Need For Speed: Why Performance Testing Is Necessary For Your Website
SEO is important, but if your site is slow, your rankings will suffer.
For years, you’d hear people trying to tell businesses that the most important aspect of their website was SEO — Search Engine Optimization. Get to the top page of Google, all other considerations secondary.
In reality, the most important thing is, and always has been, website performance.
Being able to find your website on a search is all well and good, but if visitors can’t actually use the site, it’s all for nothing.
That’s why Website Performance Testing is so important.
Website Performance Testing In A Nutshell
Website performance testing runs your website through a series of scenarios to see how it holds up. How quickly do pages load? How responsive are forms? How quickly do images load? How stable is the website in use?
Speed is perhaps the most critical aspect here. Users aren’t going to wait around for your site to load — if you’re not ready to go within 3 seconds, most visitors will leave.
Not only will people leave the site while it’s loading, they may never return. 46% of shoppers say they will avoid sites they know to be slow — so even a one-off problem can have lasting effects.
Stability largely deals with how well your website is able to handle high volume traffic. Does it stand up and keep running along, or does it collapse under the weight of multiple users?
Obviously not every website needs to handle a million people an hour — but you want to be at least able to support the number of visitors you’re likely to have at peak times.
Any business that has had to do major work on their website knows that it’s often time-consuming and expensive.
Website optimization, we’re sad to say, is no different.
However, it is absolutely essential. The money you lose by not optimizing your website’s performance will far outweigh the money spent to fix it in the first place.
If you need some convincing, here are some of the ways website performance optimization will boost your site — and your business.
Website Performance and SEO Are Linked
If it’s any consolation to those who say SEO is the most important aspect of a website, they can now rest easy knowing that performance is now one of the key metrics.
Google now takes page load time into consideration with its algorithms. If your website loads horribly slowly, it’s not going to rank highly. If it collapses under high volume, it’s not going to rank highly.
All that time and effort you put into keyword analysis, content creation, etc. is going to go down the drain if your performance isn’t up to scratch.
People who like using a website are more likely to, well, use it. And if your website is built around generating sales, they’re more likely to buy.
Many things will affect your site’s performance. They all need to be checked and optimized for best results.
- Check browser compatibility. Not all browsers are made equally and not all of them will load your site at the same speed. Test on multiple browsers and optimize where necessary. Sometimes, though, all you can do is leave a message directing visitors to which browser gives optimal results.
- Optimize images. Faster web speeds have resulted in big, beautiful imagery being the norm in website design — just be careful they’re not sinking your load times. Use .jpg as much as possible, keep color depth as low as can be without compromising the image, and crop the image to the specific size it needs to be.
- Make sure the site is responsive. It has to look great and be usable no matter what screen it’s being viewed on.
- Using caching. Browser caching allows your website to store a little bit of commonly used information on the user’s computer, speeding up load times on subsequent visits.