As with so many things, there is no one-size-fits-all tool. If you are going to make a good website it is important to use several benchmarking tools so that you can identify strengths and weaknesses in a variety of areas. I tend to take this approach as it is important to me that clients do not return to me with any issues I could have foreseen coming.
Another significant developers tool comes from Pingdom who are a team based in Sweden who specialise in web performance and well designed user interfaces. Starting in 2007 they report that they have over 700,000 users in over 200 countries including Spotify, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Zendesk, MailChimp, and more.
Pingdom has created a testing system designed to filter out false alerts using a second opinion process to double-check downtime from another location before logging a website or application as down. With a network of over 60 probe servers in North America and Europe help to reduce false alerts it makes for a benchmarking tool with high levels of reliability. The Pingdom website analysis tool allows anyone to create an account, or use the service as a guest. All that is needed is a URL and Pingdom will take care of the rest. They say:
“Nobody Likes a Slow Website. We built this Website Speed Test to help you analyze the load speed of your websites and learn how to make them faster. It lets you identify what about a web page is fast, slow, too big, what best practices you’re not following, and so on. We have tried to make it useful both to experts and novices alike. In short, we wanted it to be a easy-to-use tool to help webmasters and web developers everywhere optimize the performance of their websites
- Performance overview – We automatically put together plenty of performance-related statistics for you based on the test result
- Performance grade and tips – See how your website conforms to performance best practices from Google Page Speed (similar to Yahoo’s Yslow). You can get some great tips on how to speed up your website this way.
- Trace your performance history – We save each test for you so you can review it later and also see how things change over time (with pretty charts!). Test from multiple locations – See how fast a website loads in Europe, the United States, etc.
- Share your results – We’ve made it easy for you to perform a test and share it with your friends, work colleagues or web host.
How it works: All tests are done with real web browsers, so the results match the end-user experience exactly. We use a bunch of instances of Google’s Chrome web browser to load websites, record performance data, and so on. Tests are done from dedicated Pingdom servers.”
Now each time you run an analysis it picks a different server to test the loading speeds from. For this reason I tend to run a series of tests so that I can gauge an average performance overall. By doing an array it should become obvious if something is a consistent problem or misrepresentation. Here are several summaries of consecutive analyses I have run on the Social Server website:
Why is Speed Important ?
For some liner note on why it is important to have a website which loads quickly, I have drawn from an article from the Search Engine Journal:
“For starters, Google thinks site speed is important. Some would even go as far to say that Google has a bit of an obsession with how quickly a page loads. Which isn’t exactly breaking news. Google has always rewarded sites that have clean codes and download quickly. This became particularly apparent when the Big G announced its Speed Online Tool in 2011….
…But, why does Google care about site speed? Former Vice President Marissa Mayer asked users if they preferred 10 or 30 results for Google searches. Obviously, web surfers went with the higher number, and Google made the changes. The result? Traffic dropped by 20 percent on the pages that featured 30 results. Yet, the download speed difference between the pages with 10 and 30 results was only half a second – what an impact!…
…page speed remains a ranking factor in Google’s algorithm for both desktop and mobile sites. John Ekman explains in an article on Unbounce that faster load times will indeed improve your ranking, as well as help you gain more organic traffic. So while it’s just one of many factors in determining your site’s ranking, it’s certainly shouldn’t be ignored, especially since mobile sites can be penalized for loading slowly.”