The speed at which your e-commerce website loads is incredibly important, but why? Well, slow page load times have been shown to influence business conversion rates, sales, brand image, reputation and even credibility. Ultimately, when it comes to e-commerce, speed sells – it really is that simple.
In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at e-commerce page load speeds and share a few tips for speeding up your store in 2016.
Why is page load speed important in e-commerce?
If you don’t see the importance of speedy page load times, here are some statistics to bear in mind:
• 40% of online shoppers will abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load.
• A one second delay in page load times leads to a 7% loss in conversions, 11% fewer page views, and a 16% drop in customer satisfaction levels.
• 79% of shoppers dissatisfied with website performance are less likely to buy from the same site again.
• Walmart saw a 2% rise in conversion rates for every 1 second of improvement to page load times.
• Research by engineers at Google showed that anything slower than the blink of an eye – 400 milliseconds to be exact – is enough to cause users to search less.
How do I know if my store’s load speeds are slow?
If you want to check your website’s page load speeds, there are several tools available online to help you with this. We recommend trying Pingdom, Web Page Test, or running a Google Analytics Site Speed Report.
• Pingdom is a subscription service. It’s easy to use and will analyse the load speed of your website to determine what about your site is fast and what’s slow. Pingdom will also show you ways of making your website faster and highlight any industry best practices you’re not following.
• Web Page Test is free to use and it will give you a pretty detailed summary of how your site is performing.
• Running a Google Analytics Site Speed Report will allow you to measure several key metrics including, average page load times, average page download time, and document content loading time. If you haven’t tried running this report before, this excellent blog post by Lunametrics will talk you through it.
What can I do to increase page load speeds?
There are many ways of speeding up your store’s page load speeds. Here are a few simple things to consider:
Choose the right CMS
Make sure that you have the right content management system (CMS) for the job. After all, not all CMS’s were created equal and choosing the wrong platform could slow your load times to a snail’s pace. Some are designed for general web publishing and blogging (WordPress), and others have been specifically designed to accommodate the needs of e-commerce retailers (Magento). Of course, there are plenty of options available out there, but always make sure that your chosen platform is flexible enough to cope with the demands of your e-commerce store.
Large, bulky images can slow down page load times drastically. You can reduce and optimise the size of your images using Photoshop, or use an image optimisation tool that will make the changes for you. Try Smush.it or Riot.
Check for broken links
Broken links (hyperlinks that don’t lead anywhere) are a big waste of your website’s time and effort. This is because when your page loads, your website wastes time trying to access the broken links. Save your website the hassle by conducting regular checks for broken links. Try W3C’s broken link checker or Broken Link Checker for WordPress.