How to Improve E-commerce Site Speed
Did you know that the speed of your website can have a serious impact on the success or failure of your e-commerce business? As an e-commerce business, you’re completely reliant on the successful performance of the website. Alongside taking care of your website and keeping it running smoothly, you should also make sure the site is not slow loading.
A slow loading web page can have negative impacts on your search engine optimisation, which is crucial if you want to be discovered organically. Google has also stated that their browser Chrome “may identify sites that typically load fast or slow for users with clear badging.” This means that before a user even clicks on a website, they’ll already know what to expect.
Until this happens, users can still become frustrated when sites load slowly and as a result, this only adds to the bounce rate.
Determine current website speed
The first thing to do is to run your website through a website speed test tool, such as GTMetrix, Pingdom or Google Pagespeed Insights. All you need to do is enter the URL of your e-commerce site and the tools will present you with an overview of the current site speed.
If you obtain a high score (on both mobile and desktop) and you’re happy with it, then that’s great. Just be sure to regularly keep an eye on it. If the website is running slower than you’d expect, there may be some things you can do that don’t require a website developer.
Change server hosting
Make sure your website server is capable of hosting your site. If you’ve grown your e-commerce business recently, it may be that you’ve outgrown your current website’s server limitations.
If you’re serious about being as fast as possible, the best option is to opt for a high-quality dedicated server hosting. When multiple websites are hosted on a shared server, events on these websites can impact your own. For example, if a website that shares your server becomes overloaded, this can bring your own website down until it is fixed.
Avoid code-heavy websites
Some website design tools such as Wix allow you to easily edit the design of your website, without the need for knowing any coding. The drawback to this WYSIWYG approach is the large amount of code it actually generates. For an e-commerce site with lots of products and a checkout, the code can build up quite substantially. The more code there is, the more there is for a web browser to load.
The best way to avoid code-bloated websites is to invest in a bespokely designed website. Without the unnecessary code, the overall site performance will noticeably improve. Remember, it only takes a short few seconds to put people off.
And a bespoke website doesn’t mean you can’t edit the content how you want. A bespoke website can still have a content management system such as WordPress but, not using a WYSIWYG theme! For a fast-loading build have your website coded on the WordPress platform in bespoke php markup!
Reduce Image Size and Quantity
E-commerce sites tend to have a lot of images – after all, how will people know what they’re buying? But a lot of images means there’s more to load, so how do you keep the site running smoothly without affecting the user experience?
The key to reducing image file sizes is by compressing the images using a compressor tool. Compressor.io is a free online tool you can use to do this.
Reducing the quantity of images can also help improve the site speed. See if you can deliver the same experience and message by using fewer images, although it’s not always possible.
If you have a popular product (that gains a lot of website traffic) which has now been discontinued, you’ll want to pop a redirect into that URL. You don’t want your website visitors to be hit with a dead-end, because they’ll complete their product search elsewhere.
However, redirects take a little time. It’s barely noticeable, but once you start stacking up redirects one after the other, it can begin to slow down the user experience. Try not to create a chain of redirects.
How you display your products can have an effect on the page loading time. People ideally don’t want to be loading new pages after scrolling through a few products, but they also don’t want to have to wait for a page with 100 products on to load. A solution to this would be to invest in an infinite scroll.
Infinite scroll only loads the rest of the page’s content when the user reaches the end of the current content. You can decide how much it loads each time. Try to find the middle point to avoid frequent loading or long loading times.
Our last tip is to invest in regular performance monitoring. By keeping all of the above in mind as you go along and regularly keeping track of how your website is performing, you can avoid having to make major changes later down the line. For example, it’s much easier to compress an image before uploading to your site rather than having to go back and compress a whole batch that you missed.