April 11, 2013, 10:22 AM

Keynote offers new answers to the question of how fast a web page loads

It reveals more of what happens after consumers click to load a web page.

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Keynote this week released expanded versions of its web performance indices to show what it says is a more complete view of how quickly web site pages load content and interactive features.

The company’s reports have long showed web site performance metrics that display response time, or the time it takes all components of a web page to load; success rate, which is the percentage of time a web site is available to access during a specified period of time; and outage hours, or the number of hours during a specified time that a web site cannot be accessed.

But those measurements don’t say everything about how fast a web site seems to a visitor, says Aaron Rudger, Keynote’s senior marketing manager for web performance.

“Our customers have been asking us to help them better understand more and finer details of performance relative to web sites,” he says. Keynote provides more than 20 web performance indices for web sites and mobile sites for several industries, including eight indices for the retail industry in the United States and the United Kingdom.

Keynote’s new data comes in three measurements:

● “Time to paint,” which measures the time for content to begin to appear on a web site.

● “Time to interactive page,” which measures the time for a web page to let a visitor click to interact with a page feature.

● “Total user experience time,” which measures the time it takes for a web page to both load and render content in the form intended by the site operator. For example, while the long-standing Keynote metric of response time shows how long it would take a web page of customer reviews to load all review content, Rudger says, the metric of total user experience time would show how long it takes the page to organize all the reviews under multiple product headings, making it possible for a web site visitor to easily choose among reviews tied to a product of interest.

The additional metrics are intended to help site operators better understand how additional content and redesigned web pages are impacting page download times, which they can then compare with other metrics such as click-through rates, conversion rates and site abandonment rates, Rudger says.

For the week ended April 7, for example, Keynote’s Top Retailers Performance Index, which ranks web sites by their response time, showed that AbeBooks.com, a subsidiary of Amazon.com Inc., led the 47 online retailers in the index with a response time of 0.59 seconds and a total user experience time of 0.68 seconds. By comparison, other e-commerce operators on the list include:

● Apple Inc., which ranked third with a response time of 0.76 second and a total user experience time of 1 second;

● Walmart.com, which ranked 16th with a response time of 1.36 seconds and a total user experience time of 1.41 seconds;

● eBay Inc., which ranked 22nd with a response time of 1.78 seconds and a total user experience time of 1.93 seconds;

● BestBuy.com, which ranked 34th with a response time of 2.77 seconds and a total user experience time of 3.85 seconds;

● Amazon.com Inc., which ranked 45th with a response time of 4.91 seconds and a total user experience time of 5.97 seconds.

Keynote makes weekly reports of its indices available for free. It charges a subscription fee for indices offered with data continuously updated in real time. Pricing for the real-time reports starts at $195 per month, Keynote says. Keynote is ranked second among providers of web performance monitoring technology in Internet Retailer’s Leading Vendors to the Top 1000 E-Retailers guide.

Apple is No. 3 in the Internet Retailer Top 500; Walmart.com is No. 4; Best Buy is No. 11, and Amazon, No. 1.

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