Your site needs to load quickly on mobile devices. You can have the best user experience in the world, but if it loads slowly, no one will wait around to find out.

I recently began building a WordPress site for a physicians’ practice. First, I needed a theme. I browsed the blogosphere for lists of the “best responsive themes.” From those lists, I explored dozens of premiere themes that featured sliders, transitions and other visual effects that look dynamite on a desktop. There was just one problem. I knew most of them would perform poorly on mobile. The same CSS, Javascript and HTML files that load on a desktop would load on a device, rendering them with improbable wait times.

To help me select a theme with satisfactory mobile performance, I checked the Google PageSpeed for each one. PageSpeed is a measure of how quickly and effectively your site loads on desktop and mobile screens. It may also be effective for you as a quick way to rate your site performance.

Here’s how to check your score:

  1. Go to Google PageSpeed:
    Google Page Speed
  2. Enter your URL in the field and click “Analyze.”
  3. You will see your mobile speed ranked from 1 to 100, with 100 being the best. Be sure to click the desktop tab to see that score as well. There is also a user experience score that is separate from speed.
  4. Even if you score high like Google, you will likely see some suggestions for things that you can fix. You, or more likely your development team, may find these interesting; they describe adjustments to your site’s JavaScript, CSS, images and other site structures.
  5. Google also has an additional measurement called the Mobile-Friendly Test, which will not give you a score but will tell you if the text is too small, links are too close, etc. I didn’t find this one quite as valuable because for the most part you already know this, but you may find it more useful than I did.5_mobilefriendly

How does my site compare?

There is not a lot of agreement on what is considered a “good” or “above average” score, but I have read that 80 is a good ballpark.

Here are scores from popular sites, if you want to see how you compare.

Site Mobile Desktop
Google 99 99
Facebook 50 83
Amazon 41 75
YouTube 62 71
Yahoo 69 83
Wikipedia 66 85
Ebay 40 79
Twitter 52 87
Reddit 58 81
LinkedIn 61 77
Site Mobile Desktop
New York Times 63 18
Apple 63 79
IMDB 51 76
ESPN 39 63
Netflix 51 76
Wal-Mart 23 63
Best Buy 53 72
Bank of America 44 74
Weather 40 54
Wells Fargo 56 69
Google PageSpeed Scores, assessed December 10, 2014


Developer communities have described the fact that PageSpeed considers other factors besides load time. It isn’t clear what those other factors are, but sites have been shown to score differently on different days based on traffic, server response times and more. So be aware that you may see some fluctuations, and do your best to use the same conditions when checking, such as the same time of day.


While the measure isn’t perfect, Google PageSpeed provides a benchmark for your site’s performances in a way that can easily be tracked over time. In my case, I recorded the score of the demo site for each theme and found several that I was happy with. I am pleased to say that this helped me find a theme that fit perfectly and appeared to have a better mobile load time.

What about you? What other tools do you use to measure your site’s performance?