GTmetrix has a suite of features and options to make optimizing your website speed clear and easy. Speed is a critical element in a user’s experience of any website, and Google has suggested that load times may become a factor in page ranking. Nearly all of my articles focused on site performance, optimization, and SEO benefits feature the site… find out how it can benefit you.
GTmetrix and how it can help
The experience your user has in terms of navigating your site is one great reason to be concerned with your site performance. Users have many options when it comes to consuming content on the internet, and a slow performing website will frustrate your users, sending them elsewhere. A faster and more responsive website will keep them more engaged and focused on your content, rather than waiting for scripts and images to load. Another reason, some might argue one of the best reasons, is for SEO. Google has announced they are using page speed in their ranking algorithm. The implication of this is that a slower performing site will rank lower, and a faster performing site may rank higher in search engine results.
GTmetrix analyzes your page(s) and looks for ways that you can optimize them. It compares the page to performance metrics developed by Google and Yahoo and shows you the results in an easy to understand (and hopefully implement)_ fashion.
How do I use GTmetrix?
It’s simple really, just go to http://www.gtmetrix.com, put in the URL you want to analyze, and wait for your results. The site will return an A-F score (like in the image at the top of the page) along with page load time, total page size, and number of requests. Below that you’re shown a breakdown of your Google Pagespeed and Yahoo! YSlow results along with a timeline of the rendered page and it’s history.
In the break down of the Page Speed and YSlow sections GTmetrix shows individual things you can do to improve your site performance. Examples include high priority items like enabling gzip to serve compressed components, medium priority items like ensuring CSS and HTML are minified, and low priority like using cookie-free domains for images.
You can see in the image to the left that I could improve my YSlow score by ensuring that I am not scaling images in HTML. In other words, while this is a low priority item on the YSlow scale, if I wanted to improve it I could size my images explicitly in a graphic editor and use that in my pages instead of having, as an example, a 900 pixel wide image set to 550 pixels wide in my HTML.
As you make modifications over time you can, if you’ve created an account, monitor the things you’ve done with the GTmetrix history graph. You can even specify notes at certain points in time to know which optimizations you were doing at a given time.
GTmetrix and WordPress
If you use WordPress then GTmetrix is a perfect fit. One of WordPress’s most powerful benefits is the huge array of plugins available. However, these plugins can bring additional HTML, CSS, images, etc all of which can affect your sites performance.
First download and activate GTmetrix for WordPress, it will help nsure you have a snapshot prior to any performance changes. It will also add a new section to your admin panel showing your latest front page scores from GTmetrix.
plugin that actively keeps track of your WP install and sends you alerts if your site falls below certain criteria.
Run analyses, schedule reports on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, and receive alerts about the status of your site all from within your WordPress Admin
After you’ve received your results head over to the GTmetrix WordPress optimization guide and learn how to use W3 Total Cache to cache and minify your site, and how to use WP Smush.it to ensure that the image you upload are optimized and compressed.
For a single site owner or developer GTmetrix is free for up to five sites. They also offer PRO packages that can help any developer get the most speed out of their site by giving you more reports, API credits, and powerful branding exclusive only to PRO users.
Give it a try and see how well your site scores today at GTmetrix.