Ecommerce Blog - Fortune3

How to Improve Site Speed and Response Time

fortune3-speeding-imageSo this is part 1 of 6 in our Simple, No-Nonsense Roadmap to SEO series. ¬†When you look at the core idea behind what Google’s really trying to do with the web, they’re trying to place the websites that give the best user experience at the top of their rankings.

Part of offering a good user experience involves making every page on your website load fast. ¬†Ideally, that’s one second flat, but if you can get to two or under, you’ll be in pretty good shape for the most part.

What are some steps to take to make sure your pages load fast? ¬†Follow these tips and you’ll be all right:

1. Reduce Image Sizes

Images are one of the main bandwidth hogs. ¬†But fortunately, it’s simple to compress them. ¬†Just about every paint program provides instant image compression whenever you save the image.

However, part of providing a good user experience also means that your images look sharp and professional.  So do compress them, but not so much that they look grainy and pixelated.  Usually, you can compress and reduce their size around 80-90% without noticeably sacrificing quality.

2. Don’t Use Flash¬†

Flash consumes a fair amount of bandwidth. ¬†However, also remember that the iPhone doesn’t display flash web objects. ¬†It’s best just to avoid using flash anywhere on your website.

3. Enable Caching

WordPress has about a million different caching plugins. ¬†E-commerce suites should have one available as well, and if yours doesn’t, have a developer install one. ¬†You can usually set the plugin to cache the content on your site for a custom period of time. ¬†That could be hours, days, or even weeks.

The benefit to your users is that, if the content isn’t updated, their web browser will load a cached version of the page instead of reloading the entire page from scratch. ¬†That’s some nice time and bandwidth savings for your visitors.

4. Put Styles and Scripts in the <Head> Section

For you web developers out there, and if you’re a site owner make sure your developer does this, all CSS styles, Java script, and any other scripts should be placed in the <head> section of every web page. ¬†Technically, you can put the CSS styles wherever you want, but they can load as the HTML loads if they are placed in the <head> section.

5. Make Sure You have a Fast Host

Much of your site’s speed also depends on the quality of your web host. ¬†If you’re paying for cheap hosting, you don’t get the fastest speed. ¬†That’s all right if that’s what you have to do to make it by on your budget.

But if your revenue allows for it, don’t be afraid to pay for a faster web host. ¬†Tenths of a second make a huge difference when it comes to determining how much people will buy from your website.

By improving the user experience, you’ll have a lower bounce rate, better web rankings, and ultimately, more sales.

Do you have additional methods for reducing page load time?  If so, let us know in the comments below:

Posted in Ecommerce Essentials & Tips, How To