6 Tips for a faster E-Commerce Website

By Timme Hosting

The page speed or site speed is a particularly important aspect for a website and even more so for an online shop. Nevertheless, the issue of page speed is often neglected. Everyone has experienced the following situation at least once: you are on a slow site, waiting and waiting for the page to load. Finally frustration sets in and you leave the website, hoping to have better luck finding what you were looking for on another, faster website.

Basically we know that page speed affects the satisfaction of visitors and that Google made it an official ranking signal in 2010. So it makes sense to deal with the subject in order to make use of the full potential. The faster the better.

Page Speed affects the Conversion Rate

The load time of a website can affect its conversion rate, which is an important statistic for e-commerce. Long load times not only cause frustration and dissatisfaction in visitors but more likely potential customers will abort and leave to buy from another supplier.

Amazon, an e-commerce giant, has calculated that a load time of more than 100 milliseconds will reduce sales by approximately 1%. Even higher are bounce rates in the area of mobile shopping.

According to an international study from 2015, nearly two thirds (65%) of online shoppers abort and leave a website if loading time exceeds three seconds.

How to optimize Page Speed

1. Image size

Images play an important role in the optimization process. Modern websites often include large and high-resolution images. Using compression and choosing a suitable file format can already have a big impact not only on file size but page speed. So it can make quite a difference whether a PNG, GIF or JPG image file is used.

2. File size

But the file size and thus loading time can not only be reduced in the case of images. You should ensure a clean source code, free of useless characters, empty spaces and comments. Embedded CSS and JavaScript files should also be merged and compressed.

3. Avoid redirects

A relaunch for example can lead to the use of redirects. Each redirect results in a request to the server, increasing the time to load a page. Therefore, redirects should be checked regularly to find out if maybe some of them are unnecessary and can be avoided. Particularly, chains of redirects should not be used at all.

4. Use browser caching

The browser can store once retrieved website content in its cache. This will reduce the time to load if the website is visited again. In order to benefit from this, you should enable browser caching for your website. Otherwise, the browser will request all the data again from the server on the next visit.

5. GZIP compression

A server side way to compress your website data is provided by GZIP. Especially for text based files of a website (HTML, CSS, JavaScript), GZIP is particularly suitable. Compression makes the files smaller and the loading times faster.

6. Hosting

Where you host your website or your online shop, which hosting provider you chose, plays a very important part when it comes to load times and page speed. Because even a perfectly programmed and optimized website will perform badly when hosted on a slow server.

In addition to state of the art hardware, the used web server is crucial. An nginx server is high performance and requires much less memory than other web servers. Thereby it can answer more queries per second simultaneously. Even with a lot of website visitors there is little impact on the loading time.

A good hosting service can provide important advice on how to further improve the page speed of your website through the use of PHP 7 or technologies such as HHVM and HTTP/2 for example.

Tools to improve Page Speed

A good point to start optimizing the page speed of your website is to take a look at the information Google offers about your website. In Google Search Console you can see how long it takes Google to load the pages of your website.

Using Google’s PageSpeed Insights you can have your website analyzed by Google in terms of page speed. Google then offers fairly detailed suggestions of improvement both for desktop as well as mobile devices. By following those suggestions and improving your website based on them you should already be able to speed things up.

Tools such as webpagetest.org or pingdom.com offer the opportunity to get to know the

loading process of a website in more detail. The server connection with all the requests and answers to and from the web server are shown in a detailed diagram. That helps to identify potential.

About Cindy Deguingand

Global Events Manager at PrestaShop, I plan PrestaShop events and meet e-commerce enthusiasts all over Europe. My aim is to gather our community members to develop synergies and create business opportunities.

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