Singapore is an impatient nation.
So expect its citizens to be turned away by sites that load like a terrapin. According to Google, people generally give your site an average maximum of 2 seconds to load; failure of which, they’ll simply close it or load up another site in lieu.
In the same vein, Google aims for a max 3-second load time, their words.
So does it mean the under-three seconds’ load time is the cut and dry industry standard?
Well, the whole idea of loading speed is a fluid concept in itself. How your site loads are dependent on a number of variables. Among them are the browser in use, the internet speed of the user, and the specifications of the device in use.
But even with this, your site’s speed still matters — first for search engine optimisation (SEO) and second for conversion rate optimisation (CRO).
It all dates back to 2010 when Google decided to make site speed a ranking factor. In their rationalisation, faster sites could be generally interpreted to mean happy users. When visitors land on a site and find it responding in a sluggish manner, they immediately hit the back button or replace it with something else.
So basically, a faster website is for the most part about improving the online experience of users.
The whole idea of site speed only applied to desktop loading until early this year – January 2018, when Google decided to apply the same standards to mobile ranking as well.
About Conversion, different reports indicate that close to half of online visitors will immediately hit the exit button upon visiting a site and find it takes longer than three seconds to pop up.
How Is Loading Speed Measured?
Site speed is designed to give you a rough idea of how efficient your site gets to display its content on a browser. The fixed number matters, but there’s a huge difference between the objective data you’re fed and the real-world experiences users have while interacting with your website.
According to Google, load time is fluid. There isn’t a single point in time when one can confidently say their site is done loading. In another word, it’s an experience that can’t be captured by only one metric.
Users undergo several moments while loading up a site. These are the moments that determine how they view their loading experience, and whether or NOT it passes as fast enough. As a web owner, by focusing on only one of these experiences, you’re likely to miss on some other bad experiences that some of your users consider a turn-off.
To get this, imagine a scenario where you have two sites that take an almost similar amount of time to load, say, 3 seconds. The first site begins by loading up some images almost immediately and takes the rest of the three seconds to load up the remaining content. As for the second site, nothing loads until at the brink of the 3 seconds. Users find themselves staring at a blank page, wondering if the site is even working.
A typical website has so many web pages, each comprising so many elements. These elements load individually — NOT at once as many people like to assume.
The Average Load Time of Top-rated Websites in Singapore
This section of the article takes into account the average amount of time top-rated websites in Singapore take to fully load or until most of their functionalities and features can be fully seen or accessed through a web browser.
Otherwise referred to as Speed Index, this is the amount of time a site will take until all of its visible content is clearly displayed on a web browser. The lower your speed index, the faster your site loads.
To prepare the table, we had to start by picking a top-rated website in each industry by running a simple Google search. We then ran the site on Similarweb to come up with a list of at least 5 similar Singapore sites in each industry. That would then be followed by us checking the speed index of each site and recording the results, and afterwards averaging the numbers to arrive at the load speed and page size figures we have.
|Industry||Load Speed for at least random suites||Page Size||Singapore Average Loading Speed and Page Size|
|Automotive||1. i. Stcars.sg 3.49 secs
2. ii. Automart.sg 2.89 secs
3. iii. Oneshift.com 7.47 secs
4. iv. Sgcarmart.com 5.54 secs
5. v. Cars.mitula.sg 5.59 secs
6. vi. Quotz.com.sg 2.54 secs
= 4.59 Secs
Page size = 3.170 Mbs
|Business and Industrial Market||1. i. flywire.com/ 3.70 secs
2. ii. moneysmart.sg/ 1.70 secs
3. iii. site.tradehero.mobi/en 3.02 secs
4. iv. grapplemax.sg/ 9.38 secs
5. v. surfset.sg/ 6.97 secs
= 4.12 secs
|Page size 3.563 Mb|
|Classified and Local||1. i. Gumtree.sg 7.488 secs
2. ii. Singaporeclassifieds.net 2.504 secs
3. iii. Sgadsonline.com 5.123 secs
4. iv. thebestsingapore.com 12.417 secs
5. v. Singapore.locanto.sg 5.002 secs
|Page speed = 6.5068 secs|
Page size = 2.088 Mb
|Finance||1. i. dollarsandsense.sg 8.057 secs
2. ii. moneysmart.sg 4.563 secs
3. iii. seedly.sg 8.068 secs
4. iv. singsaver.com.sg 5.020 secs
5. v. 1investmentmoats.com 17.3355 secs
|Load time = 8.6087|
|Page size = 2.229 Mb|
|Media and Entertainment||1. i. www.todayonline.com 17.2575 secs
2. ii. sony.com.sg 4.208 secs
3. iii. ticketcube.com 3.087 secs
4. iv. Singapore.virtual-room.com 16. 014 secs
5. v. singaporebikes.com 14.831 secs
Load time = 11.0795 sec
|Page size = 2.666 Mb|
Average load time for all industries = 6.981 sec
Average page size for all industries = 2.3166 Mb
This section of the article looks at the industry standard of loading speed and page size by comparing different sites in each industry and finding their averages afterwards. The table should help you figure out the speed to start targeting if you’re planning to outrank some of the giants you’ll be competing with.
