The speed of your website (how quickly it loads) has always been an important factor to the success of a website, but even more so now with the different ways we access sites and can measure speed performance. A faster website tends to result in a superior experience for users which can lead to more conversions. Just like offering a better customer service.
Google has offered a high level overview of site speed through Webmaster Tools for some time. But this only provided an average overview with a basic indication of how the site is performing in comparison to other sites. This feature is also going to be removed by Google Webmaster Tools. So now Google Analytics is providing speed data and at a much more useful dimensions such as:
- Page load time
- Redirection time
- Domain lookup time
- Server connection time… and others
You can also compare times between browsers, mobile & desktop, location and all the other dimensions available in GA.
Having data on each of these can indicate where speed problems are beyond element optimisation. Visit the Google Analytics Site Speed page to learn how to access it.
Site speed importance increases when we bring mobile into the picture together with recognising the necessity of optimising for mobile. Compare this aggregate speed data from Google Analytics:
Although many sites have some sort of mobile optimisation, I often find myself wishing there was an app for a particular site just because it is slow and frustrating to browse when I am on my mobile. The best and most viable solution to improve speed and usability for mobile devices is to implement an effective responsive design into the site.
Web performance by country:
Sites are usually slowed down by things that are out of your control; the user’s browser, connection, device hardware. But with these, the user should have an equal experience with other sites. Page content, element compression, servers & HTTP requests are examples of speed factors that are in your control and contribute to the good or bad experience your visitors have when they browse.
When the web becomes faster
Keep in mind that the web is becoming faster and faster, and so should your site/app.
In New Zealand we are used to blaming the infrastructure for slow Internet. But when most New Zealanders are expected to have access to 100mbps fibre connections in the next few years, your server, site and applications could be the slowest piece. A slow site seems even slower when we are accustomed to a faster network. This makes improving site speed and application speed more important for those who want to stay ahead and offer the best online experience to their users.