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Top Tools To Improve Site Speed Performance And Your Online Business

by DiTesco

page speed test

Site Speed A Ranking Factor

It appears that one of the trending topic lately has been about page speed or website load time, as an important ranking factor for search engines. Make no mistake about it, if your website takes forever to load, you will loose traffic and consequently hurt your online business and your readership. Whether or not it will truly hurt your rankings, remains to be seen, but in my opinion, it will over time. Top marketers will tell you that you only have seconds to convince a user to stay on your website and convert. How will this happen if a user does not even see what you have to say or offer? Well, one of the answers to this question is to show it to them fast, very fast.

Fast = Better Rankings = Improved Traffic = Better Conversions = More Sales

How Should You Optimize Your Site Speed?

To optimize your site speed, you obviously first need to test how much time is your website actually taking to load completely. There are several tools out there that will help you test your site speed, but few will provide with information that you can use to take action upon. In addition, low quality sites that offer this type of service may just be a launching pad to suck your email or make a sale. As I have mentioned on my previous post, it is all about quality sites. Google (and others) is taking quality seriously and has provided recently a list of questions, on how to build high quality websites. A fast loading site, I believe, is an indicator of quality and provides users with better experience.

That said, and after testing several site speed tools, I was able to narrow this down into three sites that are worth using and of which I highly recommend.

3 Top Page Speed Online Tools

Google Page Speed Online: You do want to rank well on Google, right? Google’s website speed test is a new online tool that analyzes your sites performance and recommends a series of actions you need to take to improve performance, based on a given score of your current settings. Since I have already wrote about Google’s page speed tool, please refer to that post instead. Thanks!

google page speed

WebPageTest: One of favorites. This tool analyzes page speed by doing a first view and a repeat view. This gives you an idea on how it performs by leveraging on the browser cache. Reports provided are just amazing. It gives you a “waterfall” analysis of each request, content breakdown, etc. The detailed section of the report provides you with more information about each request. Too many good stuff to tell you here. Just give it a test run and see how it goes.

web page performance test

web page site speed test

Pingdom: Another great site speed tool. Pingdom results are slightly different from that of Google’s and WebPageTest. While it helps you identify problem areas, it is not as thorough as its peers. What I do like about them though is that if you register with them (free), they will send you email notifications whenever your website is down and comes back up again. Another unique feature they have is testing for your DNS health. DNS checks for the health of your server, where in some cases is the cause of possible problems.

pingdom load time test

pingdom dns health check

Actions To Improve Your Site Speed and Performance

You might be asking if any of these tools will actually help you improve your sites performance. Let me put it this way, if you take action, yes they will. These tools help you identify problem areas where some attention is required to improve your sites performance. I for one had serious problems with page loading time, and while it may not be ideal, I was able to improve my sites speed dramatically. Aside from removing unnecessary plugins, compressing images, using a caching plugin, changing my .htaccess configuration, what really helped was when I decided to to use CloudFlare, a free CDN service. If you are interested, find out what my problems where and how I improved site speed with CloudFlare.

There you go. The three best and free site speed tools which are now available for you to use and ones that should be part of your best SEO tools arsenal. There might be others, but I am really unaware of them. If you use a different one, please let us know. Everything that helps improve site speed is welcome in my book.

[note]Here’s an updated post on how to improve your WordPress Site Performance And Speed[/note]

Article by

+DiTesco is a Business and Inbound Marketing Consultant, and founder of iBlogzone.com. iBlogzone's main objective is to help startups and small business owners achieve success in their online ventures. | More About Me and my Consulting Services.

Francisco has written 893 articles at iBlogzone.com

1

Jane | Find All Answers

May 16, 2011 at 1:43 pm

Ditesco,

I need it absolutely. According to Alexa I have a very slow loading site, even though my visitors have not yet complained. But I might be penalized my search engines.

Thanks for the worthy stuff.

Cheers,
Jane.

2 DiTesco May 17, 2011 at 3:02 pm

Hi Jane. If I where you, I won’t worry much about what Alexa tells you as far as site speed is concern. Rely more on these three tools here and you are better off. thanks for stopping by

3

TrafficColeman

May 16, 2011 at 1:57 pm

Take your site speed seriously people, try to speed at least 30 minutes doing the things you have to do to get your site to load faster… its important

“Black Seo Guy “Signing Off”

4 DiTesco May 17, 2011 at 3:04 pm

Site speed is indeed very important for just about everything today. Slow sites will just not make it, that’s my opinion at least πŸ™‚

5

Latief @ Simple Blogging Tips

May 16, 2011 at 4:15 pm

Yes, I heard that site speed is important for Google πŸ˜‰ Any help to improve my blog speed? Plugin or anything else DiTesco?

