How to speed up page load time for better ecommerce performance
Ecommerce sites are generally pretty heavy on information - from multiple images per product, to text descriptions and even videos, you'll probably find that if you can optimise and speed up your page load times, your site will rank and perform better.
But what does page loading speed matter? Well, there are a few reasons...
- Google – the search engine algorithms favour faster loading websites because it improves user experience, and Google actively penalises slower sites, meaning lower rankings in the search results.
- Customer bounce rates – we've all been there – using a website that takes ages to load up is frustrating. Take too long to deliver the next page or stage in the sales funnel and your visitors will bounce off the site and visit a competitor.
- Mobile marketplace – as more and more people purchase via mobile devices, it's become even more important to deliver faster loading pages. Roaming connectivity can be intermittent and unreliable, so you need to give your website the best chance of performing when your customers are on the move.
Tips to speed up your loading times
Speeding up page loading times is pretty technical stuff, so you may need some development support to help you. There are loads of things you can do to improve performance, but here are our 5 top tips to get you started...
1. Optimise images – on an ecommerce site, image is everything – but they can take a lot of time to load up if they’re not optimised properly. Ensure that you get the file size right for speedier loading – you don’t need A4 sized images on a web page!
2. Minimise HTTP components – however simple your site looks on the surface, a working website involves lots of different codes and components to make it function – and every time someone visits, each one has to be downloaded from the server. Simplify your site and remove any redundant or unnecessary plug-ins to reduce the number of HTTP requests the page has to cycle through before loading.
3. Clever caching – repeat visits can be made faster by enabling caching. This means that your users’ hard drive or device stores the page information from their previous visit, so it doesn’t need to go through all the HTTP requests again (see above).
4. Zip it up – the larger and more complex your page, the longer it’s going to take to download, so create compressed pages to minimise the bandwidth required for faster loading.
5. Start from the top – even if the rest of the page takes a while to load, you can develop your content so that the top part of the page loads before the rest, so customers have something to engage with while the rest plays catch up.
To keep your site loading efficiently and ensure a great user experience, you should be continually monitoring your performance. Remove any clutter or information that’s no longer needed and keep things nice and tidy to help speed up slow loading pages.