Customer experience is a major factor in helping an online store to succeed. For your business to thrive, the ecommerce checklist for your store should support your efforts to offer an easy and enjoyable shopping process and high-quality products.
One key way to improve customer experience is to speed up your website.
In addition to following our other ecommerce tips for success, optimizing how your shop performs will assist in keeping your shoppers engaged as they browse your offerings.
Fortunately, you can increase the speed fairly quickly with a few easy strategies!
Why is it important to optimize site speed?
Your site speed is directly linked to how much people enjoy shopping at your store. In this day and age, most people have a short attention span and don’t like to wait. If you discover that your online store isn’t selling well, you may want to examine how fast your site is.
Even a few extra seconds of loading time can lead consumers to click away from your shop. People expect pages to load immediately, so slowness can definitely affect your conversion rate.
How a site performs is especially important for ecommerce businesses. This is because consumers typically browse several pages before completing their purchases.
If they only have to visit a single page, they may be more forgiving when it takes a while to load. However, repeatedly waiting for multiple pages to load is a problem for most shoppers.
Page speed can also affect your Google search rankings. Google wants to offer high-quality results, so it considers a variety of factors relating to user experience.
Your site speed is a direct ranking factor for Google. For this reason, optimizing your shop’s performance is a great way to increase your visibility on the internet and expand your customer base.
Ways to improve your site’s speed
Site speed is determined by a number of different variables, which means there are many strategies to help your pages load faster. To help you begin, here are 13 excellent tips for improving your website’s speed.
1. Use an ecommerce platform that’s already fast
If you aim to optimize your shop’s speed, get a head start by choosing an ecommerce platform that’s known for creating quick-loading sites. With the WiziShop solution, it’s easy to manage your ecommerce site, which will automatically be built using the AMP format.
This format helps provide lightning-fast speeds. Your customers will be able to move around your store and view the different products with ease...the sales will soon start rolling in!
2. Decrease the size of product thumbnails
Ecommerce sites tend to be image-heavy because they need to include photos of all of their goods. Optimizing your images is one of the most effective ways to increase site speed.
If you’re pulling images from your product pages to use as thumbnails, their sizes may be larger than needed. This can severely slow down your website. You don't need large photos for your thumbnails, so try reducing the file size to decrease the time needed for your site to load.
3. Compress images
You’re not limited to reducing thumbnail size when it comes to image optimization. You can compress any of your site’s images to speed up how quickly they load and keep visitors on the page.
With lossless compression, you can reduce size without sacrificing quality. There are many online tools that can compress your images while maintaining the same quality as the original. Some of the most popular options include TinyJPG, TinyPNG, JPEGMini, and JPEG Optimizer.
Images should be under 100 kilobytes for optimal load speeds. You should also consider the total number and size of all of the photos on a particular page.
If a page only has one image, that photo can be larger. However, on pages with multiple images, each one needs to be smaller to reduce the total weight.
4. Define image dimensions
It’s important to know the distinction between an image’s dimensions and its resolution. The resolution is the number of pixels per inch, so it determines the quality of the photo. In contrast, the dimensions are its length and width.
Your product photos should be large enough that people can clearly see the item’s important features, but they don’t need to take up the entire page.
You can reduce the dimensions of a photo without reducing the quality. This is one of the easiest ways to speed your website up.
You should also specify the dimensions on the page. This allows the browser to create a placeholder for the image as the page loads, which lets the photo and the rest of the page load simultaneously.
If you don’t specify the dimensions, the image will have to load completely before the browser lets anything else load.
5. Cut down on broken links and redirects
Broken links can make your page speed significantly slower, and they can negatively affect your search engine rankings. You can try out various tools on the internet that will scan your site for broken links so that you don't have to manually check every page.
You should also clean up your redirects. Some types of redirects can hurt your search rankings in addition to slowing down your website.
Every time a page redirects, the visitor has to wait for the request-response cycle. This is especially problematic if you have a redirect chain, which occurs when there are multiple redirects before the site arrives at the right page.
Sometimes, redirects are unavoidable. However, you should aim to keep your usage of them to a minimum. Once most of your customers have started to use the current URLs directly, you can remove the old URL and the redirect.
6. Use a content delivery network (cache)
Caching is the process of temporarily storing your website data on the visitor's browser. This can decrease loading time for returning users because it lets the browser avoid accessing the database before loading the site.
A content delivery network, or CDN, is a collection of servers scattered throughout the world that store a cached version of your site. When you use a CDN, consumers can access your shop through whichever server is closest to them.
