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How To Speed Up Your eCommerce Website


We hear a lot of story about ecommerce website slow loading issue, which ultimately impact negatively. Before we learn How to Speed Up eCommerce Site, we might want to know, how a slow loading website negatively impact your business bottom line.

A website is said to have a high success when it load fast.

Page loading issue is obviously play a crucial part of any website’s User Experience (UX) & Search Engine Ranking. And many times we neglect this critical issue to serve better aesthetic design, a new nifty slider, add more images or unnecessary function to a site.

Imagine, You have great product showcase & content on your website, but if the site take longer than 10 seconds to load, most of your user might leave your website & all your efforts will be unseen by potentials buyers.

Design VS UX


Unfortunately, your website visitors don't pay much attention to all the bells and whistles you want to add to your websites, but they care about how fast your website load. And if your website doesn’t load quickly, you will lose potential visitors, conversions and off-course the purpose of the website “Revenue”.

Additional negative impact is website loading time is a high important factor when it comes to ranking especially Google search ranking & advertisement. Google publicly announced site speed is an important organic ranking factor among their other 200+ factors, in their Webmaster Central Blog at April 09, 2010.

Matthew "Matt" Cutts the former head of the web spam team at Google wrote a follow up article about website speed in his personal blog "speeding up your website is a great thing to do in general. Visitors to your site will be happier (and might convert more or use your site more), and a faster web will be better for all.

Statements made by other Googlers, John Mueller - Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google.

We do say we have a small factor in there for pages that are really slow to load where we take that into account.
We’re seeing an extremely high response-time for requests made to your site (at times, over 2 seconds to fetch a single URL). This has resulted in us severely limiting the number of URLs we’ll crawl from your site.

If you have a slow ecommerce website Google might crawl the site slower and that’s really bad – especially if you are adding new products, blog posts or making changes to your website.

I found similar statement on Bing Webmaster Guidelines, in their statement the call it "PAGE LOAD TIME (PLT)" & Bing direction about PageSpeed is "This element has a direct impact on the satisfaction a user has when they visit your website. Slow load times can lead to a visitor simply leaving your website, seeking their information elsewhere. If they came from our search results that may appear to us to be an unsatisfactory result that we showed. Faster is better, but take care to balance absolute page load speed with a positive, useful user experience."

A Very interesting recent (April 4, 2016) speed experiments ran at Forbes has concluded:

Over the testing period users read fewer articles each day whilst experiencing delays loading each web page.

In this article I’m going to dig some essential ecommerce Industry Stats regarding Webpage Speed. Because speedy sites do better than slower ones, we’ll talk about stats relevant to ecommerce website. Then, we’ll dive a little deeper and give you 11 Actionable Tips on How to Improve your eCommerce Website Load Times.

Research by Radware Ltd. suggests that slow load times are having an increased impact on e-commerce websites: assuming a conversion rate of 2% and an average spend of $115 per person, as the Centre for Retail Research  estimates, a site that gets 100,000 visitors a day would lose over $130,000 a day if 57% of its visitors bounced from frustration over slow loading.


Page Speed Affects eCommerce Website Conversion Rates



According to  Radware, a one second delay in page time equals a 7% loss in conversions, 11% fewer page views and a 16% decrease in customer satisfaction.

Webperformance Today  found that for every one second of improvement, Walmart.com experienced a 2% jump in conversions.

  • The median top 100 ecommerce home page takes 5.5 seconds to render feature content.
  • The median page has increased in size by 13.59% in one year.
  • Forty-eight percent of the top 100 retail sites fail to compress images.


Today, a fast-loading website is a necessity; isn't a luxury. A website load fast should improve your visitor satisfaction levels and the number of conversions, for instance. 50% of Customers expect a site to load in less than 2 seconds, even majority of them tend to close a website that isn’t loaded within 3 seconds. Almost 75% of online shoppers who’ve trouble with websites speed performance say they won’t return to the site to buy again. And obviously they would also recommend their friends not to buy or go through those websites.

