With a horse with a google related name fighting for the triple crown this month, I wanted to write and explain the importance of site speed for your website and some easy tools you can use to make sure your site speed isn’t causing problems.  Just as the fastest horse wins the race in the triple crown, even though there are races of different distances and skills, site speed matters for things like organic rankings and quality score when dealing with Adwords advertising.

Google analytics provides a lot of helpful information about your site.  if you don’t have analytics on  your site, please go set it up by following the steps here. If you are trying to rank well in Google or have your ads perform well within the Google environment, it definitely can’t hurt to use the resources that Google has available to tell you how your site is performing.  Google is in the business of providing good relevant results to its customers, so if your site has issues like speed, they aren’t going to want to show it in paid ads or in organic listings.

Inside of analytics if you scroll down all of the options on the left side of the page, you can find a section called “Behavior”. Within the drop down menu there, you will see “Site Speed”, which gives you your average speed by page and even goes so far as to give you recommendations on how to speed up your site if you have any issues, under “Speed Suggestions”.  Much like the many things you can do in training a horse to be lightning fast, there are things you can do for your site.  Some of these things may be over your head, but if you have a good relationship with your developer, they can help you address any issues.  If you want to really dig in to what Google says about site speed you can go here.

Hosting Has Gotten Sketchy

Hosting can be a main problem with site speed. If you do have issues with site load times, regularly seeing average load time over 3 seconds.  (Many refer to the 2 second rule, but you really have an issue if you get up over 3 seconds), once looking at Google’s suggestions, you may want to do a little research on your host.  Because hosting isn’t regularly a large cost, many people don’t think twice about setting up hosting. It is just part of having a site. However, in recent months and years, some of the cheap low cost hosts have really overloaded themselves and are spreading themselves too thin by loading too many clients on their servers. If you do have a site speed issue, take a quick look at your specific host and see if there have been a lot of poor reviews in recent months.  Sometimes your developer has a good relationship with a host or is just used to using them and when a host starts to drop in speed, the developer may not even be aware of it.

Picking or Switching Hosts

Finding a good host is tough.  Even reputable sources that I use regularly for other things have their preferred hosts and many sites that show reviews give the highest review to the hosts that they have relationships. I would just recommend that you look at reviews when choosing your host.  Keep in mind that there are always a handful of people that had a bad experience and want to talk about that.  Look at the overall volume. In many cases the hosts offer several levels and it is typically worth the extra few bucks (often that is all it is) to get the upgraded service with a dedicated IP or more resources to be sure your site is fast.  Though site speed isn’t the only factor in picking a host (You want a host with good service and very little down time, etc.), speed is a huge factor that you don’t want to overlook.  Make sure you put some thought in to it because it isn’t a giant expense, but making the wrong choice can have a big impact on your search performance.