How to Track Page-Load Times with a Metrics Tool - dummies

How to Track Page-Load Times with a Metrics Tool

By Leslie Poston

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:


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


  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.