If your customers are all located in the same area, a CDN may not be worthwhile. If you ship to people all over the world, though, a CDN can be a great way to reduce the time it takes your store to load for everyone.
7. Limit your usage of pop-ups
Many websites use pop-ups much more than is necessary. Pop-up windows displaying products may seem ideal because they allow shoppers to stay on the main page instead of navigating to a separate product page.
However, pages that use these pop-ups often will pre-load all of the information for every single pop-up. This generally takes far too much time for it to be practical.
Unless you know that your shoppers regularly use and enjoy the pop-up format, I suggest minimizing pop-ups and utilizing traditional links to product pages instead. You can use a click-mapping tool to determine whether or not visitors are using your site’s pop-ups.
8. Be careful with using multi-image slides on the homepage
Multi-image slideshows can be an excellent way to showcase your products on your homepage. A high-quality and well-executed slideshow requires large file sizes, though, which makes the page load more slowly.
To optimize your homepage speed, you can either reduce the number of slides or eliminate the slideshow altogether.
A slideshow can be a compelling way to market your goods, as photos tend to be more powerful than text. To reach a happy medium, you might want to use two or three slides that show off your best-selling items.
9. Make mobile performance testing a priority
There can be a big difference between mobile and desktop website speed. To create a successful ecommerce site, you should never overlook any aspect of your mobile site.
In the last couple years, Google has started ranking websites based on their mobile versions. Having a fast and functional mobile site should therefore be a priority.
A fast mobile site doesn’t only appeal to Google. More and more shoppers are switching to their mobile devices to make purchases. If your mobile site is slow or difficult to navigate, you might lose out on some valuable business.
Testing your mobile website is very easy. There are several great tools for measuring site speed and finding ways to reduce your loading time.
You should perform separate tests on your desktop and mobile sites. Certain pages may be faster on mobile, and others may perform better for desktop browsers.
10. Monitor site speed regularly
Improving your site speed isn’t a one-time task. To make sure that your website continues to load quickly, you should regularly monitor and assess your site’s loading time.
Your site should always load in 3 seconds or less. Anything longer may turn shoppers away. If you notice that your site starts to lag again, it’s time to make some changes to your file sizes, site layout, or other page elements.
Tools for monitoring site speed
Monitoring and measuring site speed is critical. Before you make any changes to your site, you should test how fast it currently is.
You can then accurately compare the results of your efforts to its original speed. You should also regularly measure your website’s speed after you’ve made changes so that you can continue making improvements.
Here are several handy tools for measuring site speed.
PageSpeed Insights is a Google tool that evaluates your site’s speed and identifies the elements on the page that may be slowing it down. It assesses your mobile and desktop sites separately so that you can determine the best way to improve how both versions perform.
A score of 85 or higher on PageSpeed Insights is considered strong. However, many successful sites have a lower score than this. Try to increase your score as much as possible, but don't worry if it doesn't reach 85.
Another great feature of PageSpeed Insights is that it allows you to see how your competitors’ sites perform. Checking out your rivals’ sites can help you find ways to improve your site and keep up with or stay ahead of your competition.
GTMetrix is an analytics tool that grades your site from an A to an F. All you have to do is enter your domain name. GTMetrix then generates a performance report including your letter grade, page load time, and total page size.
Like PageSpeed Insights, GTMetrix also provides personalized recommendations for how you can speed up your site. It evaluates 25 different metrics to give you a complete report and identify which areas of your site need work.
You can also test your site speed in different countries, which is incredibly valuable for companies that ship globally. Page speed can vary drastically by location, so it’s important to know how your site is doing in any area where you have customers.
Pingdom analyzes your page speed and site performance to discover ways you can decrease how much time they take to load. It sends you regular email or SMS messages with real-time information about your site.
Pingdom is one of the best monitoring tools because it reaches out to you when you should change something about your website. You don’t have to remember to run regular tests, so it’s a great option if you think that you’ll forget to check up on your site speed.
The only downside to Pingdom is that there’s no free version of the service. However, many businesses will likely find that the benefits are worth the cost.
As an online merchant, you have so much to keep in mind as you establish your brand and build your website. You should never forget about how your site performs, though.
Of all the elements involved in web design and development, site speed is one of the most important when it comes to ecommerce customer satisfaction.
Try implementing these strategies one at a time to determine which tricks are the most helpful for your site. Make sure to carefully measure the results and continually monitor your site speed after you’ve made changes.
A fast and optimized site will keep shoppers on the page, increasing sales and improving your reputation!