If your site is slow to load you’re losing mobile market share and better placement in search engine results.
You know the frustration
You’ve been there, trying to load your website during a presentation or sharing a link with a lead while at their location, and the page… just… won’t… finish… loading. Maybe you tell the audience to try loading the site at work. Maybe it’s your mobile phone provider’s problem, they’re always slow in this part of town. Maybe your computer is getting old and you need a new one.
Or maybe your site’s hosting isn’t configured properly
- Your front page assets total several megabytes in uncompressed images with an unnecessarily large color palette
- There are no cache control directives on your site, so browsers request assets that they don’t need to update
- Your web server responds, “slowly”
How on earth would you ever know any of the above? By consulting the following tools right now:
Eek! I got a 50/100!
This isn’t surprising, but it probably isn’t hard to fix either. The most common error that we see is that the dimensions of images are considerably larger than they need to be. On one company’s staff page, the images were sixteen times the size that they would ever be rendered for a desktop browser. Complaints about compression, minification, and cache control headers usually require a quick tweak to your web server’s configuration files.
I got a 75/100 and I have never been a “C” student!
Relax a bit. These tests are very tough to get a perfect score on and were engineered as a measuring stick for sites with hundreds of thousands of daily visitors. Just because you got an “average” grade doesn’t mean that you’re doing poorly. But what you probably should do is check the PageSpeed Insight scores of your competitors. Search engines take into account how quickly a site loads as well as the relevance of the content. So with all other things being equal, you want to make sure you’re at least a little faster than your competition.
Think about mobile clients
In your home and office, you probably have a broadband connection. The Google Pagespeed Insights and Pingdom tests are located in data centers with even better connectivity than your home or office. Now consider that mobile bandwidth varies based on multiple factors such as wireless network coverage, network congestion, and physical obstacles to radio signals. If your business is reliant on customers accessing your sites with mobile devices, you’re going to need to be extra vigilant about performance.
Set a standard
We aim for initial page load times of under 1.5 seconds in all of the Rails applications that we build. That can be an ambitious target on media rich websites, but there are strategies for achieving fast load times beyond basic server configuration tweaks.