Think about the last time you shopped online. Was it frustrating to wait for the product page to load? Did you want to close the window when the checkout page took forever to process the payment?
The feelings of anger and frustration are universal among online shoppers who end up dealing with an ecommerce website that takes forever. And for them, the only other option is to go to another online seller that offers a better experience.
Google states that page speed is a core web vital, meaning that the algorithm boosts websites that load fast. So, not only do you lose customers because of your slow website, but your ecommerce business might lose its coveted position on the first page of search results if this goes on for too long.
And if your business no longer ranks on Google SERPs, how will people find out about it? How can you expect to sell online if competitor sites show up on the first page while yours lies on the fifth page of Google search results?
If you want to increase your conversion rates and reach more prospects and consumers, make your ecommerce site faster.
Why Ecommerce Site Speed is Important
Any customer who comes to your website will expect it to load immediately. But achieving this goal is easier said than done, especially given that the internet is faster than ever.
Did you know that researchers in Japan recently broke the record for internet speeds, reaching 319 terabytes per second using fiber optics technology?
News like this means that the internet experience is set to become more competitive. Are you gearing up to provide your website visitors with a stellar experience? Can your website keep up?
This raises the bar so high that it only takes a couple of microseconds of delay for customers to ditch your ecommerce site and find one that works without delay.
Since site speed directly impacts user experience, web developers, marketers, and shoppers pay particular attention to it. Optimizing your ecommerce store speed to ensure the fastest load speed will result in more lead conversions.
However, if your website is slower than the competition, here is what might happen:
- Your business experiences fewer conversions and more bounces as users avoid a bad website experience
- Google does not rank your website high. Since page speed is an integral part of how Google decides its rankings, your ecommerce site no longer gets the attention it deserves, regardless of how unique your product or service is
- The lack of maintenance and management causes extended downtimes for your website
- Customers aren’t motivated to buy from your website if it is clunky or unresponsive
How to Figure Out if Your Ecommerce Site is Slow
Before you can think about enhancing your website performance, figure out if there are any technical issues your ecommerce website is facing on a daily basis. After all, if you don’t know what’s broken, how will you fix it?
Here are some tools that can check your ecommerce site speed and determine the issues it is facing:
- Pagespeed insights
- New Relic
These are some tools you can use to understand website performance.
For starters, Pagespeed insights can spot problems by checking the speed of your website and recommend solutions that you can use to fix them. Similarly, GTMetrix focuses on the technical aspect and inspects the Time to First Byte (TTFB) and the speed required to load your entire webpage.
We recommend using a combination of these popular testing tools to figure out where your website is lagging and how to optimize it properly.
This list is by no means a comprehensive one. You can find many other plugins and resources online to suit your unique needs and budget. Use them to boost your ecommerce site speed and fix related issues holistically.
Once all diagnoses are complete, you should be able to determine how much time and resources you need to put into your website.
Ways to Make Your Ecommerce Site Faster
You can work as much as you want on your website content and design, but if it is not ranking on search engines because of speed problems, you are doing something wrong.
A study analyzed 100 million page views and discovered that a loading time of a second leads to a 39% conversion rate. If a page takes five seconds to load, the conversion rate drops to 22%- do you see what a massive difference ecommerce site speed makes?
If you have a website that takes a lot of time to load, your prospects and customers will get irritated regardless of how loyal they are. This means that even a second’s delay can cause them to switch to your competitor’s website and buy what they want from there.
Here are some things you can do to make your ecommerce website faster:
Pick the Correct Hosting Platform
Have you ever considered that your site speed depends on the ecommerce platform you choose? Every platform that hosts websites has a unique infrastructure that affects the overall website experience.
During the holiday season, websites face a lot of traffic so loading times can be longer. This makes it vital to pick a website host with high bandwidth and memory. Research shows that based on your chosen platform, you can expect loading times between 2.07 seconds for BigCartel and 5.15 seconds for Bigcommerce.
If you struggle with choosing the hosting platform, reading customer testimonials may be a good idea. If your web server is not configured properly, it could seriously affect the performance and growth of your ecommerce business.
Moreover, along with picking the right platform, you must update the servers regularly, so security issues do not arise. When you look for a hosting platform, search for plugin options and robust customer support.
