Having a slow website impacts sales negatively. Estimates show as little as a 1 second delay in load time can lead to a 7% fall in ecommerce sales. Therefore, if your website is generating £50k in sales/day, a 1 second delay costs £1.25m per year in lost ecommerce sales.
How Do I Know If My Sight Is Running Slowly?
There are a number of tools you can use to benchmark your site, and see if it is running slowly or not. One of the easiest ones to use is Google’s Test My Site, which tests loading time (particularly on mobile). It also gives you actionable advice on how to make your site faster.
Generally Speed Up Your Site
If you are concerned with the speed of your site, here are some areas that you may want to look at in more detail:
Reduce Page Weight
Page weight effects load times, no surprise there. Having a “heavy” site means that you are often excluding mobile users (or those in other countries who do not have as reliable infrastructure), and therefore potential customers.
To reduce page weight, look at compressing elements such as images or other resources. This can often be done cheaply, to some degree, by installing apps designed at reducing page weight.
Reduce Number Of Requests
Every time someone visits your website, they have to download the code from your servers. If you have a lot of traffic, this means a lot of requests, and it can slow down load times, particularly during busy periods. Think of it as a web rush hour traffic.
To reduce the number of requests you can leverage browser caching. Here you are basically storing parts of your website on your users own browsers. Repeat visitors will load parts of your site from their browser, rather than your server. Therefore, fewer people trying to get data from your servers. Fewer requests, faster load times, higher sales.
Make A Quick First Impression
One of the most effective ways to load your page as quickly as possible is to reduce the server response time. Quite simply, upgrade. If your site is hosted on a slow server that is struggling to cope with the traffic, upgrade to a better package.
Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)
AMP allows you to create pages that load quickly specifically on mobile browsers. This helps to provide a better mobile user experience. AMPs usually load faster than most, even highly optimised, sites. A reduced load time cuts the amount of time between when someone clicks and when they see your page. This improves bounce rate and increases conversions.
You can find out more about AMP here.
How To Load An International Site Faster
While you may be aware of how important speed is to ecommerce, you may not be aware of the substantial difference between consumers accessing the site locally vs internationally. You might be thinking: isn’t it the same thing?
No. If someone in the US is trying to access a website hosted in the UK, they have to go through a lot more wire than they would if that same website were hosted in the US. Which, anyone who has made a transatlantic phone call will know, takes longer.
So, what is the solution? A CDN.
What is a CDN?
A CDN (or content delivery network) is essentially where a website is copied onto a network of servers internationally. If someone wants to access that website, they can make contact with the version of the website that is local to them. This process is invisible to the customer, but dramatically cuts load time, resulting in an increase in sales.