Most websites aren’t in Google’s good books because their page loading speed is atrocious. And for that exact reason, they’re not in their customers’ good books either, which has a direct impact on their conversion rates.
If you don’t believe me, check out this infographic from KissMetrics that is loaded with data on how loading time affects your visitors’ shopping behaviour:
It makes you think, doesn’t it? However, even despite the extensive research conducted on the subject (and a tonne of data to back up the claims), page loading speed still isn’t on the marketers’ priority list.
Perhaps it’s because it’s often hard to diagnose what is causing your website to run slower than it should – especially if you’re an e-commerce store with hundreds of pages and items. And while I would strongly recommend for you to perform a website performance audit, I’ve got a few strong suggestions for you here today to give your site a quick speed boost it needs.
Here we go:
Optimise your images
Image source: Medium
Yeah. I think this proves my point – no one likes to see that circle when browsing through their favourite website. It’s frustrating and it makes many people want to click away.
Images account for somewhere between 50% to 75% of your web pages’ total weight. The higher quality your images are, the larger that number gets. But you can minimise image size without reducing quality with lossless compression, using sites such as TinyJPG or TinyPNG.
Use a hosting provider that suits your site’s needs
You would think that it’s so obvious that it shouldn’t be even mentioned here but the list of name-brand retailers experiencing ecommerce site crashes during Black Friday—like Lululemon, J.Crew and Lowe’s—continues to grow. According to ITIC’s survey, “81% of respondents said 60 minutes of downtime costs their business over $300,000.”
No hosting solution is equal. What is a perfect fit for a brochure site won’t even come close to serving an ecommerce store – you need something that’ll accommodate factors such as payment processing services, security initiatives, SSL, shopping cart software, and more.
A Content Delivery Network is a must, especially if your audiences are spread globally. CDNs cache your website’s files on their servers around the world, then display the content to the user from the nearest possible server location.
Which means, your website speed is optimised for users worldwide with no extra work on your part. Take a look below at this graphic from Cloudflare illustrating how much of a difference a CDN makes for loading times:
Whatever you do, however, don’t do it manually. You can use these Google recommended resources or let your CDN do the hard work for you
Implement AMPs and PWAs
AMPs (Accelerated Mobile Pages) and PWAs (Progressive Web Apps), both developed by Google, can have a significant impact on your site’s loading speed.
Progressive Web Applications are specialised web pages or websites that act like mobile apps BUT don’t have to be installed by your customers the way apps do.
When Pinterest rebuilt their mobile site as a PWA, they saw core engagements grow by 60%, and on top of that, the time spent on site and user-generated ad revenue both respectively increased by around 40%.
A plugin like W3 Total Cache can make your site load much faster. When you leverage browser caching, your webpage files will get stored in the browser cache. Your pages will load much faster for repeat visitors and so will other pages that share those same resources.
Each time one of your pages redirects to another URL, the user has to wait for the server to respond again.
Use a tool like Screaming Frog to check for any redirects on your site and remove whatever you can.
Do not underestimate how important page loading speed is to delivering a seamless user experience to your visitors; optimising it should never leave your priority list.
Unless, of course, you want to give visitors a reason to leave your ecommerce website without buying anything…
How do you ensure your customers don’t have to wait longer than 3 seconds for a page to load? Let me know in the comments.