Create your own ecommerce website and start selling successfully with ShopWired today

Create your ecommerce website on ShopWired today.
Start today with 14 days free

Create your own ecommerce website and start selling successfully with ShopWired today

Create your ecommerce website on ShopWired today.
Start today with 14 days free

Website Speed Optimisation: 8 Tips To Improve Your Website

15th April 2024

Website Loading

A slow-loading website can be the difference between winning a customer or losing them to the competition. In fact, a study found that nearly 70% of consumers admit page speed influences their willingness to make a purchase.

This statistic highlights the importance of website speed optimisation

Whether it's browsing through products, looking at high-resolution images or finalising a purchase, each second shaved off your site's load time improves the visitor’s experience and makes them more likely to convert. 

But how do you optimise your website effectively? Where do you begin? And how can you ensure your efforts genuinely make a difference? 

We’ll cover it all in this guide.

Why Is Website Speed Optimisation Important?

A slow-loading online website or store is bad for two main reasons:

1. Poor User Experience (UX): Slow speed hampers the online shopping journey, resulting in a poor user experience. And with each additional second of load time decreasing conversion rates by an average of 4.42%, it's clear why website speed matters. Quite simply, visitors are far less likely to complete actions such as purchases or sign-ups on a website that is slow and frustrating to use. 

2. Negative impact on SEO: Website speed is a significant ranking factor for search engines, which means a slower website can result in lower rankings on the results page. Websites that appear on page one of Google have an average load time of just 1.65 seconds

How to Measure the Speed of Your Website 

Website Speed Gauge

To gain an understanding of your website’s speed, you’ll need to use a website speed tool that measures its current performance. 

But before you do this, there are a couple of things you should do first. 

1. Enable caching 

This allows your website to store copies of files in a cache, or a temporary storage space, so they load faster the next time a user visits. Caching can significantly decrease loading times by reducing the amount of data processed and sent over the internet.

2. Set up a Content Delivery Network CDN

A CDN distributes your site’s files across a network of servers worldwide, allowing users to download them from the server closest to their location. using a CDN can significantly speed up loading times.

Recommended Tools for Website Speed Analysis

There are plenty of tools available online which track a number of speed-related performance metrics and provide suggestions for improvement. Some of these tools are free to use whilst others require a paid subscription. 

Here are some of the most popular tools available:

1. Google's PageSpeed Insights

PageSpeed Insights Dashboard

PageSpeed Insights (PSI) by Google is a free tool that lets you analyse your site’s performance on both mobile and desktop devices. PSI not only grades your site speed but also offers specific recommendations for improvements. 

One of the main reasons PSI is a recommended tool is that it includes Google’s Core Web Vitals metrics. Core Vitals are central factors in Google's Page Experience score. This score helps Google’s algorithms rank websites, thus improving these metrics can help boost your website’s organic visibility. 

2. GTmetrix 

GTmetrix dashboard

GTmetrix provides a comprehensive analysis by combining Google PageSpeed Insights and YSlow scores. The tool gives insights into how well your site loads and pinpoints specific issues. It's particularly useful for its detailed reports and the ability to track performance over time.

GTmetrix also offers video playback of the page’s load sequence, which can be invaluable for pinpointing exactly where delays occur during the loading process. This feature is useful for experiencing issues as the user does. 

GTmetrix is not free to use, but it does have a variety of pricing plans depending on your specific needs. 

3. Pingdom

Pingdom dashboard

Pingdom offers a straightforward approach to speed testing, with detailed reports on load time, page size and a performance grade. Its strength lies in its user-friendly interface and the breakdown of each element's loading time, helping you easily identify what's slowing down your site.

Again, Pingdom isn’t free to use, but it does offer a few different pricing options depending on your needs. 

Each of the above tools has its unique features and benefits, so using a combination can give you a well-rounded view of your website's performance and areas for improvement.

Website Speed Optimisation: 8 Tips to Speed up and Improve Your Website 

Below, we've compiled eight actionable tips you can implement to speed up your website to enhance the user experience and boost your search engine rankings. 

1. Optimise Images

High-quality product images are crucial for ecommerce success, yet they can slow down your site if not properly optimised.

Image compression: Reduce file sizes using tools that maintain image quality: JPEG, PNG and WebP are recommended formats for optimal speed.

Lazy load images: Implement lazy loading so that images only load when the user scrolls to them. This can speed up initial page loads by preventing images from loaded unless in view. 

Use a CDN: Serve images via a Content Delivery Network (CDN) to reduce latency by hosting images closer to the user. Employing a CDN not only speeds up the delivery of images, but also reduces overall server load. 

