The usability, and particularly loading speed, of an online store has a great impact on its success - customers won’t wait around long and they get frustrated easily. In other words, you lose customers.
What impact does speed have?
Speed is of great importance in the usability and efficiency of the store. For example, Google noticed on their own search results that a half-second increase in loading time reduced the number of visitors and advertisement clicks by 20 %.
According to a broader study, as much as 64 % of respondents said slowness was the greatest cause of irritation when shopping online. The same study also found that 52 % of respondents wanted sites to operate more quickly.
What factors effect the speed of an online store?
The loading speed of an online store depends solely on how much data is downloaded for the visitor and how quickly the server or servers can provide it for the visitor.
The online store’s implementation, contents as well the selected server all have an immense impact on the site speed. All these areas can often also be optimized.
Errors in the code or missing files
The longest loading times for visitors occur when files can't be found on the server.
Too many intermediate steps and pages to load
Every intermediate step and loaded page, especially during checkout, takes time and can drive the customer away from the store.
Slow hosting service
By investing in hosting, i.e. the server environment, and in its optimization, you can see significant improvements to the online store’s speed.
Oversized image files
Images can cause a heavy load on a site. Quality pictures are needed to aid in the purchase decision, but the use and size of images can be optimized.
Social media buttons
For example, Facebook’s Like button is downloaded from an external server, which simultaneously slows the loading of the whole site.
Other codes downloaded from external services
Ad banners, pop-up ads etc. In principle, all code added to a site also increases the loading time so its best to avoid adding anything unnecessary.
How can you test the speed of your own online store?
There are plenty of free test programs, I personally like the one offered by Pingdom.com.
To get the best test results, choose a town as close to your own customers as the location in the test program settings.
Juuso works as a webmaster and an ecommerce specialist for Zoner Ltd, which provides domestic hosting services.