Tools to Evaluate the Speed of Your Website

by Simon. Average Reading Time: about 2 minutes.

WebsiteOptimisation.com recently reported that Google has incorporated the speed of a web page into its search engine rankings.

Google’s addition of a page speed signal to its search rankings algorithm officially links performance with search engine marketing. The loading speed of a web page affects user psychology in a number of ways, and now it can effect its rankings as well.

From the Google Webmasters’ Blog:

Speeding up websites is important — not just to site owners, but to all Internet users. Faster sites create happy users and we’ve seen in our internal studies that when a site responds slowly, visitors spend less time there. But faster sites don’t just improve user experience; recent data shows that improving site speed also reduces operating costs. Like us, our users place a lot of value in speed – that’s why we’ve decided to take site speed into account in our search rankings. We use a variety of sources to determine the speed of a site relative to other sites

If you are a site owner, webmaster or a web author, there are some free tools that you can use to evaluate the speed of your site and therefore improve site performance:

  • Page Speed, an open source Firefox/Firebug add-on that evaluates the performance of web pages and gives suggestions for improvement.
  • Yahoo! YSlow a Firefox/Firebug Add-on that analyzes web pages and suggests ways to improve their performance, based on a set of rules for high performance web pages.
  • WebPageTest shows a waterfall view of your pages’ load performance plus an optimization checklist.
  • BrowserMob a tool for website performance monitoring and alerting.
  • Chrome Developer Tools that let you edit, debug, and monitor CSS, HTML, and JavaScript live in any web page. You can also use them to optimise web page performance by profiling CPU and memory usage.
  • Google’s Webmaster Tools, in the Labs menu, Site Performance shows the speed of your website as experienced by users around the world.

Other tools, including those for web debugging (Charles and Fiddler) and resource optimisation (Smush It and YUI Compressor), can be found on Google Code.

Google’s announcement of adding a page speed signal into its search rankings algorithm will in the long term will force the hand of website owners to increase the performance of their websites. This can only be a good think for user experience. With time and investment, the frustration of slow-loading websites will be banished to the past.

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