6 DiTesco May 17, 2011 at 3:26 pm

Hi Latief. Long time no see πŸ™‚ glad to see you back in the sphere and to answer your question, yeah, there are several plugins and services that you can use to help you improve your site speed. As far as plugins are concerned, your best bet will be to install a good caching software. W3 Total Cache and WP Super cache are the most popular ones. Also, removing unnecessary and inactive plugins also increases your site speed. I also recommend WP optimize which is a great plugin that removes clutter (post revisions, auto drafts) and optimizes your database.

As far as service goes, I am (for now) in love with CloudFlare, so you can try that one. thanks for stopping by

7

Latief @ Simple Blogging Tips

May 17, 2011 at 3:34 pm

Yes, I’m back and plan to rock the blogoshpere bro, lol!
I have a problem with the last up date of WP Total Cache, few days a go I up date the plugin but my theme broken after that. I’m not use the plugin for a while until I’m sure WP Total Cache won’t break my theme again. Any suggestion bro?

8 DiTesco May 18, 2011 at 8:01 pm

Latief, if you installed the latest version of W3, there is an issues with the “minify” part of it. According to other users on WP forums, the best thing right now is to disable that function. I was having issues with it too so I changed it WP Super Cache and is now OK. Test both and see which one works best.

9

Latief @ Simple Blogging Tips

May 19, 2011 at 1:41 am

OK, I’ll try and let’s see what happen πŸ˜‰ Thanks DiTesco.

10 DiTesco May 19, 2011 at 11:47 am

Let me know how it goes.

11

Dennis Edell@ Direct Sales Marketing

May 16, 2011 at 4:59 pm

Mine isn’t the greatest and I don’t understand why, currently all I really have is text…

12 DiTesco May 17, 2011 at 3:40 pm

Hi Dennis. Odd because I just tested your site on WebPageTest and the loading time is great, less than 4 seconds for first view and 2 secs for repeat view.

You are right that your site has only text, but what I noticed is that your problem appears to be the initial rendering of your site. From initial connection to first byte it takes almost 1.5 secs to load completely. I also had this problem and what I did was to change my .htaccess file and included gzip for example, among others. Maybe you should take a look at yours.

13

Dennis Edell@ Direct Sales Marketing

May 18, 2011 at 5:11 pm

OK then, last time I tested it, it was over 1 minute; I don’t remember which tool, but it spat out weird things.

Oh, if you want me to mess with the htaccess, you need to give me exact instructions. lol

14 DiTesco May 18, 2011 at 7:58 pm

Sure Dennis, no problem. Send me a copy of your htaccess file and I’ll look into it πŸ™‚

15

Dennis Edell@ Direct Sales Marketing

May 21, 2011 at 3:21 pm

Sure, no problem, how exactly do I do that?

16 DiTesco May 21, 2011 at 7:25 pm

Do you know how to use your FTP? Make a copy and send it to me via email

17

Dennis Edell@ Direct Sales Marketing

May 22, 2011 at 4:48 pm

Wow FTP, it’s been a while. I dunno if I even have one on my system anymore. lol

I’ll see what I can do.

18

brian speer

May 16, 2011 at 5:12 pm

It is important to stay ontop of your load times on your site. Google will get upset with the speed of your site and it may hurt your rank.

19 DiTesco May 17, 2011 at 3:32 pm

Hi Brian. Actually more important than Google is your users experience when they visit your site. user behavior is an important signal for Google, so if your visitors attempt to visit your site and they leave becuase it is taking too much time to load, that hurts your “bounce rate” and consequently, less credibility of the eyes of Google as far as quality is concern. It a nutshell, YES it is very important now than ever before.

20

brian speer

June 6, 2011 at 2:33 pm

You are right about that. I have been reading into this more since you wrote the article. although I have been slacking, I am working on a revamp. Thanks for the input, look forward to reading more.

