Since April 2010, Google has incorporated page speed and loading times into it’s search ranking. Whilst this may not be a huge factor in the rankings it’s something to be aware of. This means optimizing web sites has never been more important not only for search results but also for user’s benefit.
Below are some of the tools I found useful and worth sharing.
There are some common tools provided across different services to help diagnose page load times and areas which can be improved. It’s advisable to use several different services to check the load times. Most tools may cover the same areas but may suggest different improvements. Also this ensure a full coverage of checks performed.
A report usually lists all the checks that are performed by the tool and usually state the state (whether it’s good, medium or bad) and possible improvements if any.
A common graph to show loading sequence and times for a specific page. This is useful to see what elements on a page loaded in what order and what areas can loaded in concurrent.
Load times can depend on the browser and the location of the test server. Browser load times depend on the engine that is used. If there are scripts, external files Adobe Flash elements may increase the load time and also depends on the efficiency of the browser. Location wise, close the tool is geologically generally improves the load time. It’s a good idea to try different settings to see what the differences are but as a guideline try Google’s Chrome browser, USA server and your web servers country to see the differences.
From the beginning LoadsIn looks like a very simple tool. Enter the website URL and it shows the time taken for the page to load. I believe by default it selects Safari as the default browser and a USA server to perform the speed test but this can be changed on the results page. LoadsIn also provides a network diagram but it lists all the different tests performed on the same site using different location and browser. This makes comparing the different parameters very easy and access to the net graph is available for each test.
Whilst this is not dedicated to page load times it is important the DNS entries are correct and working. DNS may redirect users the long way round to a site or contain errors which would impact access to the site. Pingdom also has a page test but it only contains the net graph which can be gained from other tools.
Information is power and the tools above are designed to help guide a web master or server administrator to decrease loading times. Some improvements are easier to implement than others and there are always those which are out of your control such as content from an external site. For example Twitter widget, Last.fm playlist, etc.