When visiting a website, how long would you wait for it to load?

On average, more than 50% of people will chose to leave a website that takes longer than 3 seconds to load. Going by this alone, if your website takes more than 3 seconds to load you are potentially losing half of your customers.

Not only is it a better user experience when having a fast website, it is now known to be a ranking factor by Google. Meaning if you had 2 websites with identical content but one has a 1 second page load and the other has a 5 second page load, Google is more likely to rank the faster website.

The page load time recommended by Google is anything under 2 seconds, some may consider 2 seconds relatively fast but Google themselves have announced that they aim for under half a second for their web pages.

Analysing page speed

The usual way of calculating a website page load time is the time it takes for the content appear once you’ve landed on a webpage. However, its actually a little more complicated because of two reasons:

Web pages don’t load all at once – They load assets (images, fonts, videos etc) piece by piece

Website speed varies depending on lots of factors – internet speed, location, browser type

A more detailed approach for calculating webpage speed is to look at 2 factors: First Contentful Paint and DOMContent Loaded

First Contentful Paint (FCP)

First Contentful Paint measures the time of navigation to the page to the time the browser renders the first piece of content from the DOM. This is regarded as being one of the most important milestones for users when loading a website because it provides visual feedback that the page is actually loading.

DOMContent Loaded

DOMContent loaded is an event which is fired on the web browser when the webpage or HTML document have been completely loaded and parsed.