Responsive images: Use the ‘srcset’ attribute in HTML to serve different image sizes based on the device's screen size and resolution. This ensures that smaller images are loaded on mobile devices, which can speed up mobile performance significantly.

These steps ensure your site remains fast while still displaying top-quality images to entice customers. 

2. Streamline The Checkout Process

A smooth and fast checkout is key for converting visitors into buyers. Optimising the checkout process can significantly reduce cart abandonment and boost conversion rates.

Reduce steps: Minimise the number of steps to checkout. Consider implementing a one-page checkout to streamline the process.

Guest checkout option: Allow customers to check out without creating an account to speed up the process for new users.

Save user data: Implement functionality to save customer information for returning users, which can quicken the checkout process.

Clear guidance: Provide clear instructions and error messages during the checkout process to help users complete their purchases without confusion.

These improvements can make the checkout experience quicker and more user-friendly, leading to higher conversion rates and customer satisfaction.

3. Avoid Unnecessary Customisations

Over-customising your ecommerce site can slow it down, negatively affecting the user experience and damaging your SEO.

Streamline themes: Choose lightweight themes that are optimised for speed and only include essential features.

Minimise apps and plugins: Evaluate the necessity of each app or plugin. Uninstall or deactivate those that are not essential to your ecommerce operations.

Avoid excessive widgets: Each widget added to your site can increase load times. Use them sparingly and ensure they are absolutely necessary for functionality.

Optimise custom code: If custom coding is necessary, ensure it is clean and efficient. Overly complex code can slow down your site significantly.

4. Minimise Redirects and Eliminate Broken Links

Efficient management of your site's redirects and links is important for maintaining fast load times and a smooth user experience. Poor handling of these elements can introduce unnecessary delays

Optimise redirects: Use redirects sparingly and ensure they are necessary. Excessive or improper redirects can slow down your site by causing additional HTTP requests.

Fix broken links: Regularly check for and fix broken links on your website. Broken links not only hurt your SEO but also worsen the user experience.

Streamline link structure: Maintain a clean and logical URL structure to facilitate quicker loading and easier navigation.

Use 301 redirects wisely: Implement 301 redirects for permanently moved pages to avoid the negative impacts of broken links and ensure search engines and users are directed to the correct pages.

Reducing unnecessary redirects and repairing broken links can significantly enhance site speed and user navigation, contributing to a more efficient website and improved UX. 

5. Consider Upgrading Hosting

Your choice of hosting can drastically impact your website's performance. Here's how you can optimise hosting for better speed:

Evaluate hosting plan: Ensure your hosting plan can handle your site's traffic, especially during peak times. While shared hosting may work for smaller sites, consider a dedicated server or VPS to guarantee stability and performance during high-demand periods. 

Consider performance features: Look for hosting plans that offer performance-enhancing features such as solid-state drives (SSDs), caching tools and the ability to easily integrate with content delivery networks (CDNs). These features can dramatically improve site speed and UX.

Assess scalability: Make sure the hosting service can scale as your business grows. Being able to easily upgrade your hosting environment, add resources or switch plans without significant downtime is essential for accommodating increased traffic and business expansion.

Choosing the right hosting solution is crucial for maintaining optimal website performance. By carefully evaluating your hosting needs and selecting a provider that offers reliability, scalability and performance-enhancing features, you can ensure your website remains efficient and responsive even during times of high demand. 

6. Combine Analytics and Speed Tools

To get the most out of your website's performance, blending analytics with speed optimisation tools is a smart way to go. This combined method helps spot issues and rectify them using real data. 

Integrated analysis: Use both analytics tools like Google Analytics and speed measurement tools like Google PageSpeed Insights together to gain a comprehensive view of your website’s performance.

Correlate data: Cross-reference data from both types of tools to identify correlations between site speed improvements and changes in user behaviour or conversion rates.

Ongoing optimisation: Continuously monitor and optimise based on insights derived from these tools to ensure your website maintains optimal performance and usability.

Utilise Google Search Console: Employ Google Search Console to easily spot and troubleshoot errors that might lead to performance issues, ensuring your site remains optimised. 

By combining analytics and speed tools, you can identify and rectify issues with great accuracy. Continuously applying insights from this integrated approach will not only boost site speed but also improve user engagement. 

7. Responsive Design

A lack of responsive design can significantly hinder a website's performance across different devices. If a site does not adapt to varying screen sizes, it may load unnecessary elements that are not optimised for smaller screens, leading to slower load times and a degraded user experience. 

Optimised themes: Choose themes that are inherently responsive to ensure your site adjusts smoothly across different devices and screen sizes.

Media queries: Utilise CSS media queries to apply different styles depending on the user's device.

