It’s a widely held industry standard that if a website takes longer than three seconds to load, potential customers will click away to the competition. So how do today’s top retailers measure up when it comes to site loading speed — and how does your ecommerce website compare?
A recent study performed tests on the top 50 websites in four industries, including ecommerce, to see how quickly their home pages loaded. The study found an average site loading speed of 3.1 seconds. However, nearly half of the top 50 shopping sites load in 3 seconds or less. Amazon and IKEA, for example, both loaded in 1.8 seconds on average.
In addition to its effect on customers, site loading speed is one of the factors Google considers in ranking websites and search results. Google’s PageSpeed Insights is an easy way to see how fast your site loads.
How to speed up your website
Redirects lead to additional HTTP requests, which delays page rendering. In order to improve site load times, be sure to minimize redirects or avoid them altogether.
Avoid unnecessary plug-ins
Although they have some benefits when working with certain types of content, plug-ins can also cause page crashes and security breaches. Plug-ins can also pile up when you upgrade to new plug-ins and don’t remove the old ones. Regularly go through your website to clean up inactive plug-ins and remove those you don’t need.
Reformat and compress images
When you reduce the file size of an image, you reduce the time it takes to download that image, which also increases the number of images that can be cached. (Don’t worry: This won’t affect image quality.) This is especially important for ecommerce sites, which of necessity include lots of images.
Plan your homepage wisely
The most important page of your website is the homepage — if that one loads quickly, users will be more forgiving of other pages that load more slowly. Weed out unnecessary content from your homepage, including text, images and plug-ins. Focus on the essentials.
Choose the right web host and plan
You need a web host that can handle the size and contents of your ecommerce site while also providing adequate load times. If you signed up for shared hosting when you first launched your ecommerce site and your site has grown since then, you may need a different solution. Talk to your web host about solutions that can help with your site loading speed.
Why should I make my eCommerce website faster?
Improved User Experience
Website speed directly impacts user experience. Fast-loading pages ensure that visitors can quickly browse through products, view images, and complete transactions without frustration. A seamless and efficient user experience increases customer satisfaction and reduces bounce rates, leading to higher conversion rates.
Higher Search Engine Rankings
Search engines like Google consider website speed as a ranking factor. Faster websites are more likely to appear higher in search results, increasing visibility and organic traffic. Improved rankings can lead to more exposure, attracting a larger audience to your e-commerce site.
Increased Sales and Revenue
A fast e-commerce website contributes to higher sales and revenue. Quick-loading pages reduce the likelihood of visitors abandoning their shopping carts due to slow load times. This, in turn, improves conversion rates, encourages repeat purchases, and boosts customer loyalty.
With the rise of mobile shopping, a fast website is crucial for mobile users. Slow-loading pages on mobile devices can deter potential customers and negatively impact the mobile shopping experience. A fast e-commerce website that is mobile-optimized ensures a seamless and responsive browsing and purchasing experience across devices.
In the competitive e-commerce landscape, a fast website sets your business apart from competitors. Customers appreciate and gravitate towards websites that provide fast and efficient experiences. By prioritizing website speed, you can gain a competitive edge, attract more customers, and foster loyalty.
Enhanced SEO Performance
Website speed is a critical factor in search engine optimization (SEO). Faster websites tend to have lower bounce rates, higher average session durations, and increased engagement metrics—all of which positively impact SEO performance. A fast e-commerce website can help improve organic visibility and drive more targeted traffic to your online store.
In summary, a fast e-commerce website is crucial for delivering an optimal user experience, achieving higher search engine rankings, increasing sales and revenue, catering to mobile users, gaining a competitive advantage, and enhancing overall SEO performance. Investing in website speed optimization is a worthwhile endeavor for any e-commerce business.