John: Joe, Where you get the awesome shoe?

Joe: I first tried to buy it from abcdeal, but the site load too slow; so I bought it from xyzdeal.

OK, what does it mean? It means, abcdeal had a potential customer joe (may be joe will never come back to that website), but lost as it’s site load slowly & the site lost Joe’s friend’s too.

So, how can i improve my eCommerce site speed?

In this article, I will explain you step by step guide to increase the speed of your eCommerce website.

Step 1: Test Your eCommerce Website Loading Speed


To improve your website speed, you first have to determine why it is slow. In order to understand that, run your website though a speed test. It’ll help you discover the areas you need to improve & current state of your website speed & performance.

There are quite a few decent (and free) site speed checkers available online. I like  Google PageSpeed Insights Most. With this free Google Tools, you can test your website's mobile & desktop devices load time of individual pages. The tools also analyze website performance & give you actionable suggestions to make your website faster.

Google PageSpeed Insights Tools

Visit the site, enter your site URL and run the test. It’ll grade your website 0-100 for mobile & desktop user performance & experience.

Another great tool I would like to introduce you is  Pingdom, Try their  Pingdom Website Speed Test, This tool measures the performance of your website by Load time, Page size, & number of HTTP requests. Pingdom shows you how long it takes to load your site on the first visit (how long it would load for someone who never visited your site before) and for the second visit (how long it would load if someone visited your site before and has assets cached in their browser). It also shows you how many http requests it needs to load your page.

In short, it is an easy-to-use tool to help webmasters, site owners and web developers everywhere optimize the performance of their websites.

Speed Test & Accessibility Tools I Recommend

PageSpeed Insights by Google -  https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/

Pingdom -  http://tools.pingdom.com/fpt/

Website Report by University of Illinois -  http://fae.cita.uiuc.edu/

WebPagetesthttps://www.webpagetest.org/

Step 2: Reduce HTTP Requests

A Website, essentially, is a collection of data files. Now, imagine that a separate HTTP request is required each time the browser needs to fetch a file from your server. If the browser continues to get your site’s files in this manner, the site will take a long time to load.

So, How to reduce the number of HTTP requests?

Use CSS Sprites: Despite the scary name, a CSS Sprite is just a group of images combined into one. For Example, if you need to load 2 versions of the same button (active and inactive), you can bundle them together. This way, it’ll take just one HTTP request to acquire the entire CSS sprite (image bundle), and then you can display the appropriate image depending on the situation.

Enable KeepAlive Connections On Your Server: Usually, browsers can make one HTTP request per one HTTP connection. However, if you have KeepAlive connections enabled, the browser will be capable of sending multiple HTTP requests (data requests) over the same TCP connection.

Step 3: Optimize Images

In almost 87% of my personal project, I found images are the culprit for website slow loading issue. Don’t be careless with your images; think about how you can optimize them. It’s ok if you want to showcase your products by high resolution images, but try to optimize/resize them as much as possible.

According to Radware, roughly 45% of top 100 e-commerce sites on the web don’t bother to compress their images.

You can use free tools like tinypng.com or tinyjpg.com to dramatically reduce the size of your images, while the image quality defer silently.

Step 4: Reduce the Number of Plugins Installed

You know, plugins add extra functionality to your web store’s pages, by including one or more CSS & JavaScript files (Think about Review Widget, Social Media Sharing Plugin, Pop Ups, and Newsletter Signups, etc…) integrated with your website template.

As long as the plugins installed & stay on active mode (doesn’t mean you really use it), your web store CMS loads those plugins CSS & JavaScript files in non-render-blocking way. Meaning, the browser loads them via HTTP  request & spends some time to loading those unnecessary files.

What is a problem though: Browser loads those files even if you don’t use the plugin. As long as it is installed, it will continue to load the files.