Keep in mind that these figures are only from the most top-rated sites within the industry. Of course, there will be an endless list of other poor-performing sites, but they’re NOT important, considering your plan should be to compete with the best sites the industry has to offer.
Overall, websites in Singapore have been found to have an overage load time of 6.981 secs. So if you can’t afford to hit the industry standard of 3 seconds, it’s important that you work to ensure that you don’t also fall below Singapore’s average score.
The Average Page Size
Simply put, the page size is the total weight of a web page’s content. Even though there’s a direct connection between page size and load time, it’s safe to assume that with other factors held constant, a lighter page will load faster.
While the average page size of different websites in different industries in Singapore is 2.3166 Mbs, the recommended standard on a global scale is 500 KB.
So until you’ve hit the standard mark of 500Kb, then there’ll always be room for improvement.
Resource count is simply the number of files a browse has to pull from the webserver to display your page. While page size focuses on the weight of this content, resource count is all about the number.
Usually, this number includes the HTML file, the CSS file, the image file, and a number of other files and scripts that the browser has to download straight from the server for your page to display.
The more the number of resources the slower the page will take to load up, considering each of these files has to send a request to the webserver to load.
|Industry||Resource count for different sites||Average Resource Count|
|Automotive||1. vii. Stcars.sg 157
2. viii. Automart.sg 90
3. ix. Oneshift.com 269
4. x. Sgcarmart.com 307
5. xi. Quotz.com.sg 87
|Business and Industrial Market||1. vi. flywire.com/ 124
2. vii. moneysmart.sg/ 68
3. viii. #/en 61
4. ix. grapplemax.sg/ 165
5. x. surfset.sg/ 302
|Classified and Local||1. i. Gumtree.sg 48
2. ii. Singaporeclassifieds.net 48
3. iii. Sgadsonline.com 37
4. iv. thebestsingapore.com 102
5. v. Singapore.locanto.sg 216
|Finance||1. i. dollarsandsense.sg 216
2. ii. moneysmart.sg 68
3. iii. seedly.sg 33
4. iv. singsaver.com.sg 128
5. v. investmentmoats.com 185
|Media and Entertainment||1. i. www.todayonline.com 212
2. ii. sony.com.sg 109
3. iii. ticketcube.com 25
4. iv. singapore.virtual-room.com 126
5. v. singaporebikes.com 122
Average resource count = 146
Even though the average resource count in Singapore is 146, it’s widely recommended that you keep the number below 50 to be on the safe side.
Average Server Delay
Your page loading time is one of the factors Google and other search engines use to rank your site. Another one is the Time to First Byte — commonly abbreviated as TTFB, this is the time it takes for a browser to receive the first byte of response after a request has been sent via a URL or web link.
Sites with a higher TTFB are generally ranked higher — of course, with other factors held constant.
