Your guide to measuring your website loading speed
30 May 2022
The loading speed of your website is a big deal. Why? Because it helps your search engine ranking and enhances user experience. These elements are critical for the success of your website. Why invest in your website if few people find it, and if they do they get frustrated because it loads too slowly?
Knowing how to measure the loading speed of your website can be very useful. Rather than leaving this to an agency to monitor its performance, you can keep your finger on the pulse too. And we’re going to tell you how.
Firstly though, let's get past some jargon you may come across:
Page Experience – a set of signals that measure how users perceive the experience of interacting with your web page
Core web vitals – nothing to do with your inside leg measurement, these are collated to provide a report that shows how your pages perform based on real usage data, or ‘field data’ (data of real users, rather than data harvested under test conditions)
SERP – search engine results pages are what you see when you use a search engine
SEO – search engine optimisation is about increasing how highly your website appears on SERPs.
Got it? Good. Back to your website’s loading speed.
Since Google introduced a page experience update and Core Web Vitals, the speed of your website is a significant factor in SEO. In fact, if your website was ranking neck and neck with another, your faster speed would pip that other site to the higher slot. Furthermore, Google bots LOVE a speedy page load and therefore favour the indexing of fast pages.
So, now you understand the importance, how can you go about measuring your website loading speed?
How to measure your website loading speed
Set out your page speed objectives
Decide on factors such as website page size limits, indicators to use and web performance goals. There are metrics available to help you such as:
The Time to First Byte (TTFB) – indicates server response time
The Speed Index (SI) – checks the loading speeds of the viewport (the user's visible area of a web page)
Before you decide on which metric to use you should be clear about what you want to measure, what your starting point is and what you want to achieve. Keep your user experience as your motivation at all times.
Using loading speed measuring tools
There are various tools to use. WebPageTest is a free tool from which you can visualise the loading stages of each component of the page over a period of time. Google provides some free tools such as page speed Insights and Lighthouse that will provide performance scores and help you evaluate your Core Web Vitals.
Remember test conditions
Due to the complexities of the ether (that’s as technical as we’re going on this one), not all users will experience your website in the same way.
The loading speed will be influenced by certain factors including the performance of the network, the device being used, and screen size and display. You therefore need to be mindful of your test conditions when testing your loading speed.
Use real user data
Real user data (or field data) reflects the true experience of your site’s users. Use real user data to prioritise the optimisation goals we mentioned earlier.
Synthetically produced data, harvested under set conditions, will help you follow your website’s performance over time and provide comparisons with your competitors, but real user data gives more powerful insights into the true page loading speed across a range of conditions.
Can we help?
Code Galaxy are web designers and software developers. We’d be delighted to discuss optimising your page loading speed or any other aspect of your website. Contact us on 01253 963062 or email us at email@example.com