One crucial contributing factor to the overall success of your site — and one that is frequently overlooked — is its ability to perform well. After all, a beautiful site only goes so far if it’s not functional. Fortunately, there are a range of great tools available that can help you assess how well your site performs. These tools allow you to isolate particular weaknesses and show you where more work isneed, enabling you to boost your site’s performance. Here are our top picks for speed and performance tools no designer should go without.
Slow sites create unhappy users. Get your site speed and loading times up to snuff and you’re likely to see users spending more time with your content. To see how quickly your site loads and runs, try a simple site speed test with Meta CDN. You can also compare your site’s speed with that of your competitors.
Load Impact is a service that tests ecommerce and B2B sites. You can test online (no installation is required) and pay as you go for the services you use. It allows you to create different user scenarios to see how your site would perform in different parts of the world or for users with particular demands. You can have up to 100, 000 simulated users in a single test so you can learn how site performance is affected under different kinds traffic conditions.
This is a free performance-testing tool designed for webmasters conscientious of meeting users’ expectations. It emulates true to life browser behavior in order to bring you the data you need on site speed. You can also specify internet link parameters to see how your site performs across different kinds of connections, such as those with limited bandwidth.
Like Site-Perf, Neustar is all about protecting your customers’ experience. It tests your site from your users’ perspective. While traditional load testing is done inside the firewall, Neustar acknowledges that many applications are found externally (a move they explain in more detail here).
YSlow analyzes pages of your site based on Yahoo’s 23 rules for high performance web pages. It also suggests way to improve problem areas and summarizes page components.YSlow works across a variety of browsers.
Web Performance Today Cheat Sheet
While not an interactive tool, this cheat sheet is packed with great information about website performance. It covers everything form user expectations concerning web performance to mobile site speed. It’s also chalk full of useful statistics and studies to help your website analysis.
OctaGate Site Timer
OctaGate Site Timerlets you see how long it takes for a user to download one of your web pages. It breaks each web component (images, frames, script files, etc.) down in a bar graph that shows you how long each item takes to load, which is perfect for weeding out slow components.
While beautifully designed sites are important, ultimately, user experience will determine the success of your sites. Continually test your site to find problem areas you can improve upon. If you’re website isn’t up to par, users will quickly abandon it.