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Top 5 Tools to Track Website Performance

Marcel Casella March 16, 2019

Did you know that 53% of visitors will leave your website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load? Or that a 1-second delay in page response can reduce conversions by 7%?

As the statistics above show, more often than not how fast a site loads determines if we choose to stay on it or move on to another.

But what does that mean in terms of money?

Let’s assume your online store’s daily average sales is $10, 000. That 1-second delay would transform into over $250,000 lost revenues every year.

If that’s not enough reason to be on top of your website’s performance, here is another:

Google has always considered loading speed one of the most important factors when ranking sites and presenting them to users.

And from 2018, mobile loading speed also factors into the ranking equation. So, if you want your site to stand a chance at showing on the first page of search results, speed should be one of your main concerns.

For some users, loading speed is more important than how a site looks. This has a lot to do with the fact that the internet has gotten us accustomed to instant gratification. Humans are already hardwired for it, but it just so happens that the digital era made it possible for us to find or get what we want almost instantly. If we don’t get what we want out of a click quickly enough, we’ll simply move on, and so will our customers.

You want your customers to stay on your site long enough to see your products or services, and even make a purchase. That’s why providing a seamless experience for them is paramount to increase your sales. If a site is quick to load, it is more likely that visitors will stay on it, read its content and take action.

The good news is that there are plenty of online tools that allow you to assess how fast your site loads. They can also help you gain insights on how to improve your website and optimize its loading speed.

Here is a list of some of the best load speed testing tools available:

1.   PageSpeed Insights (by Google)

PageSpeed Insights (PSI) offers data on a website’s real-time performance both on desktop and mobile devices. The tool provides a report that includes Chrome User Experience Report data to show how fast your site is and how you can improve it.

PSI evaluates to what extent a page follows the most commonly recommended performance best practices. It also determines if the page’s above the fold and full-page loading speed can be improved.

Cost

PageSpeed Insights is free to use.

2.   GTmetrix

GTmetrix provides insights on how well your site loads and offers actionable advice on how to optimize it. The tool generates a comprehensive report on how your website loads and helps detect where the bottlenecks could be.

Some of its key features include:

  • PageSpeed and YSlow scores
  • Page load details
  • Load analysis from 7 different regions worldwide
  • Site’s performance comparison -in relation to the average of all other sites analyzed by the tool
  • Page performance tracking -by setting a schedule for monitoring

All these metrics are displayed in interactive graphs so you can easily see the information.

They also launched a developer toolkit that allows devs to simulate pages on different devices and at different resolutions. This is a plus when you´re also worried about your site´s responsiveness.

Cost

GTmetrix offers several plans: from its basic plan, which is free, to several Pro plans. The most comprehensive option is their Gold plan at $149.95 per month. Their free plan allows you to monitor up to three URLs while its Gold plan allows you to keep track of up to 50 URLs. They also offer a customized service at an undisclosed price.

3.   Uptrends

Uptrends is another comprehensive tool that allows for different types of monitoring. With Uptrends you can keep track of websites, applications, APIs, and servers’ performance, and more. They provide detailed reports with different categories that let you determine which elements in your site are causing the biggest delays. Some of the functions include:

  • Real-time browser monitoring. Lets you experience exactly what a visitor would when browsing your site and shows data on errors, uptimes, and full-page upload time.
  • Full page check. Shows you how every website element affects load time and includes third-party monitoring.

Additionally, this versatile tool offers customized reports, scheduled monitoring, and site testing from more than 200 locations worldwide.

Cost

Uptrends offers some basic free tools and several paid plans that range from $14.59 to $63 per month. You can request a free 30-day trial for any of the plans, and they currently have a 20% discount.

4.   Webpagetest

This is an open source performance tester that provides an exhaustive report of your website. The report includes a summary, content analysis, screenshots, and a comprehensive assessment with PageSpeed checks, improvement suggestions, and waterfall charts so you can see the data more easily.

Webpagetest measures the time it takes to load on the first view and repeat view, first-byte time; content delivery network (CDN) details, and other metrics.

You can test your site from more than 40 locations and evaluate mobile as well as desktop performance in multiple browsers.

Cost

Webpagetest is a free testing tool.

  1. Pingdom

Pingdom Website Speed Test is one of the most popular tools available. It provides a report containing four sections that include page analysis, performance grade, a waterfall styled chart, and history.

You can check your website’s performance in all continents with more than 70 probe servers available.

The software offers valuable metrics, recommendations on how to improve your site, and trends in its performance history.

Pingdom provides a detailed report with data on server response, site loading speed, file size, and site health. You can filter the information to see what you are most interested in.

You can also monitor and test servers and web applications.

Cost

They have a basic free speed testing tool and monitoring plans that range from $11.95 to $199 per month. You can do a 14-day free trial of any of their paid plans.

Final Thoughts

It’s important to understand that you need to run multiple tests and take the average results to better understand how well your site works and you should do this regularly.

It is ideal to combine testing with monitoring to ensure your website runs smoothly and to detect any glitches or other issues as soon as they arise.

Remember to test your site both on desktop and mobile browsers.

All the tools above will offer valuable and actionable suggestions to improve your site’s speed.

Some typical fixes include:

  • Compressing large images or files
  • Changing to a fast web host
  • Reducing the number of HTTP requests
  • Optimizing your code and scripts

Loading speed is probably your number one advantage when it comes to user experience and potential conversion. That is why you want to make sure your site’s speed and overall performance is always at its best. These five tools offer affordable and comprehensive solutions but, it is up to you to determine which one best suits your needs and your budget.

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