The trouble with automation<br>(and PageSpeed Insights)

The trouble with automation
(and PageSpeed Insights)

Automation is great and has brought us many things. The automated assembly line brought us the car, the computer, the smartphone. Automated fire alarms have saved countless lives. The automated washing machine freed up so many hours in a week that we can all now languish on the sofa every Sunday with Game of Thrones and still go to work on Monday in clean underpants.

The distracting 'single number'...

What isn't always so great, though, is automated website analytics purporting to be able to rate all the hard work you did getting your store online as just a single number: The coarse application of pre-determined 'rules for websites', as though all sites are exactly the same, is remarkably similar to a clothing manufacturer only producing one size of clothes for every human, child to adult.

And using the word 'speed' in the name of your automated tool when it doesn't even measure or grade the speed of your website is questionable to say the least.

What's particularly problematic about PageSpeed Insights is how much it dislikes platform based solutions like Shopify. Most of its requirements could only ever be satisfied by a completely custom built website, which would have to be specifically engineered to satisfy the requirements of the PageSpeed report, rather than delivering any actual benefit to the user of your website.

Can tools help? Of course! Can they do the job for you? Well no, but if you choose the right tool, you might just get yourself a tiny bit closer.

Here are some really great free tools you can use to evaluate your website's performance:

Please note these are links to external resources, we are not liable for any content and you may be presented with third party advertising. At the time of writing, they are all completely free.

  • http://tools.pingdom.com
    Accurately measure the performance of your store in terms of how it stacks up against other websites
  • http://peek.usertesting.com/
    Get actual human feedback FOR FREE!
  • https://website.grader.com (email NOT required)
    Remarkably similar metrics to PageSpeed Insights, but giving appropriate weight relevant to the true performance of your website according to the visitors experience.
  • http://nibbler.silktide.com/
    Such a broad view! Get a ranking from your website for the entirety of your online presence: From Accessibility to Social Integration, this report really gives you the whole picture!


Rob Taylor
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