Testing Page Load Speed on Desktop and Mobile

According to Kissmetrics 40% of people will abandon a website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. That’s a massive number of potential visitors giving up and going elsewhere – most likely to one of your competitors. Load speed is vital!

A fast site will benefit user experience and help conversion and trust and your SEO. A slow site, in comparison, will lose you customers and reduce consumer confidence in your business and brand.

Google has shared some page load speed benchmarks from their own data:

google page load bounce rates for slow websites

Increased Load Speed Reduces Bounce

This graph couldn’t be clearer: speed matters!

In this post, we’ll look at 2 free software tools to check your site and page load speed, and most importantly, how you can interpret and improve the results.

The diagnostic results offer solutions that are actionable for all levels of site owners and webmasters. However, some are a lot more technical than others and may need to be looked at by a professional website developer.

Google continues to promote the advantages of a fast loading site – both on desktop and mobile devices. In fact, the search giant has been transparent about it since 2010!

How much ranking weight this carries is debatable, but Google isn’t spending money on your site – your customers are!

Always prioritise the customer experience as the most important ranking factor – page speed matters to them, so it should matter to you.

Page Speed Insights:

Full of advantages, a fast load speed keeps users happy – and keeps the search engines happy too!

The first thing to do is test your site pages. You should do this regularly and not just once in the early days of your site. (Remember that results are taken for the individual page you enter, not the site as a whole).

There are a lot of tools out there that can measure performance. The Google page speed test (PageSpeed Insights) and Pingdom website speed test are probably the two most well known, and for good reason.

They are both incredibly easy and straightforward to use and will provide results for both desktop and mobile devices.

Google PageSpeed Insights

Google PageSpeed Insights screen shot


Pingdom website speed test screen shot

PageSpeed Insights Results:

I ran eBay.co.uk through the Google test and these are their mobile results:

ebay mobile speed test results


From the basic results above, we can see that even eBay can make changes to speed up their front page on mobile!

The results are taken from data from the last 30 days. If you have a new site you’ll need to wait until there is enough data to deliver accurate results.

When you scroll down to analyse the results a little more thoroughly it can start to get a little complicated and technical.

It’s advisable to get some help from a website developer at this stage. Their knowledge will help you to get the issues addressed and sorted.

If you’re pushed for time and resources, it is advisable to focus on the ‘red’ issues first. These will be having the most adverse effect on your page speed.

ebay page speed diagnostics

The results are highlighting issues with their image sizes. This is one of the most common problems – especially when it comes to mobile page speed.

Google wants your site to run faster. It’s in their best interests to deliver sites in their results that make visitors happy. With this in mind, they are pretty helpful with offering solutions, or ‘Opportunities,’ to improve.

Each opportunity has a drop down menu that provides more details of the issues.

ebay opportunies page speed drop down menu

In the example above you can see that the ‘Eliminate render-blocking resources’ heading has been broken down into 4 specific issues that can be addressed:

Mobile v Desktop

When you’re analysing the results, it is important to look at both the ‘Mobile’ and ‘Desktop’ versions.

eBay’s desktop results are considerably higher than the mobile number (even though they’re still in the mid-range).

ebays page speed desktop results

A higher number doesn’t necessarily mean the user experience is any different across devices. eBay are likely not as concerned as a smaller business would (and should) be with their mobile results. They may have spent a few quid on their mobile app!

Once again, this helps to highlight the importance of thinking about customer experience and the research into how customers will view your site. If customers are predominantly visiting on mobile, then optimise the mobile experience first.

Now we’ll run the same test on Pingdom.

Pingdom Website Speed Results:

So, here are the results for the eBay.co.uk site tested on Pingdom on the same day.

Pingdom only provide the desktop results with their free service.

ebay page speed results on pingdom

The interface is slightly different and the ‘Performance grade,’ is essentially the same as the main Google scoring system: in this case, eBay gets a ‘C.’

If you scroll down, you’ll discover the results in more detail.

ebay pingdom results with fix tips

You can see that the F and E grade issues are both marked in red. This means your site speed will benefit most by prioritising fixing these issues first.

If you open up each section, the report offers some general advice on how to improve page performance.

This is clearly not as detailed as Google and is therefore perhaps a more useful tool for less experienced web developers.

ebay pingdom results for page performance

Pingdom offer a massive range of website performance metrics and tracking management tools. But in a head-to-head battle for page speed analysis, they lose out to Google.

Page Speed Insights go that much further with their analysis and displaying results that are for both desktop and mobile.

Don’t worry too much if your site pages come out with a low score or a bad grade. The majority of load speed problems can be fixed quickly and easily.

The most important thing to remember is to deliver content a site that is laser targeted towards an ideal customer.

If you work on this as well as your site speed, then it’ll be a powerful combination to help drive the success of your website.