Despite Jeremy Clarkson’s insistence of “Power!” those of us making websites can’t count on users having the latest and greatest hardware. Mobile browsing is also up over data connections that don’t measure up to the speeds of Google Fiber. So, we have to be the ones to check the speed limit on our websites.
If we can’t increase power, then we have to copy from The Martian and shed weight. Images, videos, and other multimedia are popular on websites, as are all manner of widgets that take up processing power, meaning the webpage renders more slowly. But we have to have some flash and style with our substance, so the trick then becomes knowing how much is too much.
Enter website speed tests. Many websites will gladly test the loading time of your site, as well as give a breakdown as to what’s causing the slowdown. A quick search turns up dozens, but make sure to go with a free one such as www.pingdom.com or www.uptrends.com.
The goal is to keep the load time down. If it takes more than five seconds to load a page, your readers may become impatient, particularly on a mobile device. Plus, you don’t want to eat too much into their data plans.