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Your Website Speed: How to Measure It, and Why It Matters

A fast-loading website can contribute to positive results for your company, whether measured by user time spent on your site, number of pages viewed or sales and leads. Studies show that even as little as a few extra tenths of a second can start to degrade perceived usability of your site.

Page-load-speed is also one of the factors that the search engines use to rank your site, so it impacts search engine optimization (SEO).

Unfortunately, page speed is one of the most neglected factors in website planning and execution. During site audits for our clients, Altitude typically finds needlessly bloated images (taking much longer to load than an optimized image), slow-responding processes and other factors dragging down website performance. In fact, modern web pages commonly conduct as many as 40 “fetches” for resources as they load for the user. Optimizing page speed means inspecting each and every one of these, to make sure they are necessary, and that they are working as quickly as possible.

Fortunately, there are two relatively easy and free tools for checking up on your site speed and for getting suggestions for what to do about it.

Google’s PageSpeed Tools lets you simply plug in your site URL and quickly receive an overall score, from 0 to 100, and a report including high-, medium- and low-priority changes to improve site speed. Some of the suggestions are quite technical, so please contact us if you want some help with interpretation.

Google also offers page speed measurement and advice through its free Analytics tool. In Analytics, go to “Content” in the menu, then to “Site Speed.”

If your site scores poorly in PageSpeed, you’ll want to take prompt action, because you are losing business. If you score above 60, pat yourself on the back, but heed the suggestions for improving – you can do better.