Performance: Start improving your website speed
By Sean Needham
Siteimprove Performance is a monitoring tool that allows users to schedule regular monitoring of web page load performance. It is offered as part of the Siteimprove platform.
By presenting clear, actionable data across different pages being monitored, Performance allows users to get a better understanding of how to improve their pages load performance, and ultimately deliver a better user experience for their visitors. For further information on why performance matters please refer to - What is performance and why does it matter?
This page is intended to teach you the basics, by helping you get started with:
- How do I add a page to Performance?
- What information can I see in the Performance Page Overview?
- Page Performance
- Measurements Results page
If you'd prefer to follow along with a webinar, or take a formal course in our academy, check out more ways to learn.
How do I add a page to Performance?
You can add a page to monitor with Performance at Performance > Add page.
When adding or editing a page, you will have the opportunity to configure the following monitoring criteria.
- Check Frequency: Siteimprove can check a page once, twice, or up to four times each day.
- Visitor Profiles: A Visitor Profile represents a combination of the selected checking location, device, and network conditions to simulate when testing.
- Credits: each account will be set with a preset amount of credits based on the package size purchased. Each visitor profile represents 100 credits, times the frequency selected when scheduling the monitoring for the given profile. If you remove a visitor profile or a page completely, credits are reallocated to the account.
What information can I see in the Performance page overview?
An overview of the Pages being monitored can be viewed at Performance > Page Overview.
This shows a general review of all pages being monitored as well as insights on the performance of those pages. The score is an average of the results from the different visitor profiles configured for a specific page and parameters being checked.
Under the actions column, you have the option to edit or delete a page being monitored. You can make edits, such as adding or removing parameters, frequency of checks, and locations.
If you delete a page, credits are reallocated to your account.
- When adding new pages to your website, add more frequency, locations, and service simulation types to yield the best results.
- Focus on pages that have the biggest impact on your business such as product pages, landing pages, campaign content, and popular pages.
- Start broad and then as you get more results and make improvements, taper back to critical and new pages.
- Use Performance during a website redesign to ensure optimal performance on the new site.
- Add to pages in which you have 3rd party applications.
- Adding frequency initially will also help to understand how different times of the day impact performance.
The Page Performance section provides an overview of how a specific page is performing. It shows the performance over time and across the different regions being tested. Page Performance gives an overview of the monitoring profiles running for a specific page. It allows you to see which user types are being served well, and which user types may experience a lower quality of service.
The metrics gathered are presented in multiple ways under the following tabs:
- Status: Provides you with key metrics and overviews that show how the page is performing across to the most recent page checks.
- Progress: Tracks the progress of each metric over time for the page. You can select a time span at the top of this section.
- Map: Provides a visual overview of how the page performs across the monitoring regions configured. After selecting a region on the map, you are presented with a granular view of check results in that region.
- List: Provides a list view of all checks and the results for the page. Results are shown both in specific metrics (further explained below) as well as a corresponding performance score.
Note: A red exclamation mark instead of a score for a given region indicates that there is currently an issue with checking your page from this region. There can be many possible reasons for this, which are explored in greater detail in our article "Why do some Performance measurements fail?".
Within each specific check, we also provide results of the three measurements that have the biggest impact on user experience:
- First Content: this specifically captures the time from navigation to when the browser renders the first bit of content.
- Meaningful Content: the time it takes for a page’s primary content to appear on the screen.
- Interactive: the time it takes a page to become interactive and ready to receive user input without any perceivable delay.
At the bottom of the Page Performance page, you are given a list of suggested improvements persistent across all the performance checks scheduled for the page.
No matter what the end-user conditions being simulated (network speed, device, location, etc.) these opportunities exist and are a good place to start improving performance.
Clicking a specific suggested improvement will take you to a description of the issue and advise on how to solve it. You are also presented with the associated checks that identified this suggested improvement.
Measurement Results page
You can reach a measurement result page by clicking on the “Go To Results” button on the Page Performance. Here we present the following information:
The profile details of the simulated visitor parameters used for this particular instance of the page being measured.
This visual timeline breaks down the loading experience into individual frames and simulates a user's experience as the page loads as well as key statistics such as the First Contentful Paint, First Meaningful Paint and Time to Interact. This also provides the corresponding performance score for that page. Along the bottom of the graph is a color-coded graph that provides a visual representation of time limits you should aim to provide the best user experience.
Asset Location Map
This location map provides a visual representation of where your page assets are physically stored and the distance traveled to help render a page. The page response time is affected by the number of asset locations and the distance traveled by assets. By adding the visual element, we help you see how asset distance impacts the loading experience and pinpoints your biggest performance gaps-in other words, how users of your site will experience your site.
A playback viewport to the left of the asset map plays back the experience served to the simulated user in real-time, allowing you to see how the geo-locations of each asset can affect the end experience.
Network details show you each asset by location and provide critical information such as the size of assets, type duration it takes to load and IP address it is sent from. This table is sortable by type allowing you to see where assets are fetched from. This can help you determine how you can bring assets closer to users and thereby improving performance.
This provides the total size of your download files and the number of requests that have been made while loading the page. Bigger file sizes and more requests may slow down your page load times. This gives a user-friendly way to view your page in terms of content type and weight of each element. You can see what file types your page consists of which may offer insight into which items have the biggest potential for optimization.
Pages are evaluated on 22 different performance categories that are based on Google Lighthouse metrics as well as other industry best practices. Results from this section are unique to the page parameters used in the visitor profile for this page.
Each suggestion provides a user difficulty level (1-4) and Role type (i.e. Editor, Developer) and is sorted by level of impact on the page, from most to least. Dropdown filters are conveniently located at the top of the section to enable users to sort by difficulty and role.
By clicking on the “Read More” button in each suggestion, you will get a more in-depth overview of the issue including details about the issue type and recommendations on how to resolve the issue. Additionally, we provide a link to resources that will address the issue detected which are shareable for team delegation and collaboration on tasks.
To find out more about performance check the Performance article and FAQs.