Posted to Erik Wagner's blog on November 11th, 2010

How Important is Page Speed? Part 1

How Important is Page Speed?

Google has confirmed that page speed is important not only for the user experience, but also as a factor in determining rankings. Google is concerned about their user experience, so they give preference to websites that are fast to download.

A few quick recommendations regarding page speed:

1. Identify if you have an issue with your site's speed. Open up your site's Google Webmaster Tools and scroll down and click on "Labs" in the left hand menu. Then, click on "Site Performance." If your site has been around for awhile, you should see a graph that shows your site's performance in comparison to other websites. If your site has fast download speeds your graph should be close to the one second line. You should see an average for the amount of time it takes to download a page and you will also see a percentage that indicates how fast your site is compared to others.

2. While you're still on the "Page Speed" tab, click on the "Install Page Speed" button. This will download and install the Page Speed FireFox Plugin.

BUT WAIT…before you can even install the "Page Speed" plugin, you first need to download "FireBug". Firebug is a neat program that when activated will allow you to read through and analyze the HTML, CSS, and other parts of the code on webpages.

Okay, now you've got FireBug installed and the Page Speed plugin, open up FireFox and click on FireBug (it should be in the bottom right hand corner of your browser). Then, click on "Page Speed." Finally click "Analyze Performance" and up should pop a score out of 100 and some suggestions on how to increase your page speed.

Next week, I will discuss how to correct some of the common suggestions and make some more advanced suggestions on page speed.

Do you have any quick tips or hints on improving your site speed?