Niche ecommerce merchants face challenges in competing with big box retailers. Providing an online shopping experience on a tight budget that is comparable to the larger sites (with huge budgets) can seem insurmountable.
A top priority for a niche merchant in improving the user experience is page load times. Fortunately, Google Analytics has a reporting suite on load times, at “Behavior > Site Speed” in the left-hand menu.
Look for page load time reports under “Behavior > Site Speed” in the left-hand menu. Click image to enlarge.
The Overview report will provide an overall page load time, followed by several other timing metrics. Here are their abbreviated definitions, with my observations.
Avg. Page Load Time (sec).This shows the overall time it takes for the entire page to load. This is where you start. Your target should be under 3 seconds. 3 to 5 seconds is marginal. Over 5 seconds is cause for concern. Over 10 seconds is unacceptable.
Avg. Redirection Time (sec).If you have redirects on your site, such as 301 redirects, this value will be greater than 0. Any value greater than 0.5 seconds would be cause for concern.
Avg. Domain Lookup Time (sec).The amount of time spent in DNS lookup for the page is reported here. If your average is greater than 0.25 seconds, take action.
Avg. Server Connection Time (sec).This reports the amount of time the average user spent connecting to your server. Any time over 0.25 seconds is cause for concern.
Avg. Server Response Time (sec).This metric reports the average time to respond to a user request. Any time over 0.25 seconds should be investigated.
Avg. Page Download Time (sec).This shows the average time to download your page. A time over 2 seconds means there is opportunity for improvement.
The full definitions and details are at Google help documents , including a diagram of the page timing components.
The “Page Timings” report by Browser is helpful to begin your analysis. You can get to this report via the “View Full Report” link in the “Overview” report.
Get to the “Page Timings” report via the “View Full Report” link in the “Overview” report.
Select “Data” view and Secondary Dimension by “Device Category” to view a report similar to the one I will be commenting on.