Here are some things to work on to ensure that your TTFB (Time to First Byte) is just right:
If you choose a slow DNS server, it won’t matter how optimized your website is; your ecommerce load speed will be affected regardless. Hence, if your DNS server is causing issues, you must contact the hosting provider to boost your DNS quality.
This option ensures that website data is stored in the server’s memory so that when a user visits the ecommerce website, the data can be accessed immediately.
However, this needs to be done by default. If not, you will have to install a specialized plugin or change your hosting provider.
Content Delivery Network (CDN)
Have you ever wondered how users can navigate your website from across the world? All they need to do is access the closest server. Your CDN consists of the servers that hold website content and ensure that it is available to visitors regardless of their geographical location.
For example, Shopify, powered by Fastly, provides a large CDN on their plants. When your TTFB gets shorter, you can focus on other facets of your website optimization process.
To ensure maximum performance, hosting providers will compress files. If files are not compressed, you must install an app or plugin that suits your goals. You can use a hosting service such as Bluehost or SiteGround to check this.
Minification is a process that can help boost website loading time. This means cleaning the website code of every kind of punctuation and unimportant spaces, allowing the website to run faster.
One of the best ways to ensure that your ecommerce website has a quicker loading time is by using optimized code. Compared to slow websites, fast-loading websites use less energy, which can lower your digital footprint and free up resources on your computer, making it great for the business.
Most ecommerce websites have media assets, which include videos and images. Even though visuals are essential parts of web design, large media assets can slow down the overall loading speed.
Ecommerce sites usually use lots of product photos. Moreover, background images, navigation icons, and logos also fall into the media category.
By compressing media as told in the code minification process, you can boost the speed of your ecommerce website. Images cause most HTTP requests on web pages, which means compressing them will allow the browser to lower the information needed to increase page load time.
You will find many website builders and ecommerce platforms that can compress images for you using in-house options. For example, WordPress comes with multiple image compressor plugins. Assets can also be compressed with the help of external software such as ImageOptim and Photoshop.
It is also vital to consider the size of the images on your website. For example, the website builder you use has a 500×500 pixel space for the logo of your ecommerce business. However, if you choose not to follow this and end up uploading a 2000×2000 pixel logo image, the browser will have to work extra hard and take additional time to load the icon size and the original version.
Use a Staging Site
Once you have implemented the changes you think are needed to boost the ecommerce website speed, how can you check that they are actually working?
When you make changes to a live website, technical issues can arise and interfere with a customer’s experience. However, staging sites are perfect for testing the speed of your website, trying out experimental features, and making the necessary changes before you launch them to the live website version.
Based on what your ecommerce website is selling, you can test several features to boost customer experience, including a ticketing system, personalized recommendations, and 24/7 chatbot assistants. The staging site can also help you see how your e-commerce site performs with compressed and uncompressed media assets.
Businesses that have used A/B testing for marketing emails will find the workings of a staging site easy. All you need to do is look at the performance of your website with and in the absence of a test feature. If satisfied with the performance, you can include this element in your webpage design. However, if you find that it is interrupting with user experience and slowing the speed of your website down, you can choose to ditch it.
Get Rid of Broken Links
If you own an ecommerce website, you already know that you must regularly update it with pictures, product listings, and customer support pages. However, if you fail to remove an archived website, the broken links can increase HTTP requests, slowing down the ecommerce load speed.
Broken links take longer to load, which is why users face a lag when they visit your website. Even though it is just for a moment, the browser double-checks to ensure whether the link is broken, which takes more time than a working link. This data exchange increases the time customers spend on your website, making it a deal breaker for them as they navigate to a competitor’s website instead.
Similarly, 404 popups and broken links destroy your SEO. The SERP ranking and Index coverage will suffer if a 404 error is found on your website.
Even though the ecommerce world is becoming increasingly competitive, you can increase the performance and speed of your website by using free external resources and in-built tools on ecommerce platforms.
To sum it all up, all you need to do is get rid of extra information when trying to increase the speed of your ecommerce website. The website’s code, HTTP requests, and media assets should be optimized for superior performance.
All you have to do is optimize your ecommerce website and keep your audience happy. Remember, the faster your website is, the more traffic it will experience. Moreover, visitors are more likely to convert into leads once you streamline the shopping experience. So, it’s a win-win for everyone.