Is Your Website Waiting to Resolve? Are YOU losing Potential Sales Because of It?

Even though it’s just the end of the month of September, the Autumn season is knocking at our doors. The stores are all marketing their Fall and Back To School Deals and consumers are spending their minutes on their mobile smart phones comparing prices and looking for the best deals.  Are you and your eCommerce stores ready for the influx of mobile traffic and what’s more, is your website cleaned up and ready for specific searches? The holidays are really just around the corner! And if you’re on top of your eCommerce game you know the clock is ticking!  One thing you want to make sure is working correctly, is your site’s page loading speed. Nothing turns off any website visitor than having to wait for a website to load after they spent time in doing a search for the products they want.

You need to make sure your site is optimized so that when it loads it makes the kind of impression on your visitors that your intentions were when you had it created.

Below are some examples of issues that may have your website loading slow enough to have a visitor click off to do another search. This means lost sales and who wants that?

Below are some examples of issues that may have your website loading slow enough to have a visitor click off to another search. This means lost sales and who wants that?

1. Un-optimized Images
Un-optimized images are any images that can be reduced in size without visual impact to your user, also known as “lossless” optimization. Images that are optimized using lossless methods are visually identical to their original images, just stripped of extraneous metadata that helps describe the image (useful to the designer, not needed for the end user).

A few best practices to consider:

PNG image files are often needlessly large. This is due to extra data inside the PNG file such as comments or unused palette entries as well as the use of an inefficient DEFLATE compressor. PNG images can be optimized using free tools like png-crush that reduce the size of the file without changing or reducing the image quality.

JPEG image files can also be needlessly large for similar reasons to PNG. By using free tools such as jpegtran you can convert JPEGs into progressively rendered JPEG files to reduce the size of the file without losing image quality.
PNG files are best used for icons and logos while JPEG is preferable for photos. Because PNG images support transparency while JPEGs do not, the PNG format is commonly overused for images that are better served as JPEGs. By utilizing JPEG instead, you often can realize file size savings as large as 80%. If possible, consider reworking your design to avoid the use of transparency. Alternatively, you can often append a smaller transparent PNG image alongside the larger JPEG image to achieve the same visual effect at substantial file size savings

2. Content Served Without HTTP Compression
Enabling HTTP compression on your web server can dramatically reduce the size of the downloaded page, by significantly improving load time. This is a high impact change but is not always as easy as it may seem. Talk with your hosting account manager and have them work with you so you can get the most out of the hosting package you are on.

3. Combinable CSS Images
Browsers make an individual HTTP request for every background image specified in your CSS pages. It is not uncommon for over half of your total HTTP requests from a single web page to be used for loading background CSS images. By combining related images into a small number of CSS sprites, you can significantly reduce the number of HTTP requests made during your page load.

4. Images without Caching Information

HTTP Caching allows the browser to store a copy of an image for a period of time, preventing the browser from reloading the same image on subsequent page loads and thus dramatically increasing performance. To cache your images, update your web server configuration to provide an Expires header to your image responses from the server. For images that do not change often, you should specify a “far future” Expires header, typically a date 6 months to a year out from the current date.

5. Domain Sharing Not Implemented
Most browsers typically support 2-4 concurrent downloads of static resources for each hostname. Therefore, if your page is loading many static resources from the same hostname, the browser will bottleneck in a stair-step fashion downloading all the content. By splitting resources across 2 different domains, you can effectively double browser throughput downloading the required links.

Note that it may be difficult to physically move your files to different hostnames, so as a clever “trick” you can utilize DNS CNAME records to map different hostnames to the same origin. For example, static1.example.com and static2.example.com could both map to static.example.com, thus prompting the browser to load twice as many links concurrently as before, without requiring you physically move the files on the server.

The above are only a few examples of what can slow down a site’s pages loads. Now, these are pretty technical for a novice store owner. But if you’re working with a reputable website design team, most of these practices should be implemented from the very beginning. Along with the hosting environment that is used so that server side implementations will make your page loads the best they can be with the parameters that they allow.

Testing and MORE Testing is the key to making sure your website loads quickly and properly. Why not give the marketing team of Black Arrow Marketing a call to discuss what they recommend to help you increase your page loads and help you to keep those website visitors on your site instead of clicking away. Call them today at 1-888-225-4780 and let the team at Black Arrow Marketing help you to capture those holiday sales!