Again we prepared a table comparing the TTFB of various sites in different industries to come up with industry averages that you could use to determine if your server needs some fixing or NOT.
|Industry||Resource count for different sites||Average Resource Count|
|Automotive||1. i. Stcars.sg 2.806 sec
2. ii. Automart.sg 0.869 sec
3. iii. Oneshift.com 3.689 sec
4. iv. Sgcarmart.com 4.984 sec
5. v. Quotz.com.sg 2.531 sec
|Business and Industrial Market||1. i. flywire.com/ 1.312 secs
2. ii. moneysmart.sg/ 1.997 secs
3. iii. site.tradehero.mobi/en 1.128 sec
4. iv. grapplemax.sg/ 2.642 sec
5. v. surfset.sg/ 2.732 sec
|Classified and Local||1. i. Gumtree.sg 1.23 secs
2. ii. Singaporeclassifieds.net 0.996 secs
3. iii. Sgadsonline.com 1.025 secs
4. iv. thebestsingapore.com 4.049 secs
5. v. Singapore.locanto.sg 1.107 secs
|Finance||1. i. dollarsandsense.sg 2.987 secs
2. ii. moneysmart.sg 1.884 secs
3. iii. seedly.sg 3.659 secs
4. iv. singsaver.com.sg 2.085 secs
5. v. investmentmoats.com 0.9165 secs
|Media and Entertainment||1. i. www.todayonline.com 0.981 secs
2. ii. sony.com.sg 0.6883 secs
3. iii. ticketcube.com 0.224 secs
4. iv. singapore.virtual-room.com 1.854 secs
5. v. singaporebikes.com 2.890 secs
Average server delay time = 2.0507 sec
The average server delay time for different websites in Singapore is 2.0507 sec. But the recommended industry standard is under 1.3 seconds.
Testing Your Site for load time, page size, resource count, and server delay
Now that you know what you’re up against, and the recommended standards, how do you determine your own load time, page size, resource count, and TTFB?
Simple – there are tools that you can use to measure all these elements. The tools include:
WebPage Test measures real-time site performance. The results displayed are collected from some of the common web browsers you know running on common operating systems.
With this tool, you can measure the load time of your site, page size, and TTFB to name a few.
Pingdom measures almost the same thing as the webpage test, except that only little is known about how they arrive at these figures.
GTMetrix has a lot of valuable insights on how best you can optimise your site for speed.
Read this bearing in mind that any of the three tools are fit to provide the stats you need. All you’re required to do is enter your site’s URL and give the site a few seconds to run the test and get back to you with the numbers.
It’s advisable to develop a practice of checking your site’s SEO stats from time to time. The internet is constantly evolving and so is your site and its host.
If you lack the time to run the test, then you might want to consider using the tools that run automatic testing on a regular basis to send you scheduled reports and results.
Machmetrics is a professionally recognised side speed measuring tool. The platform can run scheduled tests for the URL you provided, and from various locations and different devices to provide you a detailed report of the results getting on a regular basis. This could be daily, weekly, bi-monthly or monthly, depending on your preference.
Speed Curve is designed to closely monitor the front-end performance of your website and send you regular results with regards to load time, server delays, and page size to name a few.
An alternative would be to consult an online marketing agency such as MediaOne for a detailed analysis and report, coupled with insights on how best you can improve on the various elements, for better site performance. What makes this option even better is the fact that you’ll be guided on what to do instead of just pinpointing where the issue could be.
Always Strive for Better Results than the Industry Averages and standards
Your goal isn’t just to hit the industry standard and relax. But to aim for even better results.
You want to come on top of your competitors, then don’t aim to beat them, but to beat the market standard set by Google and the industry at large. For site load time, aim for a figure less than 3 and you’ll be safe instead of sticking around the industry average.
While your site speed may seem like a trivial matter, different reports indicate that a one-second delay in the load time of your site could cost you up to a 7% fall in your conversion rate, a 16% fall in customer satisfaction, and up to 11% reduction in page views.
Does Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) Help?
Understanding Google PageSpeed Insight Tool to Improve Page Loading Speeds
As the world becomes competitive, the levels of impatience have sharply increased. For this reason, you can expect that slow loading websites are a turn-off for internet users who have the benefit of choice.
Statistics from Google show that the average internet user expects a site to load in a maximum of 2 seconds. If it takes longer, they will simply close it and visit your competitors’ site. Moreover, Google recommends that a website load time be a maximum of 3 seconds.
