Want your e-commerce business to be a success? Developed a concept, design, and ready to launch a marketing campaign? First, make sure to check and improve website performance. Tips in this article ought to help small, medium, and large businesses, whose online presence is suspected of suffering from the poor website performance.
How to Improve the Performance of a Website
So, after checking your website productivity with the help of performance analytics tools, you can start optimizing your website. Keep in mind that there are different factors influencing the site performance. They can be divided into internal and external ones. External factors are:
- Slow e-commerce platform
- Poor internet connection
- Non-optimized web hosting
Internal factors usually include:
- Poor code quality
- Non-optimized/redundant extensions and plugins
- Non-optimized content
- Too many HTTP requests, etc.
Now, let’s see what website performance improvement techniques can be used today for every e-commerce website.
Choose the fastest e-commerce platform
All popular e-commerce platforms, such as Magento, Shopify, and WooCommerce, are quite fast. But often, good indicators disappear as soon as the website is filled with goods and extensions. Undoubtedly, before choosing a platform, you need to check its performance. You can easily do this by testing a demo version of the platform with one of the tools mentioned above.
In most cases, Magento is the best option for launching a medium and large e-commerce business. An additional advantage of the platform is its scalability and flexibility in terms of custom functionality integration. Besides, finding a reliable Magento development team is a must-have step, especially if you want your e-commerce store to stay ahead of the curve.
Every product page must contain the maximum number of high-quality product photos so that the visitor can examine each product in detail. Except for the product photos, each online store contains other media files that are designed to make the website pages more attractive for users.
Images and photos optimization is always crucial, as it reduces the page weight and allows pages to load faster.
Look through the following checklist, which will give you more suggestions on how to improve your website performance by optimizing images.
- Before uploading images to the online store, optimize their size with one of the tools like TyniPNG or TynyJPG.
- Use Lazy Load. With this technique, the images will load as soon as they appear in the viewport.
- Specify the thumbnail image sizes for “best-sellers” and “related products” feeds.
- Use CSS sprites by combining several differently sized images into one.
- Refuse from Hero sliders on the homepage. Replace them with one quality Hero image or video.
Sticking to the above recommendations, you can make your site more lightweight and avoid numerous performance issues.
Find optimized web hosting
Every e-commerce platform closely interacts with the server, so it is vital that the hosting is productive and reliable, and the server is configured correctly.
When choosing a hosting, pay attention to the following points:
- Server location. Choose a server which is located in the country of your potential users and customers. If you sell your products around the world, the best decision would be to use a CDN. Content Delivery Network is a few remote servers that store the content of your online store. When users land on your site pages, all the data is uploaded from the closest server.
- Does your hosting allow the further upgrades? If you plan to expand your online store in the future, consider this point. For example, your hosting should provide an opportunity to switch from a conventional virtual server to a dedicated one.
- Does hosting support main e-commerce features? For example, the support for the SSL certificate is crucial. Today this is a number one feature for secure data transfer between the server and the customer’s browser.
The next way to improve performance is to combine and compress CSS and JS files. Most popular CMSs have a modular architecture, which means that their functionality can be extended with the help of numerous modules and extensions.
Every module consists of CSS and JS files (sometimes counted by tens of them). When the customer tries to open any website page, every such file sends a separate HTTP request to the server to download all media files. By merging and minifying these files, we reduce the number of HTTP requests and, thereby, make the pages load much faster.
Revise third-party extensions and plugins
A multifunctional user-friendly online store is what every e-commerce business owner aspires to. In pursuit of this goal, owners integrate their stores with numerous extensions and modules. If chosen improperly, these modules can cause multiple errors slowing down the site load or even complete website outage.
To fix such problems and avoid them in the future, revise all the custom modules and extensions, and remove those that do not bring you any functional benefits. For example, in Magento, extensions code can be revised, and all the critical errors can be fixed within a couple of hours by experienced Magento developer.
Caching technology is supported and highly welcomed by all popular e-commerce platforms. Sometimes, hosting providers offer such an option.
Caching is used to speed up access to web pages that have already been visited by the user. There are two main types of caching:
- On the side of the server, with the use of specialized scripts
- On the user side, by saving the page content using regular means of a web browser
In both cases, when the user revisits the page, there is no need to send numerous requests to the server again and wait for the response. Instead, all stored data is immediately restored from the browser. This significantly speeds up the page load speed and reduces the load on the server.
Page load speed is a crucial metric for any online store because a slow site causes a great number of problems for e-commerce business.
If you spend money on the promotion of a slow online store, you will never achieve your goal. You will not only lose current sales but also will not get new customers. It is equally important that you, as an e-commerce business owner, will suffer significant reputation losses. Dissatisfied customers will leave your store and order from your competitors.
In most cases, the only issue you can blame is website performance. The best practices described in this article will be a salvation for your business and let you forget about poor website load speed and dramatically low conversion rate.