So, I really recommending you uninstalling unnecessary plugins for improving your web store’s performance. Not the ones you are using of course. But absolutely, please do remove the ones you are currently not using.

Step 5: Choose a Optimized Template

Unfortunately, your online store’s performance is somewhat dependent on which template you have installed. A template that is optimized for performance includes all styles in one CSS file, and includes all necessary JavaScript in one JavaScript file, loaded in a non-blocking way (or at least keep it minimal). A template that is not optimized for performance has multiple CSS and JavaScript files, and loads them in a render-blocking way.

So before you buy a template, I recommend you to test the template with Google Pagespeed Tools and see the performance score.

Step 6: Optimize the JavaScript and CSS files

OK. Now comes the tricky part. If you already have a template installed on your website, and you don’t want to buy & install another template, but still want to improve your site’s speed & performance, you have to manually optimize your files.

Here is How To:

You can make your files smaller by Minifying JavaScript & CSS files with any of the available third-party tools:



Step 7: Use a Fast and Reliable Hosting Servers


Your hosting company and package have a huge impact on the speed of your eCommerce site. Make sure your web host’s servers run well and can handle your busiest times. For example, you’re running a flash sale. Can your host handle the added traffic quickly and efficiently? If not, find another web host.

One more thing to consider is that it’s best to get a Dedicated IP Address for your account. As per GoDaddy, a dedicated IP could “ensure faster response during periods of high traffic load.” (If your site uses an SSL certificate, this means there already is a dedicated IP allocated for you, since it’s required to establish an SSL connection.)

8. Use a PHP Accelerator


What PHP Accelerators do is increase the speed of PHP Application, which leads to “improvements of web page generation throughput by factors of 2 to 7.”

Although it’s hard to imagine that no such accelerator is installed on your server yet, check with your webmaster/web host to make sure there is one. Some widely-used PHP accelerators include:

If you have a site written in a programming language other than PHP, most likely you won’t need an accelerator for it. (For instance, no corresponding tool is required for a Java  Based Website.)

Step 9: Use GZIP Compression

Gzip Compression allows the server to compress site files when returning them to the browser, which reduces the size of files exchanged and, of course, shortens the time it takes to load a page. According to Google, this feature can reduce the file size of one’s pages and stylesheets up to 70-90%.

GZIP Facts:
  • GZIP performs best on text-based assets: CSS, JavaScript, HTML.
  • All modern browsers support GZIP compression and will automatically request it.
  • Your server must be configured to enable GZIP compression.
  • Some CDNs require special care to ensure that GZIP is enabled.

Ask your web host if their server support GZIP Compression. It can greatly speed up your eCommerce site by reducing files size without ruining image quality or the site itself.

Step 10: Include Breakpoints for Mobile

A breakpoint is the point at which your webpage will resize or respond to suit the best browsing configuration for the screen that your customer is viewing.

If a webpage doesn’t offer multiple breakpoints for different screen resolutions, the viewing quality of the site will be negatively impacted.

11. Use a Content Delivery Network

A content deliverynetwork (CDN), essentially, is a network of additional servers used to deliver site content to the user. The beauty of using a CDN is that such content as your videos, images, CSS files, or JavaScript can be gathered from multiple servers at one (even a closer one to your user!), which spurs their delivery.

You see, a browser can establish only a limited number of simultaneous connections to one domain. But this limitation is lifted if you use a CDN. Popular content delivery networks include:
It should be mentioned, however, that content delivery networks don’t come cheap, and you may choose to exhaust other means of accelerating your site before you turn to a CDN provider.

Be sure to consult a Professional SEO Consultant on how a CDN may affect your traffic from image search first.

As we have seen, website load speed directly correlate to user experience & search engine ranking. If you care about your search engine rankings, and the experience of your users, you should be improving performance of your website.

If you think that your website still too slow, let me know; I'll inspect your website & help you speed up.

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