Speedy Sites

Website optimization is a big deal. But, how do you know what to fix to improve your site’s performance? The answer can be found with Pingdom: http://tools.pingdom.com.

Pingdom is a free web service that offers extremely valuable information on ways to speed up your site in order to get better loading results. The process is as simple as it could be, just enter your site’s url and click on, “Test Now.” Just wait a few seconds and you can see your site’s overall score, the amount of requests it’s making, load time in seconds, and your page weight. I find the overall score the most addictive feature of the site.

The service doesn’t just stop there though. It breaks it down in much more meaningful detail that allows you to make accurate adjustments to your site. Your results are opened in a tab called, “Waterfall.” This feature breaks down the requests that your site is making and shows the amount of time for each individual piece that is loading on your site. This is very valuable because this allows you to target any request that are extremely large, and allows you to focus on just optimizing that element. Also, if you happen to need more information about a specific element just click on the drop down arrow right beside the page element. Then boom, probably more information than you can handle about that one element. At least I find that to be the case for me.

The next tab is the, “Performance Grade.” This part of the service is very visual and it breaks your site’s grade down into a few major categories and displays a score on a slider. The performance grade section is setup in an awesome way for you to further target larger general portions of your site to help boost performance. If you are looking for more information about a certain category, once again just click the drop down arrow. The amount of information that Pingdom pulls on your site and divides it up is truly impressive, and in many of my cases have found extremely accurate. If you run across a section that you don’t quite understand how to fix, just Google that bad boy. In my experience I have been able to find tons of relevant information that points you in the right direction.

The, “Page Analysis” tab is extremely useful as well. I have found this tab to be very helpful when it comes from migrating a development site to going live. This is because in this section you can see all of the domains that your page is using. It makes it really easy to visualize if you have any outlining files from your development site being used in your migrated live site. This tab has proven to be an amazing time saver in my experience.

Pingdom’s last tab they provide is a, “History.” This tab is pretty self explanatory, but the way that it is setup is very visual and helpful for any optimization process. This section is setup using graphs comparing all sorts of valuable information. The information in here is great at making sure that you are still moving in the right direction with your site optimization.

Pingdom also offers a paid service, which I have never used. But, have also really never had a true need for it. The paid service offers to automatically run this report up to every minute if you want. I haven’t quite ran across the need for that in any projects that I have run across. However, I am sure that it is extremely relevant and useful for someone.

Anyway the basic gist is, if you are looking to optimize your site I would recommend starting with Pingdom to get you moving in the right direction.

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