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5 Hacks to Speed up your Ecommerce Website

5 Hacks to Speed up your Ecommerce Website

Did you know that once your web page takes 4 seconds to load, 25% of people will abandon your website? Or that 47% of online shoppers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less?

Speed is a huge factor in increasing conversions on Ecommerce websites. So how do you make your Ecommerce site faster? Well first you need to know the loading speed of your web pages before you make any changes and there are several free tools you can use to discover this:

Once you know your loading speeds, work through the following 5 hacks and then retest the speed of your pages – you should be happily surprised at the difference these few changes will make to the speed of your website.

  1. Browser caching: Every time a visitor opens a new page on your website or returns to your website, their computer accesses all of the files for your web page from the server. This takes time, so the idea is that information regarding static components of your website, such as headers, sidebars and images are saved to the visitor’s browser. Not having to access the server repeatedly for every component on your web pages, speeds up the loading times.
    Check that your Ecommerce site has caching enabled and if not you can use a plugin or a third party service such as Varnish.
  1. Hosting: Not all hosting companies are equal as some hosts specialize in providing the best environment for Ecommerce websites. It is always best to ask a potential hosting company how they have optimized their servers to suit Ecommerce websites, before you sign on the dotted line.
  2. File compression: There are two points here – First, you can compress your website’s Javascript and CSS files, so they load from the server to the visitor’s browser faster, using GZip.
    However, you also need to compress your images, particularly on an Ecommerce site which can have hundreds of images, causing your loading speed to be considerably reduced. You can compress images using Smush.it or check out CSS Sprites as an alternative.
    Compression can also be achieved by using plugins, such as WP Total Cache or WP Super Minify. Just be aware that these plugins can interfere with other plugins on your website.
  1. Reduce DNS lookups: For every domain name there is an IP address. However, every external component on your web pages has their own IP address, for example YouTube, Facebook, Twitter feeds etc. So every time one of your web pages is loaded, the visitor’s browser has to retrieve all of the relevant IP addresses from the server. Reducing these ‘DNS’ lookups increases your loading time.
    One solution is to load items like YouTube videos to your server, rather than linking to them on your website. Another useful solution is to store these files (images, PDFs, Javascript, videos, CSS, etc.) in external environments, such as Amazon S3 or other content delivery networks. It is important however, to find a balance between the number of DNS lookups and the number of files that are stored external to your website.
  1. Optimize for Mobile: In this day and age with more and more people accessing the internet using their mobile devices, your Ecommerce site must be optimized for mobile devices. For this you have three choices – a native application, a separate mobile site and a responsive design. The best advice here is to discuss your requirements with your website developer who can design the best solution for your company.

Lastly, updates and patches are regularly released for Ecommerce sites and many of them will help speed up your website’s loading times.  So make sure to always keep your software up-to-date.

For more information on increasing your Ecommerce site’s loading times or on Ecommerce design, contact us on (403) 688 5533, email: info(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign)cornerstonedigital.ca or complete our online inquiry form.

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