Home > The importance of Site and Page Speed and measuring them

The importance of Site and Page Speed and measuring them

Are you confused about why the traffic for your online business isn’t the best, even after you’ve followed all the usual advice? There’s all that engaging social media content, regular blogs and you’ve created a professional-looking website yet still your conversions are suffering?

Slow loading times could be the answer. 

Google’s industry benchmarks suggest that a one-second delay is all it takes for a visitor to your site to give up and try elsewhere. One second?!

Luckily, there’s a lot you can do to optimise the speed of a website, starting with measuring it so you know what you’re dealing with. 

We’re going to explain what site and page speed are, why they’re  vitally important and the things that could be affecting yours. We’ll also show you how to test your speeds and highlight the performance metrics you should be paying attention to. 

What is Site Speed and what is Page Speed?

Though some people use the terms interchangeably, page speed is not the same as site speed. Page speed is the loading of an individual page, site speed is the average of several sample pages on a website. Some pages, especially ones that are mostly text, should load significantly faster than other pages. There are ways to optimise speed on these pages and ensure they’re not loading irrelevant code and resources…

Site Speed and its importance 

The average time your website takes to load in a user’s browser is referred to as site speed or ‘performance’ and it can have an impact on several factors of your website and your business as a whole. 

Waiting more than a couple of seconds for a website to load can be a frustrating experience for a user, which could cause them to abandon your site in search of a competitor. 

In turn, this affects your conversion and bounce rates. 

The conversion rate tells you how many visitors to your site have completed the desired task, such as purchasing a product or contacting you through your enquiry form. 

The bounce rate shows the number of site visitors who only view one page before leaving. A high bounce rate might suggest an issue with the performance of your website. 

In the long term, these factors could have an effect on your Search Engine Optimisation (aka SEO) which will knock on to your rankings on Google and other search engines. Load speed is a ranking factor for both desktop and mobile searches in Google, so your rankings can slip if your site takes more than a second or two to load. 

Factors that affect speed

There are several things that could be making your website sluggish. The first is page weight, which is the collective size of all the files on your site, including its HTML, JavaScript, photos, images, videos and more. 

High-quality images can be impressive aesthetically but require proper optimisation in order to prevent dragging down your site’s loading times.  A good website will optimise your images so that only the right sizes are loading.

Another potential cause of a slow website is the condition of the internet connection, though this tends to be out of your control, as they can depend on the device or Internet Service Provider that visitors use to view your website. It is worth bearing in mind if you’re specifically targeting a rural area with poor mobile signal.

The proximity of your host’s servers to the user can impact performance due to latency; a large physical distance between the two can contribute to your site being slower in responding to a user. 

Talk to your provider about where their servers are located and, if you’re targeting the UK ensure that they are hosted locally. 

Important performance metrics 

When measuring your speed it’s beneficial to know which metrics you should be focussing on. 

These include: 

Time to First Byte (TTFB): The length of time taken to receive the first byte of site data from a server. 

Load Time: The time taken for the whole page to load. 

Round Trip Time (RTT): The duration from a browser sending a request to when it receives a response. 

Page Size: How large the page is. 

The metrics results will vary from one tool to another, as each speed test uses different measures. 

Largest Contentful Paint measures the time taken for a website to show a user a complete and interaction-ready version of the largest content on the screen. LCP is one of the three Core Web Vitals used by Google’s PageSpeed Insights and differs from First Contentful Paint, which calculates the time taken for the browser to render the first bit of content from the Document Object Model (DOM). 

FCP shows the user that something is happening, whereas LCP is the point at which the page becomes useful. 

First Input Delay assesses the time from a user first interacting with your site to the time when it is able to respond to that interaction. Even if your LCP is relatively fast, if a user isn’t able to interact with your site in a timely way they will likely become impatient. 

Measuring your website’s speed

There are several speed test tools available so you might want to consider using multiple in order to gain a full perspective of your site’s performance. We’re going to look at two popular options used for measuring website speed. 

Google PageSpeed Insights 

Google PageSpeed Insights is simple to use and provides suggestions for site improvement after analysing it. You receive an overall score as well as field data, collected from users’ actual loading experiences, and lab data, generated in a controlled environment. 

Results are provided for your mobile site as default but you can also test the desktop version before reviewing the results and consulting the suggestions for improving your site performance. 


Pingdom is another option when measuring site speed, requiring users to enter their URL and select a server location from which to run the test. 

Similarly to PageSpeed Insights your site receives an overall score as well as some key metrics mentioned above, and advice on improving the speed of your website. 

Speed Matters

Your website load speed is your only chance to make a great first impression and encourage people to continue on your site. If it’s too slow it will hamper user experience resulting in higher bounce rates. 

We’ve shown you how aspects of your site affect speed, and in turn, your business potential. Using a speed test tool such as PageSpeed Insights or Pingdom will provide you with key metrics and useful suggestions for improvement.