Adaptive design elements: Include elements like collapsible menus and touch-friendly buttons that adjust based on the device being used. This not only enhances usability but also ensures that your site remains functional and accessible across all platforms, contributing to a smoother user experience. 

This approach helps maintain a consistent and accessible shopping experience for all users, regardless of how they access your site.

8. Streamline Navigation

Navigation is a key factor for ecommerce websites. Optimising your site's navigation structure ensures that customers can seamlessly find products, which in turn can increase their likelihood of completing a purchase. 

Intuitive menus: Design your navigation to be intuitive and straightforward. Customers should be able to find what they need without confusion.

Search functionality: Enhance your site's search functionality to offer quick, accurate results. This can help website visitors find exactly what they need as quickly as possible. 

Clear categorisation: Organise products into clear, logical categories to facilitate easier browsing and improve overall user experience.

Breadcrumb navigation: Include breadcrumb navigation to help users keep track of their locations within your site and navigate back to previous pages easily.

These strategies help customers find their desired products with minimal effort, improving satisfaction and the likelihood of conversion.

Introducing ShopWired: An Ecommerce Platform Optimised for Speed

ShopWired logo

One of the best ways to ensure website speed is to select an ecommerce platform like ShopWired that is optimised for performance. By choosing ShopWired, you can rest easy knowing your store is built on a foundation that prioritises responsiveness and user experience. 

Amazon Web Hosting with 99.99% Uptime Guarantee

ShopWired uses Amazon Web Services (AWS) to ensure a fast and reliable infrastructure with a 99.99% uptime guarantee. This high reliability means your online store remains accessible and operational at all times, even during peak demand periods. Hosting is included at no additional cost on all price plans.

Comprehensive Set of Ecommerce Features 

Every ShopWired plan comes with powerful ecommerce features designed for speed. Take advantage of lazy load images, responsive design features, a global Content Delivery Network (CDN) and much more. The result is a well-optimised website that is set up for success by giving visitors the best online shopping experience. 

Free, Responsive Themes

ShopWired Themes

ShopWired provides free, customisable responsive themes that are optimised for fast loading across all devices to provide a smooth and quick browsing experience. 

Mobile Commerce Optimised

ShopWired is fully optimised for mobile commerce, ensuring a seamless shopping experience on mobile devices. The platform is designed to offer the same functionality and speed on mobile as on desktop, supported by responsive design elements.

Positive Reviews and Customer Satisfaction 

ShopWired reviews

ShopWired has excellent reviews on platforms like TrustPilot(4.8 out of 5) and out of 5), highlighting its exceptional customer support, extensive ecommerce features and ease of use. ShopWired's positive reputation speaks volumes about its reliability and user satisfaction. 

Pricing and Value

ShopWired pricing

ShopWired offers a cost-effective solution that includes all the essential ecommerce features and reliable infrastructure across all price plans. This is especially notable as high-speed hosting, often reserved for higher-priced plans on other platforms, is standard on all ShopWired plans. 

Migration Made Easy

If your current website isn't performing optimally, ShopWired provides an efficient migration service so you can harness the benefits of ShopWired for your online store. We offer both full-service migrations and DIY migration guides. Find out more here

14-Day Free Trial

Want to try ShopWired for yourself? Sign up for a 14-day free trial today and experience all of ShopWired's features before committing to a paid plan. We're sure you'll be impressed!  

FAQs: Website Speed Optimisation for Ecommerce

Why is website speed optimisation important for ecommerce?

Faster websites provide better user experiences and typically see higher conversion rates.

How does website speed impact SEO?

Search engines favour faster websites, often ranking them higher in search results due to better user engagement and lower bounce rates.

What tools can measure website speed?

Tools like Google's PageSpeed Insights, GTmetrix, and Pingdom can help analyse and monitor your website’s speed.

How can optimising images improve website speed?

Compressing and properly formatting images (using JPEG, PNG and WebP) can significantly reduce load times.

What is lazy loading, and how does it help?

Lazy loading defers the loading of images until they are needed, which speeds up initial page loads and saves bandwidth.

Why should ecommerce sites use a CDN?

A Content Delivery Network (CDN) can speed up content delivery by reducing the geographical distance between servers and users.

How does a responsive design contribute to site speed?

Responsive design ensures that websites load efficiently across all devices by adjusting content to fit different screen sizes.

What are some quick fixes to improve website speed?

Enabling compression, minifying CSS, JS and HTML, and reducing redirects are quick ways to improve site performance.

How often should website speed be tested?

Regular testing is crucial, especially after making changes to your site, to continuously optimize performance.

Can high-quality hosting affect website speed?

Yes, investing in high-quality, scalable hosting solutions can significantly improve website speed and handle traffic spikes better.