Historically, Fingo relied on Google Pagespeed Insights as its go-to tool for testing a website’s speed and wider technical performance but due to the results giving inconsistent scores and sometimes vague recommendations we migrated to GTmetrix. As an independent agency, we are committed to using the best tools available and find GTmetrix provides more consistent and precise recommendations on how to fix potential pitfalls for our client websites.
The initial response: an impressive and useful tool that most likely has a place to stay in the world of development and SEO. We’ve highlighted some of the features that we found to be the most useful.
GTmetrix allows us to run two separate tests, providing solutions to existing issues but also highlighting potential issues that may arise. Both tests serve the same purpose: help the user improve their site by the site size, speeding up load time and ultimately, improving the site score.
YSlow: The YSlow test is instead focused on the ‘back end’ of the site. This is mainly related to networking e.g. the volume of HTTP requests, 404 errors etc.
When testing a site, we are able to select the location of the server running the rest. This allows us to ensure the tests that are being run are relevant to the potential site visitors. Hypothetically, results from a California-based test run on a website for a London-based restaurant would provide irrelevant results. GTmetrix currently provide users with 7 key locations: Vancouver, Dallas, London, São Paulo, Hong Kong, Mumbai and Sydney.
Following from the tests that GTmetrix allows, we can now run them consecutively every hour, day, week or month with the results being available for download. Being able to choose more specific times means that we can offer our clients an insight into site performance during specific hours i.e during periods of heavy traffic.
Having this information will allow us to more efficiently identify and address which particular requests are causing a bottleneck and therefore hampering overall performance.
More details available on the Waterfall chart can be found here.
Their video reports document the loading of the site in real time on a separate machine. It can help us visualise any issues that may not have been considered before. An example of this could be a background video hindering page load time. In addition to the video report, results can be exported in the form of PDFs with in-depth recommendations and desired resolutions. As well as being useful from an agency perspective. We find being able to visualise and demonstrate the pitfalls of a website directly to a client far more useful than trying to verbalise the issues.
The statistical breakdown GTmetrix offers its users is a chance to examine comparable metrics and view improvements from the implemented changes. Having this empirical evident of improvement will provide a reassurance to our clients that we are on the right track with our optimisation strategy.
Not forgetting the human factor!
Tools such as Pagespeed Insights and GTmetrix offer a great deal in terms of information and insight but they can only take the user so far; they are by no means a substitute for expertise. When utilised efficiently and effectively, they are a powerful tool in the digital marketer’s arsenal. Fingo are always on the lookout for the best tools and innovations to provide our clients with the most valuable insights to feed any performance strategy - GTmetrix is one such tool.
If you’d like to discuss how fingo could help you with the ongoing performance of your websiteplease get in touch via our enquiry form or give us a call on 01372 749 200.