Website speed - How fast should your website go?

Speed influences the performance of your website both directly and indirectly – it is crucially important because:

  • Google tells us that your website’s speed has a direct impact on its search engine performance, as a minor ranking signal.

“We encourage you to start looking at your site’s speed – not only to improve your ranking in search engines, but also to improve everyone’s experience on the Internet” – Google

  • Speed has an indirect impact on the search engine performance of your website too, because speed has an impact on the usability and indexing of your website.

Faster websites perform better in terms of usability, and better usability will boost your website’s performance – Google focuses a great deal on usability and user experience(UX), these days.

“We’re seeing an extremely high response-time for requests made to your site (at times, over 2 seconds to fetch a single URL). This has resulted in us severely limiting the number of URLs we’ll crawl from your site, and you’re seeing that in Fetch as Google as well. My recommendation would be to make sure that your server is fast & responsive across the board”: – John Mueller responding to this question for Google.

  • Improved speed = Improved usability = better website performance and more conversions (a conversion is an action you want your website visitors to take – perhaps you want them to purchase something from your site, sign up for a newsletter, download a document or send you an enquiry).

Every second counts – take a look at this study from Kissmetrics. Speed is crucially important to the success of your website, yet many web development companies and so-called digital experts miss this crucial point time and again.

So what should you do?

(1) Run a Google Pagespeed test on your website – remember you need to test each page individually.

Alternatively you can monitor your pagespeeds with Google Analytics, which can measure speeds across your entire site – go to your Analytics account, then to Behavior, and then to Site Speed.

We tell our clients that a minimum Google Pagespeed of 80/100 makes sense as a bare minimum, on both desktop and mobile.

If any of your key competitors’ websites are going faster than yours, you should try to at least match their speeds.

Your Google Pagespeed results will also provide a User Experience score – we recommend you improve that as far as possible, too.

(2) Check your website’s performance with other tools, to complement the Google Pagespeed test – ideally you will want a maximum page download speed of 2 seconds – 4 seconds at worst.

There are a number of tools you can use – four of our favourites are Pingdom, GTmetrix, WebPagetest and Yslow.

You should test speeds from servers based in the geographical locations most important to your website.

(3) Monitor your website’s speed performance on an ongoing basis, as there will be fluctuations over time – such monitoring will give you a fuller picture.

We monitor the sites we manage with Google Analytics – go to Behavior and then Site Speed, which provides loads of ongoing information about a website’s speed, and tracks performance over time.

Several other tools offer automated monitoring services, including Pingdom and GTmetrix.

So get testing! How did your website perform? What did you do to improve its speed? Let us know below.

We provide speed optimization and SEO support to companies large and small. Get in touch today to find out more.

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