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How to Track Page-Load Times with a Metrics Tool

Using a metrics tool to track page-load times is critical to your website, because few things annoy website visitors more than a page that loads slowly. In general, you have only a few seconds to keep someone's attention — do you really want to waste that precious time with slow page loads and lose your visitor altogether?

You can track page load times with social media metrics in a variety of ways:

  • Google Analytics plug-ins. You can now configure the Google Analytics plug-ins to track page load times. You just have to add the line of code to your theme (if you're using WordPress or Drupal) or website.

  • Extensions and add-ons for Firefox and Chrome. These track page load times for you. Page Speed Test is one of many extensions for Chrome, and Firebug is a popular add-on with plenty of options for Firefox. You can find many more add-ons just by browsing the Chrome and Firefox archives for the one that's right for you.

  • Google's page speed API. This is by far the most effective way to track page load times. Here's how to use it:

    1. Add this line of code to the pages you want to track for load times:

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    2. Go into the new Google Analytics and flip the Site Speed Report to On.

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  1. By default, adding the code to your analytics measures site speed for pages across your entire site.

    You can go in and fine-tune where you put the code to track only your most critical pages, or you can leave it site-wide.

When measuring site speed, you want to pay particular attention to certain metrics:

  • Content. Seek out which landing pages for your marketing campaigns are slow to load, losing conversions.

  • Traffic source. Pinpoint which marketing campaigns have the fastest page load times and look at their conversion rates.

  • Visitor. Does the location of a visitor affect the page load time experience? This metric helps you discover whether the problem is your website, your web host, or the Internet service in a particular region or country.

  • Technology type. How does each browser or mobile platform experience load times on your site? Can you do anything to optimize for trouble spots?

Create a Site Speed Custom Report to help troubleshoot these issues. For example, if your target demographic is in a certain region and demographic that seems to be experiencing slow load times, you can run your report to get the data you need to fix the issue.

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