21 Justin Germino May 16, 2011 at 9:19 pm

Excellent list of tools and tips and I didn’t even know about the Google pagespeed site yet.

22 DiTesco May 17, 2011 at 3:43 pm

Hi Justin. Thanks, I can’t believe that you are actually hearing about Google’s page speed site first from me πŸ™‚ I’m glad you found out about it here. As for WebPageTest and PingDom, have you tried them before? Which one do you like best?

23 Justin Germino May 18, 2011 at 12:56 pm

I like PingDom, but also for recommendations I like whichloadsfaster.com which gives some pretty good recommendations. I tried using sprites instead of separate images but it messed up my blog theme though.

24 DiTesco May 18, 2011 at 3:28 pm

Whichloadsfaster is new to me. Will check it out. Also, I have seen somewhere before about optimizing images by using sprites. Never did do anything about it as I do not even know what it is, lol. If it messed your theme, I am definitely staying away from it πŸ™‚ Thanks. Off to check WLF

25

Sathish | Make Money Online

May 17, 2011 at 8:36 am

Hi DiTesco, Thanks for sharing this great list of tools. Also, when it comes to CDN, we can also go for Speedymirror and get 50GB bandwidth for free. I am using their service for a month time now and many readers have given me good reviews about my site speed performance.

26 DiTesco May 17, 2011 at 3:46 pm

Hi Sathish. You are welcome and thanks you too for introducing me to SpeedyMirror, never heard of it. What is t exactly? Similar to CloudFlare, MaxCDN or Amazon’s CloudFront? 50 gigs of free bandwidth sounds very appealing to me. Will have to check them out. thanks for stopping by

27 DiTesco May 17, 2011 at 3:51 pm

Hi Sathish. just went over to SpeedyMirror and I am not sure I like it. I read this: “At first, you have to enter your current domain name to our system. Then you’ll get a new domain (URL prefix); use it in your download links. For more info read the practical example at the bottom of these frequently asked questions. ”

What does this mean? Will my site will be part of a sub-domain run by them? What happens with all of my rankings? CloudFlare does nothing like this. Your domain is untouched and therefore all rankings, links, etc are not hampered.

28

Daniel Sharkov

May 17, 2011 at 11:08 am

Hey Francisco,

Just took the second tool on your list “WebPageTest” for a test drive. Although the testing takes some time, the data you get is really detailed. The graphical presentation makes it easy to find which element takes long time to load and then the check list can help you find the solution. Great! Bookmarking it right now.

29 DiTesco May 17, 2011 at 4:02 pm

Hi Daniel. glad you liked it. It is actually my new favorite because of the detailed info it provides. The reason why it takes a while to finish the test is because it goes into cue and only starts testing once others in front of you finish. Try using it on “less” peak hours πŸ™‚

Thanks for stopping by.

30

Online Opportunities

May 17, 2011 at 12:36 pm

Thanks for sharing I only knew Google’s page speed tool. It is really important for a website to load fast not only because it may affect your ranking but most importantly because if a site takes a lot of time to load then visitors will most likely go away before they actually read the content of the site

31 Steve@Internet Lifestyle May 17, 2011 at 1:32 pm

Ditesco,

I know the importance of speed, but I still do horribly in this area. I really need to take a day and fix these issues. Thanks for this article helping to give me the impetus to get off my butt and get it done!

32 DiTesco May 17, 2011 at 4:26 pm

Hi Steve. Just visited you site and it did not really take that much time to load. Had time to RT your post πŸ™‚ I promise I will read it later and comment, it is very long, lol.

Anyway, I ran a quick test of your site on PingDom and it tool 8 secs to fully load, not bad actually. If you do the same, you will notice that the main problem (if you want to call it a problem) are the substantial amounts of images that are loading. I don’t know if you are using a cache plugin, or if you have them compressed. If not, those two measures alone will definitely help. Thanks for leaving your thoughts

33

mandy@learntoblog

May 17, 2011 at 3:28 pm

That’s really helpful information, I will be following the links when I finish this comment as I do know sometimes my sites are a little slow loading. I did get it fixed once and it improved the speed greatly, but I need to look again.

Enjoy the journey.

