In recent years, the speed of the web has accelerated at an exponential rate, probably because of two reasons – first, because people have improved internet access and secondly, because the expectations of users have grown to a whole new level. Even Google has started using the speed of a website as a ranking factor now. As a result, poor website performance can contribute to a variety of issues including poor user experience.
So, are websites running parallel with the trend of speed? You will be surprised to know the results of research conducted by Radware, saying that the topmost 500 American retail sites have actually become slower by 16% within a year’s time. The average loading time of eCommerce sites has increased from 7.36 seconds to 8.56 seconds.
Now, let’s consider another statistical post that says a business loses approximately 25% of its prospects if the loading time of the site exceeds 4 seconds. If you make people wait for you, you are likely to miss out on a huge chunk of visitors.
Here’s the list of 5 things that can hamper the performance of your eCommerce site:
CMS with Limited Capabilities
First of all, it is imperative to understand the fact that there are some content management systems that are designed to serve specific purposes like publishing, eCommerce etc. Some of the commonly known platforms are:
- WordPress – serves to blog
- Drupal – serves general purpose
- Magento – serves eCommerce industry
Hence, there might be some content management systems that are not flexible enough to support your eCommerce site. Another worst case scenario could happen if they are performing unexpectedly poorly during traffic surges.
It doesn’t imply that using a particular platform can draw surprisingly good results. Sometimes, it could be the combination of two platforms that can help you get desired results. To sum up, it is completely your business preferences that can help you with the selection of a CMS platform.
You can also go for hosted solutions, so invest your time in other productive processes.
A Web Host with Average Performance
If you are running an eCommerce website, you might be aware of situations where you have to deal with the sudden spikes of web traffic, bulk data volumes, and organizing media content, etc.
So, the web host you are going to choose should be reliable and flexible. Another thing to consider in this context is a dedicated IP address for your own account. Some of the commonly referred eCommerce-ready web hosts are InMotion hosting, FatCow, BlueHost, etc.
Increased DNS Lookups
The next element in the queue that can impact the speed of your site is the total number of DNS lookups it takes for loading. Before a browser can actually load a page, it needs to find out the respective IP address similar to the “pretty’ domain name people usually use to find it. Further, the browser connects to the DNS server that performs DNS lookup. For example:
Apple.com is the “pretty” domain name.
And the corresponding IP address is 184.108.40.206
In the ideal scenario, it should take up only one DNS lookup for page loading. But what about the other embodiments like the Twitter feed, YouTube videos, and the content coming from different CDN’s.
All such resources increase the number of DNS lookups needed, which as a result, makes the website slow. If you don’t want this to happen, fetch as little data from outer resources as possible.
Above all, if there’s any important web page, keep the external resources to the minimum.
Not Making Use of Gzip Compression
With Gzip compression, a server is allowed to compress the files of the site when returning them to the browser that not only reduces the size of the files transmitted but also shorten the loading time. According to Google, using this feature can reduce the file size up to 70%.
In addition to gzipping , you can reduce the file size even more by contracting the JS/CSS with the tools like YUI Compressor, SmartOptimizer etc. The process of minification follows the removal of duplicate characters and void spaces from the code.
A broken link is basically the link of a web page that actually doesn’t exist. As every attempt to such a page requires a request from HTTP, it consequently increases the loading time of your page.
So, make it a regular thing to check your site for any broken links. There are some tools available to identify the broken links like W3C’s link checker, Broken Link Checker etc. You don’t need to invest money in such tools.
These are not all. There are much more things in the list that can hamper the performance of your eCommerce website. To know them all, keep an eye out for another version of this article.