Optimizing eCommerce Site Speed: 8 Strategies for Faster Loading Times

Sol Dieguez
Jan 26, 2022

Different factors determine the success of an eCommerce store. One of them is your eCommerce loading time and website speed. This is a key element of a winning eCommerce strategy, one that cannot be ignored by any business or marketing professionals within the industry. Though eCommerce site speed has significantly improved over the years thanks to faster internet providers and global networks, some of the smallest details can hijack all of your hard work.

If you noticed your eCommerce platform speed is lacking, there’s no need to deem it a crisis just yet. It’s 100% possible to improve your eCommerce site speed, even if it’s at the lowest end of the spectrum. We have performed several speed optimizations for our clients and continue to do so, which leaves us with plenty of knowledge in this area. To help you get back on track with your store speed goals, we have put together a comprehensive list of ways to increase eCommerce site speed.

Why does eCommerce site speed optimization matter?

Many of our clients ask this question as soon as we communicate to them there’s an eCommerce platform speed issue that needs to be resolved. If the store works just fine, why worry about its loading times? Well, an eCommerce loading time can determine its lead conversion rates and the amount of organic traffic it receives from SERP (search engine result pages).

Considering 47% of online retail consumers expect eCommerce stores to load in two seconds or less, it’s easy to see why site speed impacts your conversion rates. Moreover, 40% of potential consumers will abandon the store if it takes more than three seconds to load. Who wants to miss out on sales because of eCommerce loading time? Our clients don’t, and it’s safe to assume you don’t want to either.

Still, there is another key area where your eCommerce site speed can make a significant impact: Google rankings. Not too long ago, Google determined website speed is now a landing page factor for Google Search and Google Ads. This means your eCommerce store needs to have an optimal loading time to appear higher on search engine results, especially when it comes to mobile. This new ranking factor directly affects the amount of organic traffic of your eCommerce, so you’ll also be missing out on leads if your store speed isn’t optimized.

All of these factors have a direct impact on your eCommerce store’s performance and lead conversion capabilities. If you want your business to grow,  it’s time to look into an entire eCommerce site speed optimization. We know it’s a lot of work, that’s why we decided to break it down into bite-sized tips that can slowly but surely speed up your eCommerce website.

8 ways to increase eCommerce site speed and rank higher on Google

1. Reduce the weight and size of all your eCommerce pages.

The size of your eCommerce pages is measured in kilobytes, featuring all elements of a page such as CSS, JavaScript code, Images, and clickable objects. To reduce the size and weight of your pages, which impacts how much they take to load, it’s necessary to minimize all of its elements. Start by compressing all images and automating their sizing, so none of them weighs more than the others. Then, remove all extra widgets or CSS elements that aren’t essential to your customer’s experience in your store. Finally, make sure there is no unnecessary JavaScript code embedded in your site. Remove everything that isn’t 100% needed and it will make a difference on your page loading times.

  • Resolve Digital eCommerce site speed Insider’s Tip:

Use Google Search Console and Google PageSpeed Insights to detect any issues with both your entire eCommerce site speed and an individual page’s loading times.

2. Lazy loading eCommerce tactics.

Lazy loading images on your site is a simple yet effective way to economize a few milliseconds of loading time every time a new lead enters your site. So what is image lazy loading? This tactic loads your images as users scroll down through your site pages, rather than loading all of them on its first server request. That way, your customers barely notice the difference in the images but your store still loads faster. It reduces your eCommerce site speed by minimizing the number of HTTP requests that come from your product pages or other pages where images are embedded into your site.

  • Resolve Digital eCommerce site speed Insider’s Tip:

There are different ways to increase eCommerce site speed through lazy loading images. The most straightforward one is to implement native lazy loading by modifying your site’s HTML code. Still, if your store is in WordPress you can use a plugin like WP Rocket.  

3. Cut down your eCommerce time to first byte.

The time to first byte (TTFB) of your site refers to the time the browser needs to wait until it receives the first byte of data from your store’s server. The official recommendation from Google is for an eCommerce platform to have a TTFB of fewer than 200 milliseconds. This is a server-side eCommerce site speed factor, but just as important as image lazy loading or minimizing CSS code. Most TTFB issues are caused by network issues, dynamic content, web server configuration, and internet traffic. Only two of them can be addressed on your side: dynamic content creation and the configuration of your web server.

  • Resolve Digital eCommerce site speed Insider’s Tip:

Use Chrome’s Developer Tools to figure out how long the TTFB process takes for your store. If it’s taking too long to load, try enabling caching to optimize the dynamic content creation of your store.

