standards specified by Yahoo!.
As an open source project, you don’t have to spend a dime to use YSlow for as much as you like. Despite being free, it can reliably identify common performance issues about the website’s server, images, cookie management, content, and script assets.
Why choose between the data from PageSpeed Insights and YSlow when you can have both? GTmetrix is a comprehensive platform that monitors the optimization of your pages. Not only does it aggregate data from the previously mentioned platforms, but it’s also equipped with features that can assist with page monitoring.
For example, you can set up monitored alerts in case a CMS or plugin update triggers a performance issue. Doing so will let you respond quickly and ensure a smooth experience to users at all times.
Pingdom is a website performance monitoring service that also offers free tools to non-users. It’s speed test tool, for instance, is similar to PageSpeed Insights regarding user interface and the scope of results.
However, with Pingdom Website Speed Test, you can assess the speed of a website as if you’re accessing from a different location. This is useful if you’re trying to optimize for a geo-targeted audience. Aside from page speed, you can also perform a complete health check of your DNS servers to ensure the integrity of your backend.
KeyCDN is a lightweight, straightforward alternative to Pingdom Website Speed Test that can measure the speed of your site from different locations. Upon testing a site, the tool enumerates all the URL requests so you can identify page elements that hog bandwidth.
The platform is also equipped with several other tools that can assess the health, security, and performance of your site. Some of the existing network checks include the traceroute tool, DNS lookup, and HTTP/2 test. If you’re currently optimizing a single web asset, you can run the performance test to measure how fast it is loaded across 14 different locations.
Yet another tool that follows the one-click test trend, Varvy Pagespeed Optimization offers modular results for better data visibility and organization. A summary is provided above the fold to give you an overview on how your site fares in crucial aspects, namely server, page, and resource optimization.
A notable feature of Varvy Pagespeed Optimization is its heavy use of visuals to make analysis significantly easier. Most details are either color-coded or represented with icons, so it’s easier to spot performance issues that demand your attention.
Lastly, PageScoring is a standalone website speed tester designed for bloggers who need quick results. It follows the long-scrolling format that breaks down the processes and files necessary to load your site.
The simplicity of PageScoring makes it the best choice for bloggers who grasp the basics of web development. Otherwise, it can be difficult to plot an action plan due to the lack of actionable insights provided after the test. Unless, of course, if you use a content management system like WordPress with a smooth learning curve and plenty of free educational resources online.
What Can You Do?
Some of the tools above can point you to resources, be it guides or tools, that can help you fix issues that degrade the performance of your site. In some cases, you may be required to get your hands dirty with code to apply the fixes, but there are also tools out there that can make everything a breeze.
For WordPress bloggers, an excellent strategy is to match the testing tools above with a set of optimization plugins. This includes compression plugins like Smush and utility tools like BJ Lazy Load. Heavy-traffic sites should also consider upgrading to a more capable hosting plan or move to hosts like WPEngine. These “managed WordPress hosts” are specifically tailored to WP-powered sites for maximum performance, security, and stability.