5 Tips for Improving E-Commerce Page Load Speed

As technology improves and our smartphones get faster, we are naturally becoming more impatient when it comes to dealing with how quickly e-commerce pages load. In fact, research shows that half of all shoppers will abandon a web page that takes longer than three seconds to load.

This effect doesn’t only impact small or medium-sized business, even e-commerce giants like Amazon would stand to lose up to $1.6 billion in revenue should their load time be reduced by even a second.

Naturally, a faster load time makes for a seamless user experience – something that naturally leads to a better conversion rate. Shopify updated their consumer research in July 2019, and found the following facts:

  • 64% of smartphone users expect a website to load in four seconds or fewer.
  • 47% of desktop shoppers expect a website to load in two seconds or fewer.
  • A one second delay in load time means a 7% loss in conversions.

Slower load times often get earmarked to search engines, resulting in poorer SEO performance. The snowball effect of a bad page load time seems scary, but you can make your pages run faster with an aggressive approach to eliminating any factors that might slow it down.

The following includes some lesser-known tips for improving site speed that you can implement on your e-commerce site today.

Lazy load your images

It is likely that any page on your e-commerce site is home to a few images. Unsurprisingly, HTTP requests to the server for each of these images are key players in slowing your site’s load time down. Lazy loading means that your images only get loaded when they need to be viewed. This prevents the simultaneous loading of all your page’s images as soon as a user lands on the page.

One part of your site where lazy loading can be effective is on a search results page. If a user is searching for a particular type of product, it is likely that they will encounter a results page including images of several products.

If you implement a lazy loading solution, the page won’t send HTTP requests for all of these images at once. Instead, each image will be loaded as the user scrolls down the page. This prevents the loading of images that a user will never view.

Use a CDN

A content delivery network, or a CDN, is a group of servers which makes your site load quickly for users in different regions. Each server is placed in a tactical location, and is equipped with basic content from your site such as HTML, JavaScript and CSS.

Your site speed will improve as each user will be able to access the server closest to them, where some of the most important information is already cached.

The image on the right depicts a CDN network in action, while the image on the left shows how one server has to work to reach browsers in multiple locations.

Optimize CSS and JavaScript

Your CSS is pretty much the code responsible for the rendering of your site. It loads before other components of the page, and the code should be efficient in terms of its layout. If there is too much code, the site will take a longer time to load.

Remove unnecessary code. Sometimes there are duplicate snippets of CSS. Going through code manually for your entire site may be an impossible task, so there are tools such as UnusedCSS to help you get the job done.

Minify/compress your CSS. This means making the code as ‘streamlined’ as possible by removing unnecessary indents and line breaks, for example. Reducing the amount of data to be processed makes the page load quicker. You can use tools such as JavaScript Minifier to do this.

Give your database a clean

If you are running a fairly large e-commerce site, your database is naturally going to be overrun with product details, customer information and order history. If you notice your site starting to slow down, you might want to conduct a little tidy-up.

Eliminating products that are unavailable, inactive customer profiles or completed orders from years gone by, will help take a load off your database’s shoulders.

Smashing Magazine recommends executing optimization commands such as “OPTIMIZE TABLE orders;” in phpMyAdmin or phpMiniAdmin.

Check your homepage

Your homepage welcomes visitors to your site, and it is their first point of contact. This is one place you really don’t want things to be lagging. Research by Mobify suggests that you can gain a 1.11% conversion rate increase by reducing waiting time on your homepage by 100ms.

You can ensure a quicker version of your homepage by doing away with any unnecessary buttons or graphics, and prioritizing the load time of content that appears “above the fold”. This means any content which is visible to the user as soon as they land on the page – not content which requires scrolling to be seen.

Also, make sure that the most crucial HTML loads first. You don’t want your homepage to be loading a sidebar before the main text.

There are plenty of little tweaks you can make to optimize your e-commerce site’s load speed, and judging by the potential conversion uplifts, it will be worth it!

Steve Max
Steve Maxhttp://www.webzando.com/
A long time digital entrepreneur, Steve has been in digital marketing since 2010 and over the past decade he has built & executed innovative online strategies for leading companies in car insurance, retail shopping, professional sports and the movie & television industry.


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