If you have a website for your retail business – whether you sell primarily online or not – no doubt you spend all kinds of time and money on web design tweaks (to make it more responsive for mobile users for example) and on both on and offsite SEO to improve its position in the SERPS.
You have probably also spent even more money on a great shopping cart system to help ensure that actually purchasing from the site is as streamlined a process as possible. You may even spend time creating all kinds of original and compelling content to attract both inbound and outbound clicks. However, all of these efforts can be undone if you don’t pay attention to one thing that many people do overlook or even ignore altogether; site speed.
The Huge Importance of Site Speed
In reality you already understand the importance of site speed because no doubt you yourself often find yourself frustrated when trying to use a website that is running slowly or loading incorrectly. So, if you feel that way how do you think potential customers feel when they are trying to shop? And those frustrations will lead to premature site exits and abandoned shopping carts. There have been a huge number of studies published that prove it.
And it’s not just about the customers (although they do, of course, come first). Remember all of that SEO and content creation designed – in part at least – to ‘impress’ Google enough to get you a SERPs boost. That’s all great, but in the eyes of Big G (and the lesser search engines too) site speed is extremely important. And that never changes, no matter how many Pandas, Penguins and other assorted algorithm tweaks are implemented.
Find out how slow your site is.
Google offers a number of site-performance analysis tools to help determine your site’s comparative speed, including free Google Webmaster Tools. As long as a site loads faster than 75 percent of all the sites Google checks, it should be fine.
Reduce or eliminate large images.
If you’ve ever fretted over how long it took to email a photo, imagine a website trying to load a large image or several images on a single page. To reduce large photo clutter, you can try three different tactics.
First, keep images small: between 500 and 800 pixels across, and 72 dots per inch (dpi). That goes not only for photos and other images, but also for background graphics. WordPress can be set up to automatically reduce image resolution under Settings-Media.
Second, consider stripping your photos of their meta data — the date and location the photo was taken, the type of camera used and the resolution. This information is part of a photo’s background code and adds to its girth.
WordPress users can try a plug-in called WP Smush.it. It can help shave as much as 30% off the photo file size by simply removing meta data.
Finally, instead of posting a number of full-size photos, either create a slide show or use thumbnails that can be clicked to produce larger images in a separate window. Most CMS systems have this capability built in but if not there are also a number of softwares that can be used to do the same thing.
Reduce plug-ins and Java scripts.
Besides presenting text and images, your site does many lots of things that involve Java scripts and plug-ins. There are forms to fill out, Like buttons, Twitter feeds, comments, navigation page tabs and even the essential Google Analytics that tell you who’s visiting your site, how often and from where.
Sooner or later, these all begin to pile up and clog your site. Any browser loads from top to bottom, so if a Java script is slow to load at the top, the whole page stalls. While Java scripts are local, plug-ins often originate from another site. So if that site is slow to deliver data then your site also might be sluggish.Consider removing the coded elements you don’t need and spreading the others over a series of pages to increase site speed.
These are just some of the basics, there are many other ways to speed up your website. For more ideas check the recommendations offered specifically for your site via the Google PageSpeed Insights tool.Koehler Home Decor is a wholesaler of home decor accessories and unique gifts. Source quality wholesale merchandise at KoehlerHomeDecor.com and find tips for promoting your business on our blog.