Optimize loading time
People shop online because it is easy and fast. Therefore you should make sure your online store IS easy and fast! Improving the loading time of your website will have an enormous positive impact on your conversion rate (turning visitors into buyers). No one likes to wait for a slow loading page. Everything should be on the screen within 2-3 seconds max.
Because people today shop more and more with their smartphone, loading time has become even more important. Google also loves quick online stores and doesn’t hide the fact that fast online stores will be shown higher in the search result rankings!
Use browser caching
To ensure that browsers do not have to process unnecessary large amounts of data when loading a page, you can indicate that browsers may use files they already saved in their cache earlier. This will reduce the amount of HTTP requests. An additional advantage of such a measure is that it reduces the bandwith of your hosting – and thus reduces the hosting costs.
Enable Gzip compression
When you enable Gzip, your website is first compressed by the webserver and then sent to the visitor. Because zipping and unzipping is quicker than sending data back and forth, this makes your website faster. This measure impacts most on loading speed for bigger/heavier online stores.
Optimize your pictures
You can optimize the whole code of your website but definitely don’t forget about your pictures. It is now possible to diminish the size of your pictures by 3 to 4 times without losing quality. When this is done your visitor has less to download which also increases the loading speed.
Save various picture sizes
Most e-commerce software already does this for you but it is good to check. A picture in the category page may be much smaller than the picture on the product page. The images on the product page can be likewise smaller than a picture in full screen.
Good e-commerce software automatically makes 3-4 different sizes of the product pictures you upload to show them in the right place. The full-size image of 2 MB should only be loaded when the visitor wants to see all details.
Combine all pictures in a CSS sprite
By combining pictures that are loaded on each page in one CSS sprite it is only necessary to load one instead of multiple versions of one image. This reduces the amount of downloadable bytes and the amount of server requests.
Use a Content Delivery Network
Do you operate online store(s) in multiple various countries? By hosting your online store on a CDN platform your online store will be hosted on servers on multiple locations in the world. The server closest to the user will be used. This means that someone in France will load the online store from a French server and in the Netherlands from a Dutch server, etc
Check your speed with Yslow or PageSpeed Insights
Checking to what extent your online store is optimized is easily done with the YSlow browser plug-in – it shows handily which areas could use improvement. Google’s PageSpeed Insights offers a quick check as well. GTmetrix is also a good tool when you want to research the loading speed of your online store.