Website Usability and Performance Metric You Must Be Tracking and Why

Providing optimal experience to your customers and clients isn’t exactly rocket science, but it does involve constant attention, dedication and an effort to keep up with the changing times. While users tend to return to websites offering them a great experience without any delay, a slump in any one of the performance metrics could lead to prolonged frowns instead of seamless navigation. Performance metrics are the key to increasing customer retention and increasing conversion rates. Here are the key performance metrics you should be looking at and keeping an eye on.

1.Page Load
Importance: The page load time determines how quickly a page loads onto the browser window. This is measured by the time taken to fire the “window.onload” JavaScript event handler. The ideal load time for a web page should be up to five-six seconds at most.
Impact: The loading time can make or break the impression the user has of your website. Faster loading time leads to greater user satisfaction and retention, while slower pages drive away users and potential long-term clients.
Measures to consider: If your loading speed is more than few seconds, you should consider performance optimization techniques. Adopted by many, the practice of delaying the loading of elements, such as advertisements and third-party scripts, has become common. This delay occurs till the on-load event has executed, allowing the important content to load before loading any third-party scripts.

2.Server Time
Importance: When we talk about the Server Time, we are talking about the time it takes for the server to respond to the initial request. This metric is similar to Time to First Byte(TTFB), or the time span between the user’s initial HTTP request and the user receiving the first byte related to that request. Both measurements indicate the responsiveness of a web server. This metric appears to be highly correlated to where your site shows in search engine results.
Impact: Faster TTFB numbers yield higher search engine rankings. This metric therefore directly impacts your visibility and search-ability to the user.
Measures to be taken: In order to reduce server time, you might consider using a CDN, in order to maintain optimal proximity between the server and the user. Caching your site helps you deliver pages faster to returning visitors. Updating your plugins and ensuring that none of your links are broken is also an important factor you must consider. With Falcon, you are always kept up to date in this regard!

3.Render Time
Importance: Render time can be defined in more ways than one. A prominent benchmark to consider while measuring render time is the DOMContentLoaded event, which fires once the initial HTML document has been loaded and parsed. However, a more meaningful metric to observe is the time-to-first-paint, or TTFP. TTFP is basically how long users must wait until they can see something besides a blank web page.
Impact: Focusing on both, load time and render time can improve user experience along with your search rankings.
Measures to Consider: Comparing your page load times to your render times can provide important insights. Slow render times could be indicative of an issue with the JavaScript or CSS files in your render pipeline.

4.Speed Index
Importance: Google defines Speed Index as the average time at which visible parts of the web page are populated and displayed. Speed Index is measured in milliseconds and depends on the size of the view port. Rather than measuring when the user receives the first byte, Speed Index measures how fast the user receives view able content. Many web test Tools captures a video of the page as it loads. After this, the tools inspect each frame to see how much content has been loaded. Most commonly, the test analyses ten frames gathered each second. Since Speed Index is based on the percentage of the view port, you can compare sites across multiple devices.
Impact: The Speed Index metric is useful for measuring a user’s experience.
Measures to Consider: Optimizing content efficiency by compressing your data and optimizing your images and fonts is one way of increasing your speed index. In addition, you might also want to use progressive images, where the resolution of these images increases as they load, so that the user knows what to expect and does not lose patience.

5.Time to First Ad
Importance: Ads are a common source of revenue. Tracking the amount of time, it takes until the ad is first rendered to the user can help you measure this metric.
Impact: Ads taking a long time to show leave users with lesser time to look at them. This directly decreases revenue, due to reduced user engagement with the ad.
Measures to Consider: If ads aren’t rendering quickly enough, you must change the way they are prioritized in order to improve their performance.

6.Page Size/Bytes In
Importance: This metric refers to the number of kilobytes required to download an entire page’s content. Page sizes tend to increase over the years, which is a major problem for some users since larger web pages take longer to load over mobile networks.
Impact: Given that a large part of internet traffic comes from mobile phone users, and since 40 percent of these users give up on websites that take longer than few seconds to load, it is always a good idea to keep your pages as small as possible.
Measures to Consider: Browser caching, minimizing and combining CSS and JavaScript assets are some of the ways you can reduce your page size, not to mention the judicious usage of images.

7.Time to First Meaningful Paint
Importance: Although it helps to measure the amount of time it takes for a user to receive the first byte, displaying just a pixel isn’t helpful. Time to First Meaningful Paint provides additional detail by indicating how long it takes for a user to receive a meaningful image.
Impact: The first image which loads on the landing page has a crucial role in creating a favorable first impression. This plays a crucial role in attracting consumers to your content.
Measures to Consider: What images are meaningful are decided by you, and you can use custom timings to measure and eventually improve the performance of these images.

8.Time to Interact
Importance: Even before web pages finish loading, users typically start scrolling and clicking.
Impact: Picking out which points and the time after which the users start engaging can provide further insight into the user experience. This goes a long way in retaining and expanding your customer base.
Measures to Consider: Reducing this time is done by adding specific JavaScript events and handlers. You might also want to remove those elements on your web pages which are generally ignored by your users.

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