Website Speed has been integrated into Google's search engine algorithm some time ago as one of many ranking signals.
Many webmasters have started to optimize servers and page loading times after the announcement.
While it has been proven that faster page loading times has a positive effect on user interaction and sales, it is not clear how faster sites benefit from that in Google's search algorithm
Having optimized the page loading times of quite a few websites, I can say that the benefit is not as visible as many webmasters believe it to be.
Tools are needed to monitor page loading over time to measure and analyze the optimizations and changes made to the web code and hardware.
All have in common that they test the speed at a specific point in time only.
Website Load Tool on the other hand is a Windows program that monitors the page loading time of websites regularly. The initial interval is set to five seconds, which many webmasters may want to increase considering that the default setting will generate quite a few hits and some load otherwise.
The first thing that new users need to do after installing Website Load Tool is to click on the options button in the menu bar and in the context menu on the Settings link.
Here they can add multiple websites that they want monitored. A switch to the Generic tab displays options to change the monitoring interval in seconds, the use of a logfile and the maximum number of results.
In the example above I have added the three websites to test the loading performance over time.
A click on the Start button in the main interface starts the monitoring of the domains that have been added in the program settings.
The program displays a log in a left sidebar. Selecting a domain from the list displays all logged connection and retrieval attempts.
Success or failure are indicate with colored lights and a status message. The duration and downloaded bytes are displayed here as well.
It needs to be noted that the load time is faster than the load time in a web browser. This is due to the fact that the pages are not rendered. It also appears as if only the HTML document is retrieved from the website, not images and other elements posted on it.
This limits the use of the website monitoring tool somewhat, as it does not replicate the actual page loading times of visitors of the site. Still, it can make sense to run the tool in the system background to analyze the page loading time over days, weeks or months.
The developer has not integrated notifications or alerts which would make sense in a monitoring software.
Windows users can download the latest version of Website Load Tool from Codeplex. The program requires the Microsoft .NET Framework. The version that is required is unfortunately not listed on the page.Advertisement
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.