Don’t we all. And so does Google and we’ve talked about this before. Google has what’s called a PageSpeed score. Lots of data goes into this score, such as the actual load time of the page, First Contentful Paint (FCP – where you actually start seeing a page), etc. There are actually dozens and dozens of factors that go into having a fast website and over time, changes to the original site like adding new images and marketing tags can slow that down.
Therefore, everyone should keep up the maintenance of their site to keep it running smoothly, just like you would a car. And Google has lots of diagnostic tools that provide improvement recommendations. No matter if we’re building or improving a site, we do most of these things, but not all.
While most recommendations given by Google (or other testing tools) usually improve speed and overall user experience, sometimes this isn’t the case. We’ve even had instances where making a recommended change slowed down the site! That wasn’t much fun to explain to the poor client. So over time, we’ve learned what to implement and what to ignore.
For example, have you ever seen a site load, then all of a sudden have most or all of the fonts change? You may not even notice the font updates because it looks like the page just keeps loading and jumping around. Yeah, that’s because it’s not waiting for the font to load before displaying content—in order to get you your page that much sooner. We’ve made the decision (for now) that we’d rather have you wait 20 more milliseconds than see all the text on the screen jump around while you’re trying to read something.
Google’s PageSpeed score isn’t the be-all, end-all. It’s just really, really important. In the end, we have to choose what’s best for the users of your site and make that happen. Get that PageSpeed score into the green – don’t worry about getting all the way to 100. If you do, great! But 90 or better and you’re a winner in our book.