How To Test Your Website Performance

learn how to test a website, how to improve your results and why it is important!

Ever wondered how to test a website and see how it performs. Your website might look great to humans but how does your website look to Google?.

You may have heard the talk of website speed and that Google is placing more importance on fast loading websites. 

This is true, website speed is of huge importance, but, there are other issues such as site accessibility, website best practices and SEO.

Luckily for us, Google makes it easy to test websites by providing a quick and easy auditing tool web.dev.

How To Test a Website

Web.dev is a website created by Google for website owners to check their current site performance based on 4 indicators.

To test your website follow these easy steps:

1.Go to web.dev and click “test my site”

2. Enter your website address into the search bar and click “run audit”

3. Check out your report for more detailed hints and tips on how to improve your website.

Average Results?

How does your website compare ?

We tested 1779 websites from local small businesses to multinational companies all based in the UK. The average results for all of the websites were as follows:

49

Performance

75

Accessibility

70

Best Practices

87

SEO

As you can see from the numbers above there are a lot of websites out there that need to start improving there site performance.

Average results for each CMS

We wanted to find out what these websites were built on so we used whatcms.org to find out what was under the hood.

Out of the 1779 websites tested we detected 852 known CMS platforms. The top 4 CMS systems of the 852 were WordPress(431), Duda(94), Wix(36), Squarespace(27)

The average test results of these platforms was as follows:

WordPress

(Sites Tested – 432)

34

Performance

81

Accessibility

69

Best Practices

91

SEO

Squarespace

(Sites Tested – 27)

27

Performance

84

Accessibility

78

Best Practices

93

SEO

Wix

(Sites Tested – 36)

23

Performance

94

Accessibility

77

Best Practices

96

SEO

Duda

(Sites Tested – 94)

64

Performance

68

Accessibility

64

Best Practices

89

SEO

How does your website compare to the average ratings?
Test now on web.dev

What do these numbers mean?

The 4 main indicators of the web.dev test are performance, accessibility, best practises and SEO. These 4 key indicators are out of 100 – highest being the best.

Why should I care about these numbers?

These 4 key indicators are a measurement of user experience. User experience is extremely important as bad user experience leads to fewer visitors and fewer returning visitors to the website.

preform

Performance Indicator

The performance indicator shows the websites speed, the higher the better. Google also uses website speed as one of their ranking factors for websites on the search results.

Why is this important?

  • Google will be releasing a new website speed update for users of their chrome browser. This will show users a warning indicating that the website they are about to visit loads slowly.
  • More can be read here
access

Accessibility Indicator

The accessibility indicator shows how user-friendly and accessible your website is. Think of accessibility of buildings, wheelchair ramps and braille signage. Your website needs to meet the needs of the end-user and be accessible to them no matter what they are using to browse.

Why is this important?

  • Making your website accessible to every user regardless of disability should be a priority for all website owners.
best practise

Best Practices Indicator

The best practise indicator is a measure of how well you have followed Googles guidelines on website design and development.

Why is this important?

  • Following Google’s guidelines and best practices is one of the best ways to protect your website from vulnerabilities and bad user experiences.
seo

SEO Indicator

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation, this indicator shows a measure of how well your website is set up to rank on Google.

Why is this important?

  • Google actually tells you how to structure your website in order to rank higher on the search results.
  • Complying to these rules and guidelines is the easiest way to improve your search engine optimisation.
  • Read our post on SEO for Small Business for more information.

Common Issues With Website Performance

Most websites will have unique issues that need to be researched and fixed. There are however some common issues that appear on most websites.

Dreamhost produced an article on the top ten most common website speed issues. 

Three of the most common issues are image non-optimisation, render-blocking resources and non-optimised CSS:

  • Render blocking Resources – Files that need to be loaded before the page can display to the user.
  • Non-optimised CSS – Loading CSS styles that are not needed.
  • Non-optimised Images – Images too big or not compressed can cause issues.

Practical Steps to Improve Your Website Performance

Rebuild Your Website On WordPress


Our preferred method is to completely start again and build a new website from scratch focusing on optimisation for the web.dev results from day one.

Theme Selection

Theme selection is huge when optimising, especially for speed WP-Rocket, wrote a blog on the top ten fastest WordPress themes last year. Their number one theme was Generate Press so we decided to use this theme to test.

Plugins

Having too many plugins on a WordPress website can really impact on the performance. We always try to build our website using as little plugins as possible, we think the essentials are :

Results

After installing these plugins on a fresh WordPress install using the GeneratePress theme the web.dev rankings were as follows:

Pretty impressive results, but this website has no content and no styling. So how will the results change once we have a website full of content?

After adding content, pages, styling and constantly checking our results. We now have almost perfect scores.

Starting from scratch has advantages and disadvantages but if you are not ready for a total remodel you have some other options available.

Other Options Available.

WordPress Plugins

There are a number of WordPress plugins available that will help to improve site performance. Bloggingwizard.com has a great guide on some top plugins you can use to try and fix your site’s issues.

One plugin that the above article does not mention is Autoptimize – this is a free plugin that once installed and configured can improve your stats on web.dev.

Hire someone to do it for you.

We would love to help you to improve your website performance.

Prices start from £89