Why should you care about your page load speed time? For starters people are not going to stick around long if your site loads pathetically slow. I know I don’t stick around waiting for slow loading sites and pages.
But my site always loads fast for me you say. Are you sure about that? Most likely you visit your own site on a regular basis, probably at least once per day if not more. Your web browser is caching those visits locally on your computer so each additional visit it should subsequently load faster. Not all your visitors will be daily regular visitors so they won’t have any cached hits or requests in their browser like you do. Clear your browser cache and revisit your page and see just how much slower your site loads. After doing so, it would be similar to what a first time visitor experiences when visiting your website.
You may have a very fast internet connection, but don’t count on every visitor to have the same. There are plenty of suburban and rural areas not just here in the U.S., but also numerous locations around the world that do not have a 10Mbps+ internet connection available to them. You do welcome visitors with slower internet connections too right?
Your theme or template looks great, but does it slow your load speed? Many themes and templates look amazing, but they can be overloaded with images and graphics that are larger than they really need to be. They sometimes include borderline excessive js, css code, and files that really could be trimmed down. Some theme and template designers forget about page speed and SEO. They focus primarily on WOW’ing visitors with pretty graphics, but they forget that it takes more than a fancy design to WOW Google. Google doesn’t care if your site looks pretty or not. It can be tough to find a balance between a great looking theme or template, and one that is optimized for speed and SEO all in one.
There are a lot of posts that have been circulated ever since Google mentioned that in certain cases they will take site or page load speed into consideration when ranking. I am not totally on board with this one, at least not at the time of this post. I don’t know about Google in other countries, but I haven’t seen anything noticeably different in search results in Google.com. If they are ranking by load speed the number of affect sites, pages, or searches must be a very small number or percentage. I think you should be more concerned about page speed for your visitors rather than for Google. People stick around much longer when sites and pages load fast. Your visitors will be happy that your site loads fast, and if Google happens to notice that too then even better. I would be more concerned about how Google+ effects search results and what kind of role it will play in SEO.
Plugins, modules, and other modifications can certainly slow down your website too. You would be surprised how much just one of these little guys can slow things down. Avoid hosting and server resource intense plugins, modules, and modifications. Don’t go on an installation spree just because someone said you should install something. Weigh the benefits vs. the drawbacks. For the WordPress users out there you can use this to test your installed plugins to see how resource intense they happen to be:
5 tools to check page load speed
These online testing tools can be very helpful in determining how your site loads in different locations around the world. You really should test your site on occasion. You might test at different times of the day to see if there are any noticeable differences. Try different locations to see if it has any impact. Your site may load slower depending on where in the world your hosts server is located and where you are testing from.
Another thing you can do is run these page load speed tests before you make change’s to your website and then again after to see if the changes slow things down. Run a test before you change templates or themes, before installing a plugin, module, or making other modifications.
Test similar sites or sites you admire to see how yours compares.
Test from 3 different locations – New York, NY USA, Dallas, TX USA, or Amsterdam, Netherlands. Pingdom randomly selects a location for you, but optionally you can choose a specific test location in the settings menu if you wish. Pindom provides impressive results and details.
A great page load speed and performance analyzer. Test location seems to be only from Canada at this time, but nonetheless it is a great tester. It also helps determine and identify areas you might work on improving.
They provide multiple test locations around the world. Webpagetest is a great page load speed tester with plenty of details and suggestions. It provides impressive detailed results, score/rating, tips you might use to improve your website, and much more.
This one I don’t see mentioned as much as I used to. I personally like SitePerf. It is fast, easy to use and understand. At the time of this post they have 5 different test locations available to choose from.
This one has been around for a long time now. It seems to be suited more for standard html based sites, but can provide some input for php database driven sites as well.
A quick ping time tester that checks from multiple locations around the world.
A quick resolve, connect, download time checker. Tests from 8-10 different locations around the world. You can use it 5 times per day. You can also run Ping, DNS Analysis, and Traceroute.
You don’t need to run these tests on a frequent basis, but they are worth using to test and re-test your website or pages several times per year. If you are thinking about making changes to your website they are also great for before and after tests.