How to analyze website performance

You can’t improve what you don’t measure.

Leverage the right tools to monitor website performance

A decent website performance and analytics tool will provide diagnostic information about how your website performs under a variety of conditions. The most effective tools, however, go a step further by conducting tests from different global locations, on real browsers, over any number of customized network conditions.  

Trusted by industry titans to validate their own telemetry, Catchpoint WebPageTest has earned its reputation as the gold standard to test website performance thanks to its incredibly accurate synthetic browser testing methods.

WebPageTest by Catchpoint

Focus on the metrics that matter  

When a user navigates to a webpage, they’re typically looking for visual feedback to reassure them that everything is going to work as expected. Metrics such as Time to First Byte, First Paint, First Contentful Paint, and Total Blocking Time – they’re the crucial user-centric performance metrics that you want to measure. They make up the core of your performance summary when you run a test on WebPageTest.

Website performance metrics dashboard in WebPageTest

Core Web Vitals

Core Web Vitals were introduced by Google in 2020. They are a set of metrics used to measure user experience on websites, including loading time, interactivity, and the stability of content as it loads. Google uses Core Web Vitals as part of their search ranking algorithm. Websites that perform well on these metrics can potentially see a boost in their search rankings.  

  1. Largest Contentful Paint
    The Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) indicates the loading time of the most substantial chunk of data, whether it's an image or text, within the visible screen area. Unfortunately, LCP presents the greatest challenge for developers, with only about 57% achieving the desired load time of 2.5 seconds or less.
  1. Cumulative Layout Shift
    The Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) evaluates the stability of a webpage. It's closely related to user experience as it quantifies unexpected movements of content on a page. This can often be due to various performance issues, such as slowly loading elements that abruptly pop up within the visible area of the page, causing other content to move.
  2. First Input Delay
    First Input Delay (FID) gauges the time between a user's interaction, like clicking a link, and the browser's response. However, recent research on performance and user experience has shown that 90% of a user's time on a site occurs post-initial load. As a result, Interaction to Next Paint (INP) was introduced as a more suitable metric for addressing interactivity bottlenecks and is expected to replace FID. Ultimately, subpar interactivity, characterized by an inability to engage with content, often results in a poor user experience.

Our Core Web Vitals dashboard allows you to view these key metrics at a glance so you can easily identify areas for improvement and optimize your website’s performance accordingly.  

Core Web Vitals dashboard in WebPageTest

To check your website’s performance, run a WebPageTest for free.  

While being able to identify performance issues is crucial, resolving them and maintaining fast website speeds is a different challenge altogether. In the next section, we’ll explore best practices for improving website performance and ensuring that your web applications continue to deliver optimal speeds.

What's Next?