To ensure a fast-loading website, you need to optimize the pages of your site. This means making sure that there aren’t any errors or missing resources that could be slowing down your site.
What is GTMetrix?
But how do you know if a site loads fast? There are massive online free tools available to analyze your site. GTMetrix is one of the most popular – and free – tools for measuring website performance.
It’s an easy way to check if your page speeds are what you want them to be, and it includes lots of helpful tips on how to improve these speeds as well! Here’s more information about how to use GTMetrix and why it’s important for your site.
What is the Site Speed of a website?
According to google page speed (“This allows you to see which pages load the fastest and which ones take the longest”).
You can test website speed by going to this website and putting the date of your first-page visit into the search bar to see which site is faster, as a site speed value. The site speed is calculated in milliseconds.
This isn’t a new concept, and it’s not actually difficult to figure out, but if you’re interested, I wrote an article about it a couple of years ago that I thought you might find helpful.
High-quality websites often have a page speed value over a few thousand milliseconds, so being a few milliseconds slower isn’t a big deal.
But, a poor site can be many seconds or even minutes or even hours slow.
Why is site speed important for SEO?
It affects user experience.
Typical visitors to your website spend just two seconds on your homepage.
While that may not seem like a long time, it’s a pretty significant amount of time. Any information displayed on the first page of search results can’t be shown for more than two seconds.
The first two seconds of a site are how long users spend on the page.
On the first page of search results, most users will spend the first two seconds reading the headline before moving to the second page, where the content will be displayed.
If your page is slow, that means you’re losing out on a lot of valuable time. Your potential customers are missing the main reason you even exist.
It’s amazing how much easier it is to consume content when it loads fast. When your website is loading faster, you don’t have to wait for a video to buffer or a page to load before you can read or view a web page.
Video Loading Speed
Many websites will optimize content to load faster, but the video loading, as we’ve all experienced, is painfully slow.
There are two types of videos: those which play once and those which play multiple times. In general, the more a video plays, the longer it takes to load.
How to Check Site Speed with GTMetrix
Let’s get started. You’ll need to create a new GTMetrix account, then click on the blue “How Fast” button in the upper right-hand corner. Enter a few pieces of information in the form:
A website Site Size: the number of pages that your site is comprised of the number of pages that your site is comprised of.
Number of Clicks: the number of times visitors should be making a single click
the number of times visitors should be making a single click Website Location: the page you’re measuring is being measured on your server, not another server
The page you’re measuring is being measured on your server, not another server, GTMetrix Developer: the developer who created the tool, which in this case is bigness (download here).
Four Important Speed Test Considerations
GTmetrix should work for all major operating systems.
In my case, I tested using GTMetrix on Windows 10 and Android on both Gingerbread (2.3) and Jelly Bean (4.1). (Here’s my complete list of browser versions.)
I started by launching GTMetrix, logging into my account, and launching the test on all three OSs.
I then completed a quick test on each website to get a baseline, or average, result.
The Time Between First Response and Last Response (TTFB) is one of the more useful speed metrics.
TTFB measures the amount of time between the client sending a request and the server answering. A faster TTFB means that the client could complete the request, but the server still responded.
Advanced Analysis Options in GTMetrix
An advanced version of GTMetrix, with a few more options, is the Pro version.
I haven’t had a chance to use it to my full advantage, but the client reports alone look like a huge time-saver. Plus, it is a one-time purchase, so you can try it out if you want to.
I’ll only be covering the basic functionality here, though, so if you’d like to check out more, you can grab a Pro license for $199 (paid annually).
Once you’ve downloaded the GTMetrix Pro Tool, you can do simple speed tests by just going to https://www.gtmetrix.com/ and selecting your country and hosting provider.
However, for most people, the vast majority of site speed tests will require you to visit the testing page to be tested.
GTmetrix Automatic Monitoring and Alerts
As part of the GTmetrix tool’s automatic monitoring and alert system, you can receive email alerts if a certain percentage of your tests pass or fail.
You can configure it so that the emails are routed to a standard Gmail account or forwarded to a private Gmail account, and you can block incoming emails from anonymous senders.
- Click the gear icon to configure your GTmetrix settings.
- On the “Account Setting” page, hit the “Setting for your farm email address” checkbox.
- Change the default account’s location to a different address from your corporate domain.
To receive alerts, check the “Send email alert for accuracy” checkbox, set your GTmetrix alert types, and create a Gmail address to receive the email.
Running a few speed tests is a good way to assess your site’s speed. However, the most reliable way to find out how well your site is performing is to use a tool that helps you perform multiple tests to measure how quickly each page loads.
This ensures that all of your pages load quickly, and more importantly, is truly a representation of how your site performs. GTmetrix is one of the best tools to use to achieve this.