How long does your eCommerce website take to load? According to Maile Ohye from Google, two seconds is the threshold for eCommerce website acceptability, this quote screams the reality of the online world problems today. Here, we will talk about 5 ways on how to improve website performance by increasing your website speed and prevent a reduction in sales of your eCommerce website.
Table of Content:
- Why is website speed important?
- How fast should a website load?
- Mobile vs Desktop: Average page load times
- How to improve eCommerce website performance?
This shows that even one of the world’s biggest retail sites isn’t immune to the effects of the website performance.
In fact, even Google’s new ranking algorithm for 2021 hinders the visibility of websites that takes too long to load.
But, how to improve website performance and what factors go behind making it work? We’ll read everything about it here.
Why is website speed important?
According to a study by Pingdom, sites that take 2 seconds to load sees a bounce rate of an average of 9%. Whereas, websites that take 5 seconds (or more) can soar bounce rate to 38%.
Your website can be the best thing on the internet, but if it takes forever to load, your customers will bounce off and may never visit your site again.
A good loading website helps increase SEO and provides great user experience (UX). That is why, when it comes to a website’s speed, literally every second count.
Here are the 3 crucial reasons why a slow-loading website can kill your online presence:
Your customers hate it
Skilled examined 12 case studies which disclosed customer expectations of site performance:
Won’t get you sales
Slow loading time greatly affects sales too. This isn’t just a statement but something that is tested by the biggest eCommerce company on this planet.
Slow-loading sites also negatively impact your searchability.
For example, with paid search, the loading time of your landing page will heavily affect your Quality Score. So, a slow-loading page would make a higher cost-per-click.
Similarly, even for organic rankings, it is noted that slow pages are the most affected when it comes to ranking higher across devices.
How fast should a website load?
Over the years, the web has indeed gotten faster and user expectation of how a website should perform has also grown.
But have eCommerce websites gotten speedier?
The answer is, no!
The average load time of an eCommerce website has increased from 7.36 seconds in 2019 to 8.56 seconds in 2020. (Source: Neil Patel)
The ideal loading time of an eCommerce website should not be more than two or three seconds as 40% of consumers won’t wait for more than three seconds to leave a site and even an extra second of loading time can decrease the conversion rate to 25% (Source: CXL).
This means that you’ll miss out on a huge chunk of sales just because of your loading time.
Mobile vs Desktop: Average page load times
PageSpeed Insights is a tool by Google that examines the content of a web page and generates suggestions to make that page load faster.
If you’ve used the tools before, you may have clearly noticed that the tool shows the difference between Mobile and Desktop PageSpeed scores.
In an analysis by Backlinko of over 5 million desktop and mobile pages, it found out that the average time it takes to fully load a webpage is 10.3 seconds on desktop vs 27.3 seconds on mobile.
So which one should you focus more on? Desktop or mobile?
The answer is simple – Both!
It is as important to optimize your website for mobile as it is for desktops. In fact, mobiles are even more crucial as about 79% of smartphone users make a purchase through their mobile and 40% of users prefer going to another site after a bad mobile experience.
How to improve eCommerce website performance?
Now that you understand the importance of a fast-loading website, let’s read through these 5 ways on how to improve website performance:
1. Compress Images
For many eCommerce websites, image size is one of the primary factors that cause them to load slow. If the product images that you display on your website aren’t optimized, it will weigh down your website’s overall performance.
So how can you optimize your images? Keep the following things in mind:
- File size: Your file size denotes how “heavy” or “light” your image is. For eCommerce websites, a good rule of thumb is to keep your image file size below 70 kb. If your file is above that number, then you must compress it.
- Image dimensions: Refers to the length and width of a digital image, measured in pixels.
- Image resolution: This refers to the quality of your images. Measured in pixels per inch (PPI). The higher number of pixels results in a sharper image.
2. Use a CDN
Sometimes a user’s location may affect a website’s speed. Some visitors may experience a delay for the content to appear fully than others. This is mostly due to the distance between the user’s location and your website’s hosting server. The farther the user, the more latency will they experience.
The best way to solve this issue? By using a Content Delivery Network (CDN).
CDNs solve this distance issue between your website visitor and your server by storing cached versions of your site in various locations or points of presence (PoPs). This speeds up your website’s response time.
For instance, if someone in Mexico tries to access your website hosted in the U.S., they would do so by accessing a local Mexican PoP and not a U.S. one – shortening the distance and making your website faster for everyone. Some of the most popular CDNs are Amazon’s AWS, Incapsula, and Rackspace.
3. Limite Page Size
It is obvious that the heavier pages are, the longer it will take to load each of them. Your page size includes the number of HTML and CSS files, images, scripts, and all media that are added to it.
The following are some tips for keeping your page size minimal:
- Go through all resources on your website and get rid of all the useless scripts, plugins, and fonts.
- Always optimize images. Compress excessive images or convert them into WebP.
- Merge and minify JS and CSS files. Minifying code trims the excessive code pieces while merging help in reducing the number of server requests.
Images make up a huge chunk of a web page, so it’s good to find easy ways to implement them to improve your website speed dramatically.
4. Reduce HTTP Requests
The number of elements the page consists of affects requests the browser sends to the server, hence affecting the loading time. So you must reduce the number of HTTP requests.
Firstly, you must delete unnecessary extensions, images, and other files. Next, put together all the small elements like images and buttons into one CSS sprite. This can be done with the help of tools such as CSS Sprites generator, CssSpritegen, Spritebox.
5. Use a faster hosting service
Initially, most eCommerce startups go for cheaper hosting for their online store but as the store grows and they see a good amount of traffic, they face the need to upgrade their hosting plan to a more faster and reliable option.
Here are the several hosting options that you can choose from:
- Shared hosting: This type of hosting service is mostly opted by small eCommerce companies who just have a few products. As the name says, in this type of hosting you basically share your resources (like CPU, RAM, etc) with other websites.
- Dedicated servers: This is a more expensive option but gets you full control over your hosting and provides you with enough resources to run your online store.
- VPS hosting: This is the combination of the features from both shared and dedicated hosting. With this option you still share one hosting with several sites, but, at the same time, you are provided with some dedicated parts of the server resources.
Keep in mind that whatever services you choose, it should work for your website. Don’t go for a service just because another website is using it too. Instead, go for the solution that works best for you.
In the end, keep monitoring your website performance
It all comes down to keeping a check on your website performance and optimizing it accordingly.
Unfortunately, many eCommerce business owners skip this step and they keep losing customers because of slow-loading webpages. Keep in mind, that if you face issues with your website performance yourself, you should bring it to the light and do something about it – or there’s a high chance that you’re just letting your competitors win.
When you implement these 5 ways on how to improve website performance listed in this blog, you will see an improvement in your website speed in no time! All you need to do is spare a few hours from your day and look into these performance bottlenecks yourself.
Or, you can reach out to a team of experts who can help you increase your eCommerce website speed in no time.
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