I often encounter website owners who fail to grasp the issue when I point out that their site is somewhat (or very) sluggish. They often argue that they themselves perceive it as fine and fast enough. But is that really good enough?
The short answer is: No, not necessarily.
In this article, let’s delve deeper into why it’s insufficient for you to solely rely on your own perception of your site’s speed. We’ll explore how to measure speed more objectively and why it’s crucial for optimization.
The Objective Speed of Your Website
Why You Might Experience Your Site’s Speed Differently Than Others
There can be numerous reasons why you perceive your website’s speed to be better than what others experience, including:
Internet Connection: Not everyone enjoys the luxury of a lightning-fast internet connection. Perhaps you’re fortunate enough to have one, but it’s unlikely that all your customers share the same privilege.
Mobile or Desktop: Speed varies greatly between desktop and mobile devices. So even if you perceive your website as swift when accessing it on your computer, it may not be the same for customers browsing on a mobile or iPad.
Why Is Objective Speed So Important?
Your website is likely to attract a diverse range of visitors. Some may be returning loyal customers who are already familiar with your site, while others are newcomers. Some have fast internet connections, while others don’t. And some may access your site from desktops, while others use mobile or tablets.
You want all of them to have a positive experience.
New visitors, in particular, can pose a challenge because they haven’t cached your site’s files yet. New visitors aren’t necessarily patient; they browse around, evaluating potential suppliers. If your website loads too slowly, they’ll quickly move on and may choose a competitor. This is especially true for those who find you through Google search results.
That’s precisely why Google’s speed measurements (which we’ll examine shortly) place so much emphasis on the initial experience of visiting your website—without the advantage of cached files.
However, it’s not just new users who are deterred by a sluggish website. Countless studies unequivocally demonstrate that faster speeds lead to more sales. People, in general, are incredibly impatient. Even the slightest wait can make some users abandon ship. Not everyone, of course. Some have more patience than the average person. But some don’t, and that’s a pity.
How Is the Objective Speed of Your Website Measured?
Measuring speed is a highly complex process with various aspects to consider. However, what matters most is the “perceived speed” of users. In principle, it’s not crucial how long it takes to load an entire page.
What truly matters is the time it takes for the first visible part of the page—the top section—to fully appear, allowing users to start using it. Whether it takes a few extra seconds for the rest of the content further down the page to load is of lesser significance.
One of the valuable tools for measuring speed is Google’s PageSpeed Insight. This tool stands out because it prioritizes the perceived speed and is the data Google uses to assess how your website should rank in search results.
Improved speed contributes to better rankings. It’s not the sole factor, but it’s undeniably vital.
Put Your Website to the Test: Unleash the Power of Google PageSpeed Insight
Are you ready to uncover the truth about your website’s performance? Brace yourself and prepare to face the harsh reality. With Google PageSpeed Insight, you can put your own pages under the microscope and dissect their speed like never before.
Dive deep into the heart of your site’s speed, but don’t stop there. Choose between the mighty mobile or the steadfast desktop when running the tests. But heed my advice: focus on the mobile experience. It’s a treacherous path to elevate mobile speed, and it’s precisely the data that Google holds dear when it comes to rankings.
As you await the results, anticipate the verdict. Brace yourself for two distinct outcomes that will reveal the naked truth:
- Witness the User’s Perspective: Behold the world through their eyes. See what your users truly experience as they traverse the digital landscape you’ve built. Are they immersed in a lightning-fast realm or held captive by the clutches of slowness?
- Diagnose the Inefficiencies: Peel back the layers of your website’s intricate machinery. Identify the bottlenecks, the weak links, the Achilles’ heels that plague your digital fortress. Only through diagnosis can you hope to mend the wounds and restore your website’s vigor.
But beware! It’s the lower realm, the domain of objectivity—a sanctum of true measurements—that bears the weight of scrutiny. This is the realm of “lab tests,” where the data shines with an unbiased glow.
The upper realm, however, the realm of “field data,” rests upon the caprices of your users—affected by caching, influenced by variables beyond your control.
Remember, it’s the lab data that Google wields as its sword, determining your website’s destiny in the ranks and dictating the speed that new users shall endure.
Test Every Facet of Your Digital Dominion!
Do not underestimate the multifaceted nature of your digital empire. Test not only the grand entrance, but every nook and cranny. Select representatives from each breed of page that dwells within your realm. Let the category pages, the product pages, the illustrious blog posts all face the crucible of scrutiny.
For it is the destiny of all your pages to embody swiftness, to dance in perfect harmony with the winds of speed.
Harness the Power of Google Search Console
There is one more tool, one more weapon to add to your arsenal. A vigilant eye must be cast upon your website’s speed, and for that, I implore you to turn to Google Search Console. If you have not yet ventured into its depths, fear not, for entry is free.
Within the depths of Google Search Console, under the sacred banner of “Experience: Page Experience,” lies the key to enlightenment. Once again, focus your gaze upon the mobile realm. Let the majority of your pages be deemed worthy in the eyes of the mighty Google, for it is there that your fate shall be sealed.
But venture further still. Plunge into the abyss of the Core Web Vitals report. Unveil the intricate details that lie hidden within. Observe, in the case below, the subtle imperfections that mar the glory of LCP—the grandeur of the largest text or image unveiling itself with faltering speed.
In your quest for digital dominion, remember this: Speed is the key that unlocks the gates to success. Arm yourself with knowledge, test every aspect of your realm, and may the winds of swiftness carry you to the pinnacle of digital achievement.