Do you know how fast your site loads on a mobile device? Mobile use surpassed desktop use years ago, but all too often websites are still being built desktop first and mobile second. In fact, failing to run a mobile page speed test is the number 1 speed testing mistake we see our users make!
If you’re unsure of how your website performs on a mobile device (or even got a poor result on a speed audit), stick with us. We’ll show you how to run a mobile page speed test with MachMetrics.com, and how to make improvements based on your results.
A blazing-fast mobile site can set your blog, business site, or portfolio up for success in a huge way. Lower bounce rates, more sales, longer session duration. All of these things can be achieved with a faster mobile speed.
In addition, Google has made it clear that page speed is being used as a ranking factor. If your pages’ mobile speed outperforms your competitors, that is a huge advantage for your brand.
Measure Your Mobile Performance
When you log into your MachMetrics dashboard and set up a new URL to monitor, you’ll see the many options you have for your tests.
The areas highlighted in red are what we need to focus on in this instance. You’ll notice that in addition to testing for mobile page speed, you can select the connection you’d like to test as well. This is because we use Chrome’s mobile emulation tool to test your site, allowing us to test connection speeds that we might not otherwise have access to.
We encourage you to test your site out on slower connection speeds as well! Even Dial-up, if you truly want to be humbled.
The point is there are tons of visitors who are going to come to your site who won’t be on an ultra-fast connection. Do you want to alienate everyone who comes to you on anything less than 4G LTE? Of course not. That is why we need to test our performance at those speeds.
Improving Your Mobile Performance
If you ran the above test and aren’t happy with the results, now what?
For the most part, optimizing for mobile users is similar to optimizing for desktop users. The following are good steps to take, regardless of your focus. However, some take on extra importance on a mobile device.
Optimize your images (or reduce the number of images)
Images are the main reason that the weight of the web as a whole has steadily climbed, and the effects of that are compounded on mobile devices.
As we mentioned, a visitor may come to you on a 3G connection, or from a location with a spotty connection. Your huge, unoptimized images are going to take ages to load in that scenario.
I take that back. They won’t load. Because the visitor will leave long before that happens.
Ask yourself what that image adds to your site. If it’s important, make sure it’s sized properly and compressed. If you can remove it without taking away from the site, even better.
While you’re at it, lazy load all of your images that are below the fold!
Reduce the number of resources
Lowering the number of plugins and 3rd party scripts is another way we can lower the overall weight of our site. In general, the fewer things our site has to load onto the visitor’s device, the faster it’s going to load.
You can also utilize our ‘Resources’ tab in the MachMetrics dashboard to find resources that are extra-large or are causing a bottleneck in the loading process.
Host your site with a reputable company
Too many fall into the trap of simply buying hosting from the company that offers the cheapest possible plan. While you don’t need to spend a fortune to host your brochure site or blog, it’s important to do your research and select a reliable hosting company.
This will also typically improve your Time to First Byte (TTFB) time. This is the time it takes for the server to begin sending your site once it’s been requested.
Nail your mobile site design
Google recommends Responsive Web Design because it’s the easiest design pattern to implement and maintain.Google Devs
Did you design your website with desktop in mind first (or only thought about the desktop version)? You’ll need to go back through the design process with a mobile-first mindset.
This has a lot more to do with user-perceived speed than actual load times, but it’s equally important. If your site isn’t mobile responsive, users are going to have to pinch and zoom in to look around your site. This is a terrible user experience and lengthens the time it takes to do anything on your site. Definitely not ideal.
Test Your Mobile Speed!
By now, you should have a good grasp of how important it is to take mobile page speed into account when optimizing your site. It may be even more important than desktop optimization. Luckily, many of the steps you’ll take to optimize one will also improve the other.
For the ultimate test, see how quickly your site loads on a 3G (or slower) connection. It may surprise you how long it takes to load.
By implementing the above steps, however, you’ll be able to shave several seconds off of your unoptimized site. You’ll enjoy higher rankings from Google and better SEO scores.
More importantly, you’ll have just improved the experience for each and every visitor who comes to your site. A happier visitor directly leads to better retention, more engagement, and ultimately, more visitors! Truly a win-win.