How to test website speed? All about WordPress website’s loading speed and why it matters.

People are naturally impatient and they tend to avoid waiting idle and losing precious time in all aspects of their lives. Webpage loading speed is precisely the time the user loses waiting for the content to display. How to test website speed? Check below.

Nobody likes waiting

The first impression is one of the key driving factors of today’s world. That’s why your website’s loading speed has a huge impact on whether a user is eager to visit, browse, and come back to it. Multiple pieces of research indicate that every extra second of the loading time can decrease the conversion rate by a few percent. One out of four users abandons a website if it doesn’t load in 4 seconds. It’s even more visible on mobile, where 4 out of 10 people will bail as soon as after 3 seconds of looking at the loading screen.

An e-commerce giant Amazon estimated that slowing down the loading speed just by one second can result in 1,6 billion dollars losses over the year. Google, in turn, calculated that as little as extra 0,4 seconds of waiting for the search results can cost them 8 million searches a day and consequently millions of online ads.

Have you ever been to page 3 or 4 of Google search results?

No? It’s because it’s an extremely rare phenomenon unless someone has really good reasons to do it. The first results page will almost always have exactly what you’re looking for so you don’t need to look any further. Actually, about 95% of users finish their journey one page one. We also tend to believe that whatever comes up first is substantially better - that’s how marketing works.
Does the loading speed affect your position in the Google search engine?

How can you make your site appear on the first page of Google search results?

There are many factors that decide the placement of your website in search results but one thing is certain - Google likes and favors fast-loading sites. Without a shade of doubt, we can say that your website’s loading speed has a significant impact on your business.

How to test website speed?

Briefly, there are many tools to measure your site’s loading speed and performance:

Test comparing two websites built on WordPress CMS

  • For these tests, I prepared two WordPress websites with the same amount of blocks and the exact same content. Specifically, these blocks are e.g.:
  • Header with navigation
  • Block hero
  • Core Block - Embed video
  • Core Block - Button
  • Core Block - Quote
  • Core Block with a large number of images
  • Custom Block - Accordion
Core Block - Accordion
  • ACF-based blocks, like e.g. Image slider
  • Footer

Version 1 - unoptimized

We made one of these sites in a regular, default way (like probably 90% of all websites are made). All CSS styles from the entire website have been placed in a single style.css file. The same goes for JS scripts. They are all placed in a single file and they all load on every subpage, even on those that don’t use them at all. Furthermore, no image optimization or cache plugin is in place.

You can see the results, along with some errors and optimization opportunities suggestions on the screenshots below.

Mobile results:

Desktop results:

Summing up the desktop and mobile versions, you can see that these are the most frequent errors that contribute to slowing down the website:

  • Unused CSS code,
  • Render-blocking resources
  • Server response time
  • Loading images
  • Non-browser-friendly images format
  • Unoptimized and oversized images

Version 2 - optimized

We made the second website using all our best practices and the new Gutenberg editor while trying to eliminate all errors indicated by Google.

As you can see, we managed to achieve nearly perfect scores on all speed tests.

Mobile results:

Mobile Speed Result with optimization

Desktop results:

Summary

The results are amazing and prove that even WordPress websites can achieve top-tier loading speeds. But how did we do it? In the next article, I’ll go through all Google suggestions step by step and see how we can implement them.

Check how to achieve the maximum speed of WordPress Gutenberg website.

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