What Is Page Speed?
Page Speed is the time it takes for a web page to load in the browser. While this sounds self explanatory, it’s a bit more complex.
Any time you land on a web page, quite a bit is going on in the background. Your device is sending a request to an online server and that server is then sending back the requested content (provided everything is working properly). That page can consist of very little information or it could be a robust virtual library with gigabytes of mixed media content and hundreds of programming files.
Which is why when we look at page speed we want to look at a few important checkpoints during the time it takes to load the page. These checkpoints will help point us in the right direction when we start to optimize for performance. Asking questions like, how quickly can we start seeing content on the page? Are there any interactive elements that require scripts in order to work? And, are any of those scripts preventing the page from loading in an acceptable time frame? These questions are all important in determining areas of improvement in your site’s performance.
Site Speed is More Important Than Ever
Users are now so accustomed to lightning fast platforms like Facebook that anything slower is an immediate deterrent. To add insult to injury, you don’t even need to leave Facebook’s app to view a webpage. But let’s face it, even their in-app browser, with all the recent updates, is a little on the slow side. No offense, Marky Z.
We’ve talked about how important content is, over and over and over again. But, your content is useless if your visitors bounce before ever seeing it. I mean, how many times have you clicked on a link just to say screw it because it was taking too long to load? Well congratulations, you’ve just fallen victim to the 8 second rule. Which according to Microsoft is the average human attention span. Which is about 2 seconds less than most fish. Trust me on that one, I do a lot of fishin’.
But, if you think consumers have a short attention span, wait until I tell ya about Google’s. If your page doesn’t load meaningful content on a mobile device in under 2 seconds, Google starts putting you on the B list and it only gets worse from there. Yeah, that’s how important Google thinks mobile users are.
If you’ve heard the phrase “mobile first” a few times in your travels on the interwebs, it’s probably because mobile users now outweigh the number of desktop users. As of May 2020, 50.34% of the world’s internet users are mobile with desktop now trailing behind at 46.67%* and that gap keeps getting bigger.Stats)
So, when you think of your site’s performance, think of it from the perspective of your customer’s phone. Not just because mobile’s more popular, but because if your site’s fast on mobile, it’s likely to be just as fast, if not faster, on desktop. Signal strength, processing power, and even battery life can impact your site’s ability to load on a mobile device.
How Can You Check Your Page Speed?
A great way to check your page speed is to use Google’s – PageSpeed Insights. Most sites score between 50 and 90, optimally you want your score to be 90 or above. Not to worry, though, over the next few weeks we’ll be talking about how you can supercharge your site.
Site speed is crucial to user experience but, that’s not the only reason Google wants your site to be fast. The quicker your site loads, the quicker Google can crawl it for fresh new content. This helps you hit the search results faster, and possibly rank higher! And we should all know by now, that’s the goal. Higher rankings, means more traffic, and more potential customers.