In the last year there has been an increasing focus on how fast
a web page displays to visitors.
Speed is now one of the many ranking factors Google uses. It's
not the primary factor, but it is in the mix. Speed isn’t just
important for Google ranking, it has also been shown that for
ecommerce sites like Amazon, a faster website turns more visits
into sales. Faster websites offer an excellent experience for
visitors who are able to get information faster and navigate
through your website more easily. Speed is something visitors judge
a site on. Optimising for speed may also reduce bandwidth
requirements and that can reduce hosting costs.
So how do we see how fast our site is?
One easy way if you have Google Webmaster Tools (opens
new window) is to see how fast Google thinks it is. You
can do this by going to Labs and then Site performance. This is
based on the speed data fed to Google by real visitors to your site
who have the Google Toolbar installed. This compares the
performance of your site against other websites. It is also thought
that Google measure your site performance when the Googlebot visits
your site to index your web pages.
The Webmaster Tools Labs site performance feature gives you a
broad view of your speed but it doesn’t really help you improve
your site. There are several free tools that can help; two of the
most popular are Page Speed and Yslow.
Page Speed (opens new
window) is a free, open-source add-on for Mozilla’s
Firefox web browser. It looks at the way a page is put together,
evaluates the speed and makes suggestions about how to improve the
Yslow (opens new
window) from Yahoo! is another free Firefox add-on. Its
shows statistics, an evaluation report and makes suggestions on how
to make your website faster.
Page Speed or Yslow should be able to make suggestions on how to
improve your pages. With them you can make a change and see what
impact it has.