4. Avoid redirects to slow down your eCommerce platform speed.

Redirects not only affect your SEO rankings, but they also affect your eCommerce site speed. Why? Because every time one of your eCommerce pages redirects to another, the user needs to wait for the HTTP request-response cycle to complete in order to access it. This means that every redirect slows down the speed of your eCommerce website. Moreover, if there’s a redirect chain set in place, meaning multiple pages keep redirecting to other ones, it can end up overloading the server.

  • Resolve Digital eCommerce site speed Insider’s Tip:

Eliminate all redirects or reduce the number of redirect chains by cutting down on any middle pages. If a redirect is necessary, make it from point A to point B, instead of having multiple pages in between.

5. Implement Content Delivery Networks on your eCommerce website.

Content Delivery Networks (CDN’s) are globally distributed servers that work together to provide faster delivery of internet content all across the world. These networks help to reduce your eCommerce loading times by minimizing the distance between your store visitors and your website’s server. They store a cached version of your store’s site in different locations all around the globe. This avoids the latency that occurs when a visitor is geographically far away from your services, improving the response time and speed of your eCommerce website in the process.

  • Resolve Digital eCommerce site speed Insider’s Tip:

All good CDN providers can speed up your eCommerce website, but there are still a few industry favorites. These trusted Content Delivery Networks are Cloudflare, Amazon AWS, Fastly, and KeyCDN.

6. Set up a DNS-level Website Application Firewall.

DDoS attacks are unfortunately common in the digital space, especially when it comes to successful eCommerce sites bringing continuous revenue. While these Denial-of-Service attacks can of course jeopardize the health of your entire site, failed attempts by numerous hackers can also slow down your eCommerce platform speed. Most server providers offer protection from DDoS attacks, but the attempts still reach your site and increase its loading times. That’s why every eCommerce store needs a Website Application Firewall. A DNS-level WAF helps to filter all suspicious traffic from your website and stop the attacks from ever reaching your store. This results in an overall improvement of the speed of your eCommerce website.

  • Resolve Digital eCommerce site speed Insider’s Tip:

If you’re using WordPress, Sucuri is one of the best DNS-level Website Application Firewalls. Cloudflare is another solid option for any eCommerce framework.

7.  Minimize external HTTP requests.

External HTTP requests occur when video, podcasts, images, and CSS/JavaScript files are embedded into your store from external sources. A common example of this is when brands embed a YouTube video into their landing page. It also happens when your site is connected to Google Analytics or other third-party apps. A Pinterest or Instagram widget is another example of an external server request. The more you have of them, the more your store takes to load. Try to reduce these external HTTP requests by limiting social media widgets and the number of videos embedded in your eCommerce site.

  • Resolve Digital eCommerce site speed Insider’s Tip:

Use the inspect tool integrated into your browser to monitor the number of external HTTP requests from your site.

8. Make sure your DNS service provider isn’t slowing your eCommerce site speed.

DNS service providers are a key factor in your eCommerce store’s success. A domain name system is a server with a database of IP addresses and all of its hostnames. The DNS service provider is in charge of translating any URLs typed into search engines into the correct IP address leading to your eCommerce store. This determines your DNS lookup time, meaning the time it takes to find your site’s specific DNS record. The ideal time should be between 20-120 milliseconds.

  • Resolve Digital eCommerce site speed Insider’s Tip:

Sites like DNSBenchmarch can help you evaluate the speed of your DNS lookups. Monitor how much the speed slows down or increases over the course of a few months to assess if you need to switch DNS hosting providers.

Looking to perform a professional eCommerce site speed optimization? Let’s work together!

As you can see, there are many ways to increase eCommerce site speed. While they might seem like a small shift on their own, these changes will help your company’s store load faster and perform better on Google Rankings. Remember, the more your eCommerce site takes to load, the more leads will abandon it! If you commit to assuring these eCommerce site speed optimizations take place, your company can boost its lead conversion and page views.

At Resolve Digital, we understand these changes can take a considerable amount of your time and resources. Moreover, there can also be plenty of other unseen factors hijacking your eCommerce platform speed. As custom eCommerce and SaaS providers, we offer the solutions you need to improve the speed of your eCommerce website. Our experienced teams perform tailored optimizations that can minimize the load times of your eCommerce pages in a matter of weeks. Contact us today to learn how we can help increase your eCommerce site speed!

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