Power Tools – GT Metrix; a useful free online tool to analyse the performance of your website
This Particle of knowledge will show you how to analyse the way your website performs.
Use this tool to avoid a high number of bounces (0-10 sec sessions) in your website’s analytics reports.
About this Tool
Have you ever tried to go on a website and been put off by the amount of time it takes to load the page?
You wouldn’t want visitors to experience that on your website, would you?
What is GT Metrix?
- Analyse and optimise your website,
- Summarise your website’s performance down to an individual page level
- Generate reports detailing page load times, page sizes, total number of user requests and performance comparisons,
- Informative graphs and charts at disposal, based on the evaluated performance
At what point would you use GT Metrix?
- To find out why people might be bouncing (a bounce is a session on your website that will last between 0 to 10 seconds)
- If your site takes a while to load
- If you’re unaware that you can save your images in a “use on the web” format to lower file sizes.
- If you thought every website was the same size and didn’t carry “weights”
- If you’ve never used GT Metrix or any source of performance report before, and you’d like to improve the site without altering aesthetics
Why should you use it?
If the consumer can’t navigate through websites with ease, they’ll choose not to navigate around at all. If a page takes more than 4 seconds to load 25% of consumers will leave the page for a faster one. It was also found, in the same study, that a one second delay in page response can result in 7% reduction in conversions. Put into perspective. If an eCommerce site is making a hundred thousand dollars per day than a one second page delay may cost them $2.5 million in lost sales every year.
So the real question is if GT Metrix flags up issues with your website, then why shouldn’t you use it?
- GT Metrix allows business owners and freelance marketers to easily break down issues with their site.
- WordPress users can download a GT Metrix plugin.
- The free account can be upgraded to allow more complex features for web developers (and those that would benefit from faster analysis)
How to analyse your site
This tool is free. Like anything, there’s always a paid version, but the free version is good enough.
- Go to gtmetrix.com.
- Type your domain name into the search bar and click “analyse”. It will take a couple of minutes
Once you have completed the steps above, you will be able to see is a Page Speed Score and Y Slow. What you want is a minimum of a C for the page score and C for the Y Slow. The majority of websites you will certainly find problems. The speed at which everything loads affects your Digital Marketing, and that’s why you need to check the files saved on the server themselves.
What do the results mean?
Some people take pictures on their cameras, which are around 30MB and 20-foot wide (that’s a bit of an exaggeration but you know what I mean). Nine times out of ten, the main issues seem to be image optimisation or image scaling.
- Optimisation of images lowers the file size without reducing image quality.
- Whereas, scaling of the images refers to the actual display size.
Should your score fall below a C, you should consider gzip compression and a Content Delivery Network. Clearly you should know what a Content Delivery Network is, but in a lot of cases people think you only need that if you’ve got an eCommerce website. In my opinion, if you’ve got any images on your website, you should be using a Content Delivery Network. A lot of people also believe a Content Delivery Network is expensive. It’s not particularly expensive; obviously prices constantly change, so I’m not going to quote a price on here.
Ultimately, if you’ve optimised and scaled images, enabled the gzip compression, and you are using a Content Delivery Network, then your Page Speed Score and Y Slow should pop up above a C.
The other thing to obviously be aware of “Fully Loaded Time”, but you must bear in mind that this changes depending on the:
- Page in which you’re looking at
- Time of the day
- Testing region
Therefore, because GT Metrix is a free tool, my advice would be to retest fairly frequently to make sure your website is the best it can be.
Usually people say to me, “what does all this mean?” In a lot of cases, I just say copy the URL and paste it in an email to your developer and just ask them to sort out the problems.