3 Ways to Increase the Loading Speed of Your Ecommerce Site
It's happened to all of us. You've pulled up a page and it's loading...loading...still loading. And what happens next? You probably get a notification about a script error that's causing the page to run too slow, causing you to give up and exit the page. Sure, you've been on the receiving end of this but do you, as an ecommerce store owner, want to be on the sending end of it?
The easy, and obvious, answer is no.
We all know that there are many factors that can hurt your bottom line, cart abandonment for one, but slow loading speeds don't help at all either. In fact, it is reported that 40% of users abandon web pages that load too slowly. That's almost half of the consumers who visit a given page! Making sure the loading speed of your page is up to par isn't only a way to reduce the amount of frustrated customers, but it is also a way to ensure that you gain more customers.
Google takes loading speeds into consideration when they're ranking websites. If they rank you lowly based on your speed, who is going to want to visit you? More importantly, Google takes mobile pages into consideration when ranking websites. Believe it or not, in 2019, there are still many sites that are not optimized for mobile viewing. A good thing to do for your site is have accelerated mobile pages (AMPs) that are optimized for peak performance on a mobile device.This isn't the only improvement you can make. There are many other ways to increase the loading speed of your store and they're not too difficult to manage.
1. Reduce Image Sizes
It's virtually impossible to have an ecommerce site with products without having images on your page. No one can buy the products if they don't know what they're getting. The issue with images is that they're often times different sizes and, when they're too large, they cause the page to load too slowly. Many sites have built-in ways to reduce image sizing while maintaining quality and clarity, but almost half of ecommerce sites don't! Don't let this be you. There are free tools and sites that will help you compress your images so that consumers can see them well while allowing your page to load efficiently.
2. Reduce Redirects and Broken Links
Redirects and, sometimes, broken links can hurt your search engine optimization (SEO). Remember, that's what helps your site get found on search engines more frequently. They also increase the amount of HTTP requests, which can cause your page to load slowly. Shopify has a built-in URL redirect function, but not all sites have such a thing. In a perfect world, we wouldn't have redirects or broken links, but alas, this is not a perfect world.
There are free tools available to help with finding all the redirects on your site. In regards to broken links, sometimes that can't be avoided if someone entered a URL incorrectly. A good way to fix that is have a standard "HTTP 404" error page, that will help point consumers in the right direction. There, however, ways to correct the broken links that can be avoided by using free tools in that regard too.
3. Organize Tracking with Google Tag Manager
How many times have I said that Google is your friend? Google is giving you the codes necessary to hack its system. Use them! Whether it's the Google Search Console or Google Trends, there are no shortage of ways that Google helps you create and manage the best site possible. Google Tag, essentially, is a way to manage the scripts and codes on your site and perform various analytics to ensure that the tags are being used most efficiently on your site. Google Tag allows you to do all of this without having to modify code. Additionally, if you're already employing the use of multiple tag managers, it can decrease site speed just having all of those. With Google Tag, you can manage all of those tags in one place and save yourself some time. When life hacks are provided, heed them.
Honestly, there are dozens of ways to reduce the speed of your ecommerce site. There's no excuse for it to run slowly. I know running an ecommerce site can seem daunting, but you're in it to win it. This is not an instance of slow and steady winning any races. You want to take off and never look back! Give your consumers the best of your site and they'll keep returning for more.