One Second To Greatness: How To Optimize Load Time to Increase Sales

By Anshey Bhatia • February 17, 2016

We all know that load time is crucial, but we don’t know how crucial it is until we see the numbers. For instance, if an eCommerce site is making $10,000 per day, a 1 second page delay could potentially cost you $250,000 in lost sales every year (~7% of sales). (Kissmetrics).

What can you do to make sure that your store is fully optimized? Here are the core items to ensure a fast load time:

Make Your Mobile Site Lighter Than Desktop

Mobile site sales are skyrocketing for everyone — except you, if your mobile site speed isn’t good. You can review your site speed on mobile specifically at WooRank.com. An easy trick is to remove aspects of the mobile version of your site, including either images or even entire sections altogether. The fewer images on mobile, the better.

Optimize Your Images

As mentioned earlier, site with a lot of photos tend to have slower load times. However, online stores need those photos to show off their great products and provide information to potential customers. To fix this problem, your images need to be compressed and load dynamically. This is a mistake that a great deal of large businesses overlook, as 48% of the top 100 retail websites don’t compress their images, according to Radware research.

Using a tool like ImageOptim will do the trick on the optimization side. Work with your development team so that each page doesn’t need all images loaded to show the page, but uses dynamic JavaScript to load images following the page load. This slight adjustment, especially on category pages and product pages, can have a huge difference on sales.

Choose The Right Platform

In a past post, I wrote about the different eCommerce platform options. Shopify is the speediest eCommerce solution, and hosts your website for you while keeping load time in common (fewer DNS requests, caching best practices, etc.). While that doesn’t mean a server based solution like Woocommerce or Magento will be too slow for your store’s needs, it does mean that you’ll have to be more aware of those load time considerations versus a hosted platform like Shopify.

Test Your Theories

A/B testing is the best way to make sure you are utilizing your website to its full potential. Think that your customers might click on a round button more often instead of a square? Try it out and let the data speak for itself. For more information on how to start using A/B testing, check out this full guide from Kissmetrics, and start with some basic (and free) tests from Optimizely to get going.

Get the Facts

Using Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool is a simple way to figure out if your website needs further optimization. After quickly analyzing your web page and its content, the tool will provide recommendations to improve the speed, for both desktop and mobile viewing. This tool measures load times above-the-fold (the amount of time it takes for the above-the-fold content to load after the user requests a new page) and the time for the full page to load. The tool provides a score from 0 to 100 points. To know your page is in good shape, you should hope to have a score of 85 or above. If you’re unsure of where to start, plugging your URL into PageSpeed Insights is a good first step.

In Closing

While optimizing your online store doesn’t need to be the first item on your eCommerce to-do list, it is an extremely vital aspect of your site. Don’t take too long to optimize it, otherwise your customers will optimize their shopping experience by going to a competitor site.

Anshey Bhatia

Founder of Verbal+Visual. E-commerce nerd. People connector. Travel junkie. Tech lover.

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