Website Loading Speeds
The time it takes your website to load is dependent on a variety of factors including the user’s browser, internet connection, and the specifications of the device in use. However, your website’s speed matters, for conversation rate optimization (CRO) and search engine optimization (SEO).
Website loading speed became one of Google’s ranking factors in 2010. This came about after the realization of the fact that faster loading websites equate to a better user experience. A sluggish and slow-loading website forces the user to go back and pick another site.
For this reason, having a fast-loading website greatly helps improve the user experience, reduce bounce rates, and increase conversions. For a long time, the site speed was only applicable to desktop versions, but it has become a necessary factor since Google is now applying the same standards for mobile ranking since January 2018.
For conversion, several reports indicate that nearly half of online visitors will click on the back button as soon it takes three seconds to load. For this reason, it has become an industry standard for websites to load under three seconds to ensure an optimal user experience for your visitors.
Measuring Website Loading Speed
You can equate site speed to how efficient your website is at displaying the content on a browser. While fixed numbers matter, there is a difference between the real-world experience users have while interacting with your website and the objective data.
Google says that site loading time is fluid, in that there is no single point in time when you can say that the site is done loading. This means that the loading time cannot be captured by a single metric.
Site visitors go through several moments while the web page is loading. These moments will determine how users view the page loading experience. As a website owner, focusing on only one of these experiences, you will miss on some other bad experiences that some users might consider a turn-off.
To understand this better, take for example a person who has two websites that have an average page loading speed of 3 seconds each. The first site starts by loading up some images immediately and takes three seconds to load the rest of the content.
The second site, on the other hand, takes three seconds to load the entire content. In this instance, users will be staring at a blank page wondering what is happening, and if the site is working.
Since a typical website has several web pages each with several elements, they will not all load at once, but each element will load individually.
Accelerated Mobile Pages
Mobile devices have undertaken other devices as the preferred source of accessing the internet. This means that you need to ensure that you need a responsive design and fast-loading mobile pages. For this reason, you must use accelerated mobile pages.
Accelerated mobile pages (AMP) is a standard open-source coding that web developers use to improve page loading speeds. Until recently, AMP was used to enhance user experience, but it has become a vital component of improving web page loading times.
While Google will not consider websites that have AMPs when ranking, it directly impacts the impressions, user experience, and clicks. Consequently, having AMP will increase the conversion rates for the users using mobile devices to access your website.
Google PageSpeed Insight Tool
Thus far, we have been looking at the perils of having a slow page, which means that you are constantly losing money to your competitors. Google’s PageSpeed Insights Tool is a free tool that allows you to identify what is slowing down your website.
While the bounce rates for slow websites will affect your conversions, they will also undermine all your SEO efforts. With the PageSpeed Insights Tool, you will get 10 “Speed Rule” and 4 “Usability Rule” suggestions.
However, if you are not a web developer, the insights might be too complex to understand since the tool is designed for developers who understand code. Here are what the insights mean in layman terms:
Improve Server Response Time
One of the reasons for a slow website is the time the server takes to respond to the users’ requests. This can be caused by one or all of the following reasons:
- More traffic that your website can handle
- Insufficient or bad web hosting
- Improperly setup webserver
You can improve server response time by undertaking the following measures:
- Paying for more web hosting and better servers
- Upgrading your web hosting to a dedicated server or a virtual private server (VPS)
- Put your website on a content delivery network
- Constantly check your web server configuration and update it when need be
Leverage Browser Caching
This insight means that the web browser needs to display several elements such as the images, CSS, the logo, images, et al. By leveraging browser caching, the browser can remember the elements already loaded, which in turn improves the page loading speed.
