Speeding up eCommerce Shop is not a matter of joke, but not impossible. Building an eCommerce shop is relatively simple. Managing one, however, is an entirely different thing.
As your online store begins to grow, and more customers frequent your website on a daily basis, it’s crucial you focus on conversion rate optimization.
In other words, you need to focus on attracting, converting, and retaining new customers.
Today we’re going to take a look at what conversion rate optimization is and why it’s so essential to the success of your online store.
We’re also going to look at one of the easiest and most effective ways to optimize your site for more conversions: increasing website speed and performance.
Speeding up eCommerce Shop: What is Conversion Rate Optimization?
Conversion rate optimization (otherwise known as CRO) is any strategy used to get more people to take action on your website.
This may mean getting more people to follow you on social media, subscribe to your newsletter, or even buy from your online shop.
The point is, you want people to do something very particular when they land on your website.
And, unless you optimize your site so people can convert, you’ll never achieve eCommerce shop success.
One of the best things you can do, before ever using any CRO strategies, is buying a domain name that relates to what you’re selling.
After all, your domain name is what people will come to know and recognize as your brand grows.
If your domain name has nothing to do with your industry or what you’re selling, you risk losing out on tons of potential sales just because people don’t know what you’re all about.
Here are some other quick tips when it comes to buying your eCommerce shop’s domain name:
- Make it easy for people to type, remember, and recognize
- Watch out for trademarks, so you don’t get in legal trouble and have to change your domain name
- Register a unique domain name ending, perhaps related to the country you’re in, to reach the most customers
- Include a keyword to help your search rankings
- Avoid subdomains, and stick to subfolders instead, so Google will rank your URLs as a whole rather than individually
If you can get a domain name that’s relevant to what you’re selling, is short, SEO friendly, and helps you build a strong brand, the first part of CRO – attracting customers – will be a cinch.
Now if you want to convert site visitors into customers, and give them a reason to come back, there are plenty of things you can do.
But one of the most effective strategies for converting and retaining customers is to improve your site’s speed and performance.
Let’s take a look at how.
1. Find a Baseline First
You will never be able to measure site speed and performance improvements if you don’t find out how your site is currently doing.
To find the baseline for your website, use Google PageSpeed Insights.
This free tool not only reveals how fast your desktop and mobile websites are, but it also provides plenty of suggestions for improving your site’s speed and performance.
Now that you know how fast your website is right this minute, you can begin to make improvements.
2. Use a Reliable Web Host for Speeding up eCommerce Shop/ Site
It can be tempting to invest in the cheapest web host you can find, especially when just starting out on a limited budget.
And while some reliable web hosting providers are inexpensive to use, it’s a good idea to do your research to make sure they can handle your eCommerce shop as it scales without downtime.
After all, according to an ITIC survey, 81% of business owners claim that just 60 minutes of downtime costs them over $300,000.
Here are some features to look for in a reliable web host that relate to site speed and performance:
- Hosting plans such as shared, VPS, or dedicated (sharing resources increases chances of downtime, server strain, and slow loading times)
- Memory or bandwidth limits that determine how much your site can scale, especially during flash sales or holidays
- CDN services to deliver content to your global site visitors as quickly as possible
- PHP versions they support, including the most recent PHP 7
- Uptime guarantees and compensation for any downtime
Looking into these features before choosing a web host to store your eCommerce site’s data will increase your chances of having higher page speeds and better site performance.
3. Optimize Images for Speeding up eCommerce Shop / Site
According to Yahoo, 80% of your site’s loading time is spent downloading page parts such as images, stylesheets, and scripts.
And as I’m sure you know from personal experience, it’s frustrating to wait for a site’s images to load, especially if they are product page images of something you think you want to buy.
In fact, it’s well-known that if your site doesn’t load within 3 seconds or less, 40% of people are likely to abandon your site, whether you have what they’re looking for or not.
That’s why optimizing your site’s images to load fast is on this list.
These plugins offer features like automatic compression, compatibility with formats such as JPEG, PNG, or even GIFs, and bulk optimization for compressing many images all at once.
Don’t be like the 45% of top eCommerce sites out there that don’t compress their images. This will only increase the chances site visitors will abandon your site before converting.
4. Enable Browser Caching
If you really want to optimize the user experience and deliver your eCommerce site’s content to site visitors as quickly as possible, try enabling browser caching.
The thing is, 96% of people that come to your website are not ready to buy right away.
They may be first-time visitors seeing what you have to offer or they might be comparison shopping.
Whatever the reason may be, there’s a good chance they’ll leave before making a purchase.
But that doesn’t have to be the end of the line for you.
To increase your site’s speed for return visitors, and eliminate the need for your entire site to have to download all over again, enable browser caching.
That way when someone does return to your site, images and other static data stored in the cache will load instantly for site visitors.
For those with WordPress websites, using a caching plugin like WP Super Cache is the easiest solution.
With it, you don’t have to mess with modifying your .htaccess file in your domain’s root folder with code. All you have to do is enable caching.
Just make sure you clear the browser cache any time you make significant changes to your site’s static content.
If you don’t, and you change the color of your online store’s logo, people will continue to see the old, cached version of your logo.
To make sure browser caching is working right, check out the free Browser Caching Checker tool:
You’ll see which pages are cached, which are not, and when the expiration date of each cached webpage is.
5. Use a Content Network Delivery
CDN services were mentioned earlier under the reliable hosting section. But it’s worth mentioning again, just in case your web host doesn’t offer CDN services.
A CDN, or content network delivery, utilizes several servers across the globe to store copies of your site’s data.
This way, when someone clicks on your website, the server geographically closest to them will deliver your site’s content, reducing latency and boosting site speed.
In addition to serving your international audience your online store’s content as quickly as possible, a CDN provides the following benefits:
- Pre-cached files stored on the Google CDN will be delivered quickly
- Accurate real-time analytics data to supplement other data collection processes you may use
- Money savings by not having to invest in foreign hosting plans
- 100% availability even during outages, network issues, or hardware problems (when one CDN server goes down, another comes in and continues serving content)
- Decreased server load and strain on your website, which increases site speed
- Ability to accommodate more concurrent users
- DDoS protection (again, when one server goes down because of an attack, another server jumps in with your site’s content and serves it to site visitors)
As you can see, using a CDN not only improves your site’s speed but its ability to perform as well.
And there you have! You now know what conversion rate optimization is and how improving your site’s speed and performance increases your chances of attracting, converting, and retaining customers.
Whether you’re just starting out in the eCommerce industry, or are a well-established brand looking to grow, there are always ways you can do better and generate more sales.
So, test your online shop’s site speed right now and leverage the strategies outlined above for speeding up your eCommerce Shop / Site.
Before you know it, your site will be loading quicker than ever, and more customers that even will be buying from you on a more regular basis.
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