E-commerce is a highly competitive market and the speed of the website plays a critical role that helps to stay ahead of other competitors. Apart from appealing offers and product selections, user experience also becomes a key factor. The User Experience mainly includes the friendliness of the website, reliability of the website and its speed. Out of these three, the speed of a website i.e. page load time is the determining factor that has a direct impact on sales and conversions. Following are the proven methods to improve the E-commerce site’s performance that actually work.
Tips to improve the E-commerce site’s performance
1. Use Fast and Reliable Hosting: Hosting service and infrastructure determine the overall performance of the e-commerce site, especially during peak traffic days. A proper hosting service provider which guarantees a good uptime must be selected. Out of the available hosting options, one which ensures highest uptime must be chosen for an e-commerce website since the users could be visiting the site round the clock. Also, performance and response time of the hosting provider must be evaluated.
Examples include Bluehost, GoDaddy, HostGator, etc.
Page running time should normally be less than 3 seconds unless the business demands the inclusion of rich graphic for the purpose of revenue growth. Examples of tools for measuring the performance of the webpage include Pingdom, WebPageTest, GTmetrix.
3. Implement CDN: Using a CDN (Content Delivery Network) play a vital role in increasing the performance of the website. Utilizing a CDN service allows the contents of the e-commerce website to be stored on multiple servers across the world. This makes it easier to distribute the content to the end users according to their geographic location. This also ensures that each and every user receives the requested data from the nearest geographical server, specific to the user, making the entire running operation a much quicker process.
CDN not only enhances the overall speed of the website but also prevents a website from crashing in case of low bandwidth problems. To incorporate a CDN, register with any of the established CDN providers. There are two ways to incorporate a CDN:
- Choose a web hosting company that provides CDN as an integrated part of their services, such as the WP engine.
- Select a third-party and manually configure the connection between the regular web host and your CDN.
4. Caching and In-memory technology: In-memory technology helps to improve the performance of the e-commerce website. This technology has the ability to temporarily store a full e-commerce product catalog.
The catalog includes all customer information, site-search indexes and other details which would avoid calls on the database. This technology makes use of the RAM available on the server and stores data in it. Input-output operations are generally 10 times faster on a RAM than a hard disk and this increases the performance of the website.
5. Data Compression: Compression methods and software can be used to reduce the size of the data transfer. One such technique is the GZip. Compression is normally done as part of the server configuration and the compressed data is transferred. Browser compatibility needs to be determined before choosing any specific compression technique. Apart from GZip, another popular compression technique is Deflate.
Compression techniques can also be used for images. Images occupy about 50-70% of the webpage’s total weight. Higher the quality of the images hosted on each product page, the higher will be the weight of the page. Lossless compression technique minimizes the image size without reducing quality. Compressing images not only streamlines the page speed but also allows the usage of more images if required.
Empty image sources such as <imgsrc = ‘’> should be checked in the code. These create an excess burden by sending another request to the server. Using Image Sprites consolidates multiple images like icons into one image. This minimizes the number of individual image requests made to the server and enhances the page speed. Uploading images to SpritePad (a free tool) easily creates sprites and provides the code details too.
6. Include Dimension for Images: Specify the height and width of the images. This allows the browser to understand the size of the image and to create placeholders for the same. This enables simultaneous loading of the page and the images. Skipping the dimensions will force the browser to load the images entirely first, before moving on to the next task. This results in more loading time and slower performance. Another technique to be incorporated is using Byte encoded images. Byte encoded images are much faster to transfer.
8. Platform Configuration: Specific configurations are available for most e-commerce platforms which allow enhancing page speed. For example, the CDN Magneto supports file compressions and other methods of speed enhancements.
10. Monitor the website at regular intervals: Monitor the performance of the website periodically and resolve pages that are slow. If any page takes more than 3 seconds to load, check the page for optimizations. Tools like Pingdom, Yahoo’s YSlow, and Google’s PageSpeed Insights assist to measure and diagnose speed of the website.
11. Minimize Redirects and remove broken links: Numerous redirects can impact the performance of any website. Redirects trigger additional HTTP requests and also prolong data transfers. Using a cacheable redirect or DIY solution such as Shopify’s built-in redirects function is a better way to manage redirects.
Broken links for page elements like images, CSS and JS files increase HTTP request and slow down the speed of the site. Tools like Broken Link Checker assist in removing such links. Also, it is a good practice to create a custom 404 error page to assist visitors who enter an incorrect URL for the website. The page can contain links redirecting the customers to the correct site.
13. Minimize usage of Pop-up quick view windows: Pop-up quick windows are normally included to highlight the products of a website. But this adds an extra step to the customer’s path. Such windows can also be clicked by mistake which becomes frustrating to the user. Such windows can also be mistaken for the original product page. It also creates a significant delay in loading the page. Hence it is always recommended to avoid such pop-up windows unless it has a direct impact on sales.
14. Multi-image Slide Shows: A multi-image slideshow is always visually appealing. But the size of quality of the multi-images especially if there are 4-5 slides can significantly increase the load time. One way to resolve this is to restrict the number of slides on the homepage or to cut it down completely. If there is a necessity for a slider, retain it to a maximum of 2-3 slides.
16. Fast and Easy checkout: The final step in any process before a lead becomes a conversion is a checkout. But many customers abandon at this stage due to unexpected shipping costs, price comparisons, delay in loading of the payment sites, etc. Proper streamlining of the checkout process especially for mobile customers will bring a huge impact on the conversion rate and on the site’s performance.
17. Relationship building through Social Media Presence: One of the best methods to showcase any product is to brand it through social media platforms. Sharing proper descriptions and company announcements on social media sites facilitates proper engagement with the customers. It also brings in new prospects. It allows existing customers to spread views about the product through posts, reviews, comments and feedback.