The PageSpeed Insight Tool will give this suggestion if you do not have a caching mechanism set up. Here are ways that you can fix the problem:
- Add some code to your .htaccess file. For example
##EXPIRES CACHING ##
ExpiresByType image/jpg “access 1 year”
ExpiresByType image/jpeg “access 1 year”
ExpiresByType image/gif “access 1 year”
ExpiresByType image/png “access 1 year”
ExpiresByType text/css “access 1 month”
ExpiresByType text/html “access 1 month”
ExpiresByType application/pdf “access 1 month”
ExpiresByType application/x-shockwave-flash “access 1 month”
ExpiresByType image/x-icon “access 1 year”
ExpiresDefault “access 1 month”
## EXPIRES CACHING ##
- If your website is WordPress based, you can add a caching plugin such as W3 Total Cache
Here is how you can fix it:
- Change where the jQuery call is made
- Remove the jQuery call from the head of the document and move it somewhere else further down the page
Optimize CSS Delivery
CSS (cascading style sheets) is a type of code that dictates the style and the function of a page. In other words, it is purely for aesthetic purposes.
While CSS makes the page look pretty, it takes a lot of time to download before it can render, which in turn affects the page loading speed. A web designer can easily go overboard if they are not keeping SEO and page speed in mind, and this will affect the page’s performance.
Here is how you can fix it:
- Compress the website’s CSS scripts and files to reduce the amount of code that needs downloading
- Minimize the amount of CSS code you use on each page
Avoid Landing Page Redirects
Redirects require additional HTTP requests and they contribute to slow page loading speeds. These insights come up when the tool detects more than one redirect pointing to a single URL.
These redirects come about if your website is not built using a responsive website design. To fix the issue and increase page loading speeds, ensure to do the following:
- Incorporate responsive web design
- Consciously work towards removing the number of redirects if possible
CSS and HTML files can and should be compressed, which will allow your webserver to deliver faster results to your site users. You can use Gzip to compress your files and this will save you between 50 and 90% of file size.
Consequently, this will ensure much faster page loading speeds. You can fix this issue by adding a string of code to your .htaccess file on your web server.
Fortunately, you can find a variety of online tools that can help you minify and reformat the code for you. You could start by searching for a “Minify CSS tool” where you copy and paste the code to the tool.
After the necessary reformatting, you can paste back the reformatted code to your page and watch as your page loading speeds improve.
Heavy images are one of the contributors to a slow-loading website. For this reason, the PageSpeed Insight tool will ask you to optimize the images to improve page loading speeds.
Since images account for the most bytes downloaded on a page, failing to compress and optimize the images before uploading them will slow down the site. Here is how you can optimize your images for faster page loading times:
- Use image compressors such as ‘’Smush it! To compress your images
- Use Photoshop’s ‘Save for web’ function before uploading the image onto the website
Prioritise Visible Content
What do you intend your users will see first when they land on your website? Unfortunately, most website owners do not have an idea what to prioritize.
When the tool prompts you to prioritize visible content, it means that additional network trips are required to display the ‘above the fold’ content of your page. This is as a result of your page’s code not being structured properly making it render ‘below the fold’ resources first.
This creates a content lag at the top of the page, which makes it seem like the page is loading slowly. You can fix it by ensuring the following:
- Ensure that the code on the page is in the order of the most important to the least important aspects
- Reduced the amount of data used by the various resources
For example, most blog pages have a sidebar and the main content. Ensure that in your HTML code, the content should render before the sidebar. Otherwise, it will appear that the page is not optimized and thus slow.
Use Asynchronous Scripts
For websites that have a code executed synchronously, the browser will wait until it is fully complete before moving on to other tasks. On the other hand, asynchronously executed code means that the browser can engage in other tasks as the code is executed.
Synchronous scripts are a result of improper code. When the script is done asynchronously, browsers can load several elements of a page at the same time, thus making it appear as though the page is loading much faster.
If you get this prompt from the PageSpeed Insight Tool, ensure to check whether you are using the asynchronous version of your script. These online tools will help check whether you are using a synchronous or asynchronous version of your scripts, such as MachMetrics, GTMetrix, and Pingdom.
It’s a Wrap
Looking back, this year has been all about making websites more mobile friendly and load faster. Google stepped in with Accelerated mobile Pages and made it clear that it will also be using sites loading speed on mobile to determine SERPs ranking.
Meaning, the bulk of what you’ve been doing to improve your site’s performance must be centred on improving its speed. If not, this is the right time to get it done to avoid dropping further down in the SERPs.
Still not sure on what to do? Here’s your chance to reach out to MediaOne for a free SEO consultation and direction on how you can make your site load even faster.