Why Fixing Your Slow Website is a Priority for E-commerce
Have you ever measured the page speed of your e-commerce website? If not, you could be losing customers or sabotaging your Google search engine rankings without even realizing it.
Does your website load in two seconds or less? Research shows that’s what users expect. If it takes more than three seconds to load, expect 40% of users to leave your site.
Modern consumers are sensitive to problems with user experience. They know there’s always a better experience a click away—either at another niche seller’s site or with a reliable e-commerce giant like Amazon. And your users aren’t the only ones frustrated by page load time.
When Google crawls your site to evaluate how it’ll rank your pages, a slow loading time will cause it to de-prioritize your site. Even if your images are sparkling and your words provoking, your customers might never even have the chance to be delighted if Google doesn’t make your site discoverable. Fast-loading pages are one of Google’s top SEO ranking factors.
If you want to keep traffic, users, and conversions flowing, you need to make your slow website faster.
How to Measure Page Speed
It’s easy to assume your slow website is actually running just fine. When you run it on your computer, you might not find yourself waiting any longer than you would for any other site.
But that’s not an accurate measure of page speed. Your customers will be using different browsers and devices to view your website. Believe it or not, some people still use Internet Explorer—not even the newest version of it. Leaving your site to be slow on some browsers means abandoning a subsection of users to a slow website and frustrating experience.
On the other end of the technology spectrum, a page that loads quickly on a desktop computer may not load quickly on a mobile device. Mobile users are just as likely to make purchases on mobile devices as desktops, so a slow website on mobile is just as untenable as a slow website on desktop.
Google’s PageSpeed Insights is the best place to start when you’re trying to understand page speed. With PageSpeed Insights, you can get a page speed score and get suggestions to make your website faster.
To get even more help, you might also want to consider using other tools to complement PageSpeed Insights, such as GTmetrix or Screaming Frog.
How to Improve Page Speed
Once you know your page speed, you can take appropriate steps to improve it.
Bloat is one of the most common reasons you end up with a slow website. Especially for e-commerce sites with lots of items to display, this might mean a glut of images (especially if they’re high resolution). Be careful about the amount of images you use and run each image through an image compression tool, such as tinypng, before uploading.
By working with your web developer, you can address these factors and come up with a set of best practices for avoiding issues with your e-commerce site. Going forward, you can make website maintenance a regular part of your workflow and address issues before they hurt your site speed.
If you run a WordPress site for instance, WordPress plugins can be great for improving it. But work with your developer to make sure you only use the best WordPress plugins and cut out the ones that slow down your site more than help it.
When you take the steps to measure and improve page speed, you set yourself up for e-commerce success. Improving a formerly slow website, however, isn’t a one-and-done deal.
You should regularly check your page speed, since your website may change over time, especially as you add or remove content. Set a reminder on your calendar to check your page speed once a month, and you’ll always be ahead of the game.