As websites have gotten more popular and as a result more important to businesses, not having an online presence is no longer an option for business owners as the web now offers indispensable tools that make product marketing, customer service and sales easier and more effective. Countless reports published over the years have agreed on a central point: users are extremely sensitive to web performance. Even the smallest change in the website page weight or load time alters traffic noticeably. Today, businesses must make sure that their websites work really fast on all devices. So now that you have a website (go get one if you don’t already) how do you measure web performance to ensure that you clients and users are getting the best experience and that you are not actually harming your business with poor web performance?
Here are tools to measure the web performance of your site.
- Google Search Console: (previously Google Webmaster Tools) is a free web performance service by Google for webmasters. It allows you to check indexing status and optimize visibility of your website. It has tools that let webmasters:
- Check and set the crawl rate, and view statistics about when Googlebot accesses a particular site.
- List internal and external pages that link to the site.
- See what keyword searches on Google led to the site being listed in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) and the click through rates of such listings.
- Set a preferred domain (e.g. prefer example.com over www.example.com or vice versa), which determines how the site URL is displayed in SERPs.
- Rich Cards a new section added, for better mobile user experience.
Basically, this tool lets the webmaster of a site manage the visibility of the site’s content on Google search results.
- Alexa toolbar: Alexa, a subsidiary of Amazon allows tracking global web traffic of your own and competitor websites. Alexa is one of those must-have tools that you can use to transform data into competitive value for your business. Download the Alexa toolbar, it will show you any website’s Alexa ranking. It lets you see your backlinks, traffic, keywords, etc. It is interesting to compare similar websites in your niche: get web performance data on international competitors and website rankings for an overall picture.
- Google analytics: Google Analytics is one of the best free web performance tools that any website owner can use to track and analyze data about Web traffic. You get to see what keywords are bringing the most visitors to your pages and what aspects of your designs are turning them off. This tool will generate a report for your website that includes information about visitors, traffic sources, goals, content and e-commerce. The downside of Google Analytics is that it can take time to update. There are other web performance tools that offer real-time updates of your data now.
- Google Pagespeed Insights: Google PageSpeed Insights grades web performance of both the desktop and mobile sites. The tool fetches the URL twice, once from a desktop agent and once from a mobile agent, and produces a ‘site rank’ based on a scale of 1 -100. The higher the number, the better optimized your site is for speed (at least in Google’s eyes). A returned scored of 85 or higher indicates the site’s speed is performing well. There is also a Chrome extension available, which allows assessment of web performance of any page from the Developers Page Speed tab. PageSpeed Insights provides a balanced overview of site speed and actions to take in order to improve page performance and the site as a whole.
- Page Scoring: PageScoring’s Website Speed Test loads the entered domain and provides a comprehensive display of how long its contents took to load. PageScoring reports on several transmittal processes that occur during a website request, including domain lookup, redirection time, download time and much more. This is an effective tool for measuring web performance in real time and provides webmasters with valuable web performance information of sites that isolates individual pieces of data.
There is a wide selection of web performance test tools available and many variables that can determine which tool is best for testing your site. However if you are looking for something that is easy to use and produces a comprehensive report, I recommend starting with one of the five web performance tools on this list.