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Identify Slow Page Elements with YSlow

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You can use YSlow to track down specific page load issues.

If you have identified slow pages as outlined in yesterday’s tip on the Site Speed Page Timings report, you can use YSlow to find specific page elements or characteristics, such as numerous external Javascript files, that may be causing the slowdown.

YSlow is a browser extension that you can add on to Firefox or Chrome. Before installing the YSlow extension (or “plug-in”, of course, in Firefox parlance) in Firefox, you must first install the Firebug plugin. Firebug itself can also help to identify page load slowdowns; specifically, its Net tab displays load times for individual Javascript files.

So even if you’re not doing any of the development on the site or not otherwise in a position to fix the slowdowns yourself, YSlow can provide some specific starting points as you work with your developers to speed up your site and thereby improve user experience and – let’s hope – conversion rates.

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