What is Page & Website Speed Optimization?
How to Test & Improve Your Website
Fast, faster, fastest……! In today’s age of technology and instant updates if you aren’t fast then you may as well be last! But just how fast do you have to be?
Well, let’s face it, you won’t be faster than Google. But do you have to be? Unless you are the Goog’s direct competitor, the answer is no, when it comes to page speed you only have to be faster than your direct online competitors. So how do you do this?
Below we will cover tools to measure page speed, review common errors that surface and how to fix them, and discuss vacation rental industry averages for page speed as measured by Blizzard in a small scale case study.
Website Speed Optimization Tools for Testing
WARNING: Tools are a wonderful thing when it comes to working on the web. But take the results with a grain of salt, as they don’t give the full picture. None of them are perfect or work the same way. They use different metrics and calculate effectiveness, speed, and performance differently.
Our advice? Find a few favorites and use them all to help you make the best decisions. Using more than one tools allows you to catch errors as well as presume averages when it comes to metric values.
Common Page Speed Errors & Where to Start
Blizzard executed a mini case study on a variety of vacation rental websites, all of which were built on various platforms that integrate with numerous property management systems. We found the following errors to be the most common amongst all sites tested:
- Leverage browser caching
- Optimize images
- Minimize redirects
Wait, what? What does that mean?
- Optimize images: This means you should compress all images larger than 1MB to their smallest possible form without losing quality and then upload for use on your site. Serving appropriately sized images can make a huge difference (but is usually only the first step).
- Minimize redirects: This means you should have as few 301 redirects in place as possible. Every redirect or daisy chain is another piece of data that must be read at load. Auditing active redirects regularly is a good best practice to get in the habit of.
Vacation Rental Industry Website Speed Insights
In our case study, we tested several vacation rental websites including our own WordPress + BRE combination and found the following industry insights. However, before you test your domain to see if you stack up, be sure to keep the following in mind:
- The vacation rental and travel industry at large will have larger page sizes than most sites because of how image heavy the content on travel-related websites can be. Travel is a visual industry and showing guests the experience while they shop is imperative, so we must do it well!
- You only have to be faster than your direct online competitors.
- The rules are always changing, though the amount of time your page spends loading will likely always be important especially in the age of speed. Keep in mind that as much as Google values page speed today it could be something else tomorrow. Be sure to find the balance amongst your resources to find how best to spend your time.
105 – 134
Average Number of Requests for Server to Load Page
1.9 – 2.2s
Average Time to First Byte
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