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Faster response times result in better SEO and user experiences, which drives loyalty, market share and revenue. Checking your website performance is easier than you think; you can do it yourself for free.

How to easily test your website performance

Google will help you improve your website

Everybody wants their website to look great and they spend most of their time and money on the design, logo and text. This is WRONG!

We speak to many customers that have a good looking website but are not getting many visitors. They wonder what the problem is.

A website speed rating and health check

Most people are unaware that there are many simple ways to test how well your website is performing. One of the best ways to test your website is to get Google to do it for you. Google provides a completely free online website testing tool. Website designers will rarely tell you about this ;-)

To use the Google tool to test your website, simply enter your website address (URL) in the box below and click on the 'Show Google Rating' button. The test will take between 5 and 15 seconds and you will see a score between 0 and 100. Do that now and come back here. In the remainder of this article we will explain what the score means for you.

Enter your website domain or URL, click 'Show Google Rating' and you will be taken to Google's PageSpeed evaluation

What does the Google PageSpeed score mean?

Besides the score, Google provides more information on what problems might exist on your website. The recommendations are technical and you may well not understand them. But don't worry, the score is all you need to get started.

You will have a score for the mobile and desktop performance of your website. You may also see a 'User Experience' score, ignore this for now, we explain this in note 1. at the end of this article.

In general terms, this is what your scores mean:

  • Above 95 - This is an excellent score, your website is probably amongst the top performing websites in the world. Nice!
  • Between 85 and 95 - This is still a great score. There might be some things you can do to further improve your website, but you are already doing the right things, there is nothing that Google says you "Should Fix".
  • Between 65 and 85 - You have some problems on your website that should be analysed in more depth. Fixing these problems will give a significant boost to your website performance and get you more visitors. However, if these problems are a compromise on essential features against performance, there might be valid reasons to leave the website as it is in order to support the features.
  • Between 25 and 65 - There is no nice way to put this, your website is bad. If this website is just a hobby site, then maybe you should not worry. If this website represents your business, then you need to get it fixed.
  • Below 25 - Websites rarely score so low, but we did once see one that actually scored 0 (zero). We'd be surprised if your website was this bad, but if it is you need urgent help.

What do Google say about website performance?

In their advice "What should I think about when working with a developer?" Google list 6 important considerations when choosing a website developer. Point number 3 says this:

"Ask if your developer is aware of PageSpeed Insights and if they're familiar with techniques to help pages load faster. Your contract can include pages "rendering" as fast as your competitors according to WebPagetest. Or, if that's too difficult, perhaps get their commitment to a PageSpeed Insights result with a green checkmark which doesn't have any issues marked "Should Fix""

Yes, Google recommends that you ask your website developer to make a contractual commitment to a high score!

An anecdote from Bing

Bing-logo
In 2015 Bing had over 20% search market share in the USA, or 32% when Yahoo is included (source comscore.com).

We cannot validate this story, but we were told that in 2013 that Microsoft made a big improvement to their Bing search engine. Apparently Bing realised that by presenting the better performing websites higher up in the mobile search results it gave the user a superior experience since when they clicked on the links they had only websites which displayed quickly.

This led to the impression that Bing was faster than Google for search and Bing gaining significant market share in the USA. Google had already announced back in 2010 that page speed performance would effect search rankings, but were forced counter the Bing strategy and this resulted in an even bigger push for high-performance websites.

What your website performance means to your business

The search engines have clearly stated that the performance of your website will improve it's ranking (see side bar). If your competitor has a website that is faster than yours, then all other things being equal, they will rank higher than you and get more visitors. Your website content is certainly more important than just performance, but you are wasting your time making your website beautiful if you ignore the performance

It's clear that website performance improves your search engine optimization (SEO), but there are other ways that it can increase traffic to your website.

Some studies suggest that most mobile visitors will not wait more than 7 seconds for your website to load. At Quantum Websites, we are more patient than that, but we certainly see that slow loading mobile websites have a huge effect on your visitors. If you are getting a low score in the Google test above, then you probably have a slow loading website and are losing visitors. As mobile usage increases this problem will only grow.

Get a full analysis of your website

Want to know more? You can leave a comment at the bottom of this page if you have a question, or click on the link below to receive your free website analysis.

Client Case Study

Client A had an expensive but great looking website of which he was rather proud. “My business contacts gave me great feedback!”. After a few months, the problems became apparent … “After all that cash spent, no new inquiries were being generated, and website visits were nearly zero.”

We investigated and showed him the poor performance but he was skeptical of the analysis results. From his PC browser, the performance appeared to be good (because the browser had cached his website). Only after viewing the site on another PC with no cached content did he realise that the PageSpeed part of our analysis was indeed correct. It was taking 50 seconds for mobile users to load his home page.

Quantum Websites re-built the website and the home page now scores 97/100. A sample search query shows that his website has moved from page 8 to page 4 already, and we expect further improvement. The visitor count is also starting to increase.

Notes

1. You may have noticed the 'User Experience' score when you did the Google test above, this refers to how easy your webpage is to navigate on a mobile device. If your website is not a responsive design you may get a poor score. We will cover responsive design in a future blog article but you can also read about responsive design in our terminology section here.

2. Google's page speed is not the only free website testing tool that we recommend, you can also get free detailed performance information from webpagetest.org