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Digital Marketing - Study Notes:

Tools to check site speed metrics


Pingdom is a tool which will give you an idea how fast or slow your website is. And, as you’ll remember, this is a ranking factor, and it will have an impact on your user’s experience, and it will probably have an impact on your site’s conversion. You’ve got a slow site, probably going to convert worse than a fast site.

In this example, I’ve entered in Apple:

  • Marker 1: Marker 1 we can see the performance grade and it’s got 77%. So, that’s an overall indication of how the website’s rating for site speed.
  • Marker 2: But as the name suggests, site speed, I would suggest a better metric is the load time, how quickly that page is loading. So, marker 2 shows that Apple’s is loading in under a second and anything under two seconds is considered pretty quick.
  • Marker 3: Marker 3 is the page size, so this is all the files when you add them together how big is the actual page size, and we can see 1.3 megabytes. The lower the better. And again, probably 2 megabytes is quite normal. So, Apple’s is looking quite good from a size perspective.
  • Marker 4: Requests is how often requests are being made to your web server when the page is loading. So, if you’ve got ten CSS files, that’s ten separate requests, and it would be better just to have one CSS file to minimize requests, and that would speed up web load time.
  • Marker 5: The time to the first byte is 0.007 seconds

Common issues that hold a website back

What we’re looking at now is still Pingdom, and this is the performance grade view.

We can see that for Apple, it looks like they weren’t leveraging browser caching, they haven’t combined all external JavaScript, and these are some quite common issues that people face that is holding their website back a little bit.

But, as I said, what’s more important is the actual page load time and you’re not expected to get everything right. But you can review what things you can improve using a tool like Pingdom.

Ways to improve site speed

How can you improve your site speed?

  • Upgrade your web hosting: Well, we’ve mentioned upgrade your web host before, but that is an option. All web hosts are going to be slightly different in terms of how powerful they are. Rather than upgrade your web host, you might want to upgrade your package within your web host because they might have a faster solution that costs a little bit more.
  • Reduce file sizes: You don’t have to use Photoshop but when you do use Photoshop for image editing you can save a file regularly or you can save it for the web which will reduce the actual size and make it more web-friendly. And that’s what we want to try and do, is to get in the habit of making images good quality but on the low-end file size where possible.
  • Add compression and caching: We want to compress texts and we want to cache the page and that will make things faster.
  • Minimize requests: Multiple CSS files, if you can just have one is better. Maybe you’re actually requesting elements of the page that the page never actually uses. That’s happened to me before. So, we’re trying to just look at ways of minimizing the requests. And when you use the waterfall diagram from Pingdom, it shows you what all the requests are. So, you can ask yourself: Are these necessary, could I minimize them?
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Joe Williams

Managing Director and SEO Trainer at Zen Optimise

  • Founder and SEO Trainer at Zen Optimise with 10 years’ experience in Search Engine Optimization
  • Zen Optimise is a London-based digital marketing training company
  • SEO consultant and trainer for hundreds of small, medium, and blue chip companies including Qantas Airlines, Sky, Eurostar, EasyCruise, and Anti-Slavery

Data protection regulations affect almost all aspects of digital marketing. Therefore, DMI has produced a short course on GDPR for all of our students. If you wish to learn more about GDPR, you can do so here:

DMI Short Course: GDPR

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