Mandy

34 DiTesco May 18, 2011 at 12:16 pm

Hi Mandy. Managing our websites is an ongoing process. As our websites grows so are the requirements. The more content we pour in, the more server resources we use. So, yeah, it is always good to review stuff once in a while just to see if everything is as we expect it to be. All the best

35

Patricia@lavender-oil

May 18, 2011 at 5:05 am

Hi DiTesco

I remember when I started blogging I was told about the importance of speed loading times. Good to have this reminder and thanks for sharing about these tools.

Will check out how my site is doing although I’ve not had any complaints so far. Always good to do better eh πŸ™‚

Patricia Perth Australi

36 DiTesco May 18, 2011 at 12:36 pm

Hi Patricia. Just did a test of your site and indeed it is difficult to have anyone complain from a site that loads under 5 seconds, lol. That’s great! Anyway, in case you ever need it, there are always tools like the ones above. Thanks for stopping by.

37

Alex Aguilar

May 18, 2011 at 9:33 pm

Another thing I like to do is see how my site works on a variety of browsers. I give it a run through with Chrome, Firefox, IE8, IE7, IE9, Safari, Opera and a bunch of mobile browsers. The browser market is fairly fragmented these days and it is silly to assume all your visitors will be using the same one. You’ll be surprised at the subtle differences that crop up.

38 DiTesco May 19, 2011 at 11:46 am

Hi Alex. Testing how your website renders on different browsers and on also whether it is mobile friendly is a good practice. If it renders well at least on the most popular ones, I think it is pretty much well covered. Thanks for bringing this up.

39

Extreme John

May 19, 2011 at 11:45 am

Monitoring site speed is extremely important in analyzing your site’s SEO effectiveness and traffic generation. I currently use Google’s site speed tool in Google Analytics and I see it’s very helpful in tracking my site speed which is basically connected with tracking the site’s bounce rate.

40 DiTesco May 19, 2011 at 12:07 pm

Hi John. In short, you said it all and it is really important that one understands that site speed is no longer in debate as to its ability to generate traffic and improve user experience. That recent integration of site speed on GA is another indication that Google is really pushing for a faster web and it does really make sense. With so many websites/blogs that exist on the web, one can not afford the luxury of having to wait for long load times anymore. Thanks for stopping by.

41 Drew May 19, 2011 at 2:44 pm

I guess site speed should be a big deal for all site owners whether or not it affects google directly. Just think about your visitors. We all want to welcome a lot of visitors on our site so how can we do it if our site is slow? I agree with you DiTesco, site speed is no longer in debate. There is no reason why we should let it load slowly when we can improve it.

42 Bharath Ram May 20, 2011 at 5:33 am

Thanks for the online page speed link. Firefox 4.01 is not letting me install pagespeed. So, I had to rely on the link given by you.

Anyway, I could work on only some of the tips given by page speed as I am hosted on blogger. I rely hope to move to self-hosted domain, but the huge work involved scares me. I am happy with the speed of my site. Total size comes to 380 KBs. Don’t you think thats good?

43 DiTesco May 20, 2011 at 11:40 am

If you are on blogger, your site speed should be OK as blogger is “cloud powered” and has really fast servers.

44 Tessa May 23, 2011 at 9:37 am

Usually i use webpageanalyzer.com to analyze my page speed. It provides useful information which are necessary about my sites speed. It helps to focus on some area in my site which needs attention to speed up the site. I would like to use Google page speed Online and WebPageTest after reading this post.

45 helicopter silverstone May 25, 2011 at 3:11 pm

This didnt even occur to me, though it makes perfect sense. I will run a couple of the tools mentioned and send the results to my web guys. One question – has anyone put rank checker, speed check, content check etc all into one programme as yet? I am thinking an end to end website check in one programme?

46

Samantha Park

June 3, 2011 at 7:14 am

Wow, Great post! Thank you for sharing with us your three tools to improve the site’s speed and performance. I don’t even tried to use one of them and now I will try it after reading your post. You know what I am currently searching tools on how to improve my site’s speed and glad to read your post, I have now ideas on how to test and improve my site’s performance. I certainly agree with you that we must aware on our site’s speed and performance because after creating a good and quality content on your site, this is the next thing that you will give focus just to make it visible and to create also traffic on your site. Anyway thank you again for your shared ideas! Keep up your good work!

47 Olawale Daniel@Technology Blog August 13, 2011 at 6:27 pm

I have an account with Pingdom but I can’t figure out how to make proper use of the site. Please any suggestion!

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