Importance of Website Speed for Conversions

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One of the most over-looked items when it comes to improving conversion rates is site speed. There is a bunch of data out there that supports this and can be easily found, but it’s becoming increasingly important. It is also the most complex to solve in most situations as there are many things to consider when optimizing your site for speed. 95% of websites are on WordPress, Magento, Drupal or a small handful of other platforms. What is not commonly known is that these platforms, out of the box, are not optimized for speed, they are optimized for convenience to build. Also, the more plugins/extensions you load, the slower these platforms operate. Here are 3 items to look at first:

  1. Site Speed Tool – Google has a very cool tool to help immediately identify items that you can improve on. I would ignore the scoring portion of this, as most sites are not apples to apples comparisons, but they give you very specific items that your site can improve on. https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/
  2. Image Caching and Size – Image load time is one of the main factors that effects site speed. Image size, quality, location/server that it comes from, this should be the first thing you need to tackle.  There are tons of software solutions / CDN’s that can assist in this. Also, a quick first step is to simply reduce the size of images that are on your site. Depending on what you are selling, you can often times reduce images by 50% or more. There are a bunch of ways to do this, here is a good free one: http://tools.dynamicdrive.com/imageoptimizer/
  3. Caching and Database – Database structures, and website caching is the other issue that commonly plagues site speed and is not optimized by default on most platforms. Specific recommendations are above my knowledge set here, but I can point you in the right direction on this if you need it. Most good ecommerce developers can help, and there is a ton of information online about this.
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