Evaluating and Improving Your eCommerce Website
How to make your website more performant
Every second it takes your website to load is potentially a customer lost, and in eCommerce particularly, this translates to lost sales. Highly performant websites are required in today’s eCommerce world in order to maximize profits. With these 10 tips for improving website speed and performance, you’ll be able to bring in more traffic, get your message out there, and up your cash flow.
Many of these tips are fairly easy to implement, given some content management system familiarity and a basic understanding of HTML and CSS. For more advanced fixes, however, companies should consider employing a team of experienced developers, like those at Clarity.
1) Enable Caching
Caching speeds up your website by allowing the user’s local computer memory to temporarily store data. The first time a user visits a website, all content, including images and scripts, will need to be downloaded, but with caching enabled, users will only need to download unique content on subsequent visits, rather than redownloading the entire page. This reduces the load on the site’s server and improves the user experience.
2) Resize Images
Overly large images can weigh down your site. Make sure that, while still maintaining image quality, you upload images that are no larger than is necessary for optimal viewing. Then you can use HTML or CSS to set browser-specific image dimensions if needed. Use “optimize for web settings” in your image editing software, and remember to upload images in browser-friendly formats like .jpg or .png. In some cases, you may also want to use CSS in place of images.
3) Simplify Your Content
That animated graphic on your homepage may be cute, but is it really necessary? Evaluate the purpose of each and every item on your site, and recognize that each additional line of code may be increasing your site’s download time. If an item does not have a clear purpose, consider deleting it. By eliminating unnecessary information, you’ll not only improve page speeds, but create a better buying experience for your customer.
4) Consider a CDN
A CDN, or a content delivery network, can be a powerful tool for improving website speeds. CDNs are large sets of connecting servers located all across the globe. If you use a CDN for your website, copies of your website will be stored on different servers in various worldwide locations. When a user accesses your site, they’ll be able to quickly see the version that is stored closest to their IP’s location, decreasing download latency.
5) Evaluate Your Page Templates
If you’re using a content management system like WordPress, you may find that themes and templates include overly complex code that slows down page speed. Consider switching to a simpler design that highlights your products without weighing down your site architecture.
6) Remove Plugins
7) Avoid Redirects
301 or 302 redirects are extremely helpful in that they allow you to send users to a new page after the original page moves or is deleted. This reduces the number of 404 errors on your site. When you have incorporated redirects, however, extra HTTP requests are created, and load time slows. If redirects are absolutely needed, avoid linking to redirect URLs within your pages.
8) Choose a Robust Hosting Service
If you’re using a generic or inexpensive hosting service like GoDaddy, you may experience problems if your site has higher traffic needs. While other hosting services may be more expensive, you’ll likely find it worth your money to invest in a dedicated server with robust support.
9) Look Above The Fold
Above-the-fold content, or the part of your site that users can see before they start scrolling, needs to load more quickly than the rest of your site. Google has specific recommendations for how to improve site speed time by structuring code so that above-the-fold content loads first. Ways to achieve this include dividing CSS into two parts or changing your HTML so that third-party plugins load after other content.
10) Test Regularly
By testing your website speed regularly, you can identify errors like these before they have a negative impact on your business. Tools like Google PageSpeed are excellent resources for analyzing your site's performance. Before you make any changes, start out with running a test on your website so you can establish a baseline for progress. Then, retest periodically to gauge improvements or to identify possible issues with new page elements.
Clarity: A Team of Seasoned Experts
With these tips in hand, your company can easily improve your customers’ site experience. Looking to delve deeper into making your website performant? Clarity’s highly trained developers can assist you through custom web development and Clarity eCommerce™, a robust eCommerce solution. Call or click today to learn how Clarity can boost your eCommerce site’s performance.