The Need for Speed: Online Business Tips for Creating a Fast Website

Website design illustration

By guest author Johann Carpio, marketing consultant

You can’t have your cake and eat it too, especially when it comes to your online business website. Whatever you do to make your site user-friendly and attractive is bound to affect its size, which in turn affects the load time. If you want an interesting website, you have to add in the bells and whistles. If you want fast, you need to streamline what you put on the site.

It can be difficult to strike the delicate balance of designing a website to increase online sales and attracting customers. Here are a few tips for creating a fast, engaging website for your e-commerce business.

Importance of site speed for e-commerce conversions

There is a need for speed. You don’t have to take my word for it, though. Numerous studies have churned out statistics that confirm the importance of fast-loading webpages. Front and center is the scary 16 percent drop in customer satisfaction resulting from a one-second delay in your page response. It isn’t confined to small niche sites, either. Amazon suffers 1 percent fewer sales if its page load time increases by just a 10th of a second. Considering how many images are loading on each page, Amazon has to be very strict about the file sizes of each product image. You as a small online business owner should do the same.

Yet, even as consumers become more impatient, top e-commerce sites are getting slower. One study, released by Radware in September 2015, showed that 14 percent of top retailer websites took more than 10 seconds to become functional in September 2015, an increase from 9 percent in February 2015. This poses a good opportunity for leaner, nimbler websites like yours to edge out the bigger players. That is, if you take action now.

Tips on how to minimize page-loading time

What you need to do is make sure that your front end (page) and back end (server) work in tandem to maximize e-commerce site speed. You can do this by following some tips from the experts.

  • Choose a lean e-commerce platform (i.e., no bloated code)
  • Use the best possible Web host and updated content management system that you can afford
  • Keep pages simple, but relevant, and easy to navigate
  • Reduce HTTP requests
  • Use content delivery networks
  • Use browser caching
  • Compress your files using tools such as Gzip
  • Optimize, resize and compress images using lossless techniques
  • Have a zoom option for smaller images
  • Use alt text for images and tags
  • Focus on key tasks (i.e., if selling is your focus, keep the execution as efficient as possible with buy buttons)
  • Put emphasis on seamless mobile integration

Key factors beyond speed in designing e-commerce sites

There is, however, much more to designing e-commerce sites than just speed. User experience tops the list — “UX” in e-commerce parlance. This means your site should be search engine optimized, easy to navigate, credible, safe and relevant. It may seem like a tall order for small players, but it is not as hard as it seems if you choose a good platform, work with a Web designer with an eye for trending designs, and commit to regular maintenance and updates of the site.

Consumers’ need for fast websites will definitely affect your online business website design. However, you can offset your investment in time, effort and money by having higher conversions if you do it right. Always keep in mind that your aim is to sell as much as you can, and for this, you need people to know you’re there, go to your site and buy. You stand a better chance of succeeding if you don’t make your customers wait.

About the Author:

Johann CarpioJohann Carpio is a marketing consultant. He does inbound marketing for various websites, helping them increase their audience and readership through content and social media. He also writes about the current trends and practices of the industry.

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