By Mikal E. Belicove|For Entrepreneur magazine|April 1, 2010
On the web, people have zero patience. Your link pops up in a Google search, someone clicks it, and the stopwatch immediately starts ticking. If your company’s website doesn’t pop up in two to three ticks, I can almost guarantee that before the fourth tick visitors will click the back button and try the next link down in the search results.
You can certainly use a stopwatch to time your site, but doing so is actually a bad idea. Your browser may store graphics and other items in its cache to decrease load times on subsequent visits, so a stopwatch may not provide an accurate indication of how long a page really takes to load for first-time visitors. Better tools are available.
My favorite is Pingdom Tools at tools.pingdom.com, where you type in the URL of the site or page you want to test and click the Test now button. Pingdom Tools tests the page and displays the total time required for it to appear on screen. Results also include a chart that displays the loading time for each object on the page, useful for identifying bandwidth hogs.
If your site seems slow, it’s important to assess what is slowing it down. Fortunately, a couple of other…