Websites live and die by their speeds. The speed that it takes a page to load is the single most important factor for the user’s experience and most will simply give up on it and move on if it hasn’t loaded in a few seconds. This means fewer visitors to the site, lower conversion rates, and less revenue. Fast-loading sites, on the other hand, have satisfied users, higher conversion rates, more time spent on their pages, and higher revenue.
This is why it’s so important to have a good performance analyzer to check loading speed, as well as other issues of performance, accessibility, best practices, SEO, and catch any basic problems with the website. Google’s Lighthouse does all this quickly and efficiently. Lighthouse is an open-source tool for web page developers that is part of Chrome DevTools. Lighthouse audits a site and reports back with highlights of problematic scripts or content that could cause issues with the performance and experience for the user.
Why It’s Better
Earlier versions of Lighthouse focused on performance metrics but the newer ones have expanded to include best practices, tips on performance and accessibility, and SEO. Rather than just focusing on scripts, it audits a page or the entire site for all issues that could impede the user experience.
It’s easy to use so you don’t have to be a coder to figure it out. Scores are easy to understand. The Performance score is based on speed test results as compared to other sites on the internet, that is, how yours fits in, e.g. your site is loading faster than 75% of other sites. The other important metrics are:
First Contentful Paint―when first content begins rendering
First Meaningful Paint―when primary content paints
Speed Index―how fast contents are visibly populated
First CPU Idle―when main thread can receive input
Time to Interactive―when the user can interact with the page
Estimated Input Latency―how long it takes for the app to respond to user input
More Than Speed Tests
The SEO feature looks for how well your site ranks in search engines by looking at ease of mobile use, it’s ability to be crawled by search engine bots, and the usage of tags, titles, and meta descriptions. Improving score here means your site will climb in search engine rankings.
The Accessibility audit determines how well users with disabilities can access the site. It looks at things like how well the content can be described by readers for visually impaired users, whether buttons and links have discernable names, and whether there is enough color contrast for easy viewing.
Requirements for Lighthouse: The domain must be able to be reached in a Chrome browser and will require web developer file changes depending on feedback from the analysis.
Running a website through Google’s Lighthouse gives a thorough analysis of how a site performs on mobile devices or desktops and catches basic issues with a site that could potentially drive users away. Using Lighthouse to improve websites performances and rankings will drive revenue upwards.