Small Business Website Speed & Performance – This month’s Small Business Website Speed & Website Performance article examines some effective strategies, online tools, and performance standards to help Small Business owners monitor the speed and performance of their Small Business Websites.
As Small Business owners start to develop their 2012 Website Strategies, Brand Marketing, Media Advertising and Internet Marketing Strategies, an effective Website SEO strategy, which is often overlooked, concerns the Website Speed Testing scores of a company’s website. Since Google has decided to make Website Speed - Website Performance Analysis more of a factor in their 2012 search rankings, Small Business owners should take the time to review the speed and performance scores of their Small Business websites.
Stellarpoint Communications Group, a PA Marketing, Media, and Website Design Agency, is headquartered in Malvern PA, 35 minutes from Philadelphia PA. We provide companies, organizations, and individuals Starting a New Small Business or Marketing a Service Business with Effective Marketing, Media Advertising, Corporate Video Production, Pa Web Design, and Philadelphia Internet Marketing from Boston to Washington DC and Chicago to Atlanta.
At a Small Business Philadelphia Internet Marketing event I was asked variations of this question by five different Local Small Business owners in less than an hour. Without the benefit of reviewing their company websites and Internet Marketing strategies, the best answer I could provide was – Since Google is the preferred search engine for more than 65% of internet users and they keep stating website speed and performance factors are one of their user experience priorities, you might want to consider whether the speed and performance of your website is a positive or a negative in the eyes of Google.
Most owners of Small Business Websites are usually interested in two things – Finding New Business and Keeping Old Business. Website speed and performance issues have very little to do with keeping old business; however, some very simple Website speed and performance adjustments, combined with an Effective SEO Program, could have a positive effect on your search engine rankings – and this can definitely lead to finding new business.
What is website speed? When an internet user clicks on your listing in the search results, how many seconds does it take before the user can actually view one of your WebPages? Depending on the user’s internet connection, the longer it takes to load your website, the better the chances are a user becomes frustrated and moves on to next website. Google and the other major search engines are looking to improve user experiences. If your website loading speed is too long, search engines will probably be more inclined to give you lower rankings.
When many Small Business Owners think about website loading speed, they immediately look to potential problems with their Website Hosting Company. If your website is being hosted by a reputable company and you took the time to do some initial due diligence, you should also verify website speed at the website level to determine whether your website loading speed could be affecting your search engine rankings. There are a couple of easy to use and safe website performance tools which highlight potential website speed and performance issues.
There are numerous Website Speed & Performance tools available for website developers; however, two excellent website performance tools which also provide Small Business owners with some useful insights into website speed issues are: Google’s Page Speed and Yahoo’s YSlow. Both website Speed & Performance tools base your website performance score against specific rules, standards, and best practices known to increase website download speed.
Your website Speed & Performance score is based on an overall rating of 0 to 100. The final reports also provide a complete analysis of your speed rating as measured against these various rules and standards, along with suggestions of the steps you should take to improve your website speed scores. While both tools were specifically designed for users who have some familiarity with website development techniques, every small business owner can still understand an overall score of 90 is better than an overall score of 60.
If your website Speed & Performance score is over 90 with either tool, your Website Speed - Performance is in good shape. If your website speed score is between 65 and 90, there are probably some very beneficial changes you might want to consider in order to improve your Website Page Speed score. If your performance score is less than 65, there are definitely some performance issues you should probably investigate. If you are confused after looking at the final reports, ask your Web Design Firm or SEO Consultant to take a few minutes and explain the results to you.
Many of these website performance changes are easy fixes and should not cost you a fortune. Others are a little more complicated – and may not be worth it to you. As with most things, the key to anything associated with an effective website is balance.
If you are interested in finding out the Website Speed & Performance Scores for your Small Business Website using Google’s Page Speed and Yahoo’s YSlow, you will need to do the following:
STEP ONE: If you are not using Mozilla Firefox as your internet browser (you are using another browser ie., Internet Explorer), you initially need to download the latest version of Mozilla Firefox as a “secondary browser”. Both of these Website Speed and Performance tools are designed as a Firefox ad-on. You can still use Internet Explorer or any other browser as your primary internet browser.
STEP TWO: Using your recently downloaded Firefox Browser for future downloads, proceed to download Mozilla Firefox – Firebug Ad-on. This website development download is a required ad-on which allows you to run Google Page Speed and Yahoo YSlow on Firefox browsers. All of these website performance downloads are Free. Any requests for contributions to support future development are voluntary contributions.
STEP THREE: Download Google - Page Speed Ad-on. You must complete Steps One and Two before you download Google's Page Speed tool.
STEP FOUR: Download Mozilla Firefox - YSlow Ad-on. Yahoo's YSlow Speed & Performance tool is best used as a confirmation to Page Speed. The overall scores are usually a little lower than Page Speed scores; however, both scores taken together provide a good snapshot of Website Performance.
Once you have completed these downloads, both Website Speed and Performance tools are fairly easy to navigate. While some of the detailed explanations might seem confusing to some, the most important factor for most Small Business Websites will be the actual Speed & Performance scores. If your Website Performance scores are not in line with the parameters stated above, further investigation is probably required on your part.