5 Low Cost Ways to Explode Your Ecommerce Site Loading Speed

Written by neatly.io on 7th June 2016

What’s the one thing every Ecommerce store owner is chasing?

Higher conversions and sales, right?

In their pursuit to drum up more business, store owners will obsess over product images, pick and prod at their website design, and sweat over product descriptions and headlines. And rightfully so, all those actions play an important role in lifting conversions. But there’s one powerfully simple element that gets neglected…

Loading speed.

Loading speed may seem like a small thing, but it can have a meteor-like impact on your conversions.

Pages that load faster have better engagement, stronger conversions, a friendlier user experience, and better search engine rankings. Research about loading speed and conversions has been shocking. It shows that:

Sites with 3 second load times get 22% fewer page views, 22% lower conversions and a 50% higher bounce rate than sites with 1 second load times.

And sites with 5 second load times are worse. They get 35% less page views, a 105% higher bounce rate and 35% less conversions.

Business' could lose up to $2.5 million in sales due to poor load time
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So, “if your Ecommerce store generates $100,000 per day, you could lose up to $2.5 million in sales every year for just a 1-second page delay.” OK, maybe that’s an extreme example, but it goes to show that slow websites can harm your business.

There’s a huge list of ways to increase your Ecommerce site loading speed. But in today’s post, we’ll explore cost effective methods for creating explosively fast loading speeds that shoot up conversions.

1. Slash Burdensome HTTP Requests

http request
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Whenever a visitor loads one of your pages, additional supportive files have to be loaded as well, like CSS files, Javascripts, design images, etc. When these files are requested, they create extra requests for the browser to deal with.

These are known as HTTP requests.

You know how your wifi screeches to a snail’s pace when there’s multiple users on the same network? Well that’s (kind of) what happens when your site has to manage loads of HTTP requests. The more requests your site makes, the slower it will load.

To quickly boost your loading speed, simply strip away unnecessary scripts, plugins, and widgets that aren’t critical for business. Just following this one step can have a shocking impact on your loading speed.

2. Compress Files Using Gzip

The bigger your files, the longer they’ll take to load. This is where Gzip compression comes in. It’s a bit like when you zip up large files to send by email. It’s the same principle but for websites. Here’s what it looks like:

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It allows you to effectively budget your bandwidth, and speed up your site by compressing files on your website. So instead of sending 100KB of data, the file can be compressed to 10KB, then passed from the server to the browser and then re-opened.

3. Use Browser Caching

When a user visits your Ecommerce site, browser caching stores webpage resource files on the computer. Using browser caching is when a webmaster instructs a browser on how resources should be dealt with.

When a browser displays your webpage it has to load multiple page elements – like your logo, your CSS files, images, and other resources. Browser caching allows your site to “remember” resources the browser has already loaded.

This prevents the user from having to load the same file repeatedly, resulting in faster loading times and more efficient use of bandwidth.

4. Use a Content Delivery Network

If you run an Ecommerce site, chances are you’re going to be attracting traffic from across the globe. And when improving user experience for international visitors, a Content Delivery Network (CDN) is essential.

A CDN places servers between the person browsing and your website. It stores caches locally so that your website is presented much faster.

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So, if your main website is hosted in the US and someone from UK views it, they’ll be presented the copy that – in a network aspect, not geographical – is closest to them.

5. Switch To Faster Hosting

The loading speed tactics we’ve looked at so far all involve some kind of input. But if you want the optimum loading speed for your site, you might need to switch to faster hosting that’s either:

  • VPS (shared) hosting
  • SSD cloud hosting

So, what’s the difference?

A VPS is a budget-friendly option, it allocates a specified amount of computing resources to each client. If server activity jumps up, the system might not be able to handle the additional inflow and can slow down – or in extreme cases, crash.

If you want reliability and powerful functionality, then SSD cloud hosting is a more costly, but reliable choice. With SSD cloud hosting, websites are hosted on a high availability infrastructure.

This just means that your data is stored on multiple servers so that there is no one, single point of failure. If a server in the infrastructure should have a complete crash then there is no issue for you as your data is stored across other servers and there is no downtime.


Tony Messer is an online entrepreneur, author and founder of UK web hosting company Pickaweb. He loves to work with business owners and other entrepreneurs to develop long term strategies to grow their businesses. You can find him on Linkedin, Google + and Twitter as @AntonyMesser.