Speed is everything when it comes to maximizing the revenue for your eCommerce site, since shoppers have no patience for a page that takes too long to load. As such, you should ensure that there aren’t issues keeping your site from being as fast as possible. One way that your marketing and development teams can increase page speeds is to leverage optimization scans to ensure that your key pages, including your homepage, search result pages, and product pages load quickly for desktop and mobile viewers.
Key Pages to Optimize
While overall optimization of your site is definitely something to strive for, there are certain high-impact areas that you can focus on even if you aren’t able to dedicate the necessary resources to everything. Here’s what those areas are.
The homepage is an area that’s often updated and includes an abundance of new images. If these images are unoptimized (which they often are), your page load time will suffer due to the longer periods of time required to retrieve and render each and every image. In addition, the frequency with which the images are update precludes any type of longer-term caching.
One example of an eCommerce site that displays issues with regards to its images, as revealed by Rigor’s optimization scan, is the Gap’s homepage.
First, we see that text-based content blocks promoting discounts and sales for the Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend sale comprise a large amount of space on the homepage. Furthermore, these content blocks were loaded as images, instead of CSS sprites embedded into the HTML. These images are unoptimized (in fact, it appears that none of their images were optimized for performance). If Gap were to correct just these two factors, their homepage load speeds would improve greatly. For example, the frame below shows that converting the GIF on the left to the JPEG on the right yielded a savings of 57 KB (or 57.7%).
Search Result Pages
Search result pages, along with product pages, display a large number of rich images. As such, it’s important to optimize the images, which includes determining the correct sized images to serve viewers (for example, you’ll probably want to ensure that the thumbnails displayed are resized versions of the images, not just modified to be smaller using CSS or HTML). Each unoptimized image is a hit on your page load time. Depending on the keywords used, the number of results the page needs to display may magnify this slowness many times over.
Product pages are particularly important, since visitors arriving to your site via targeted ads may land on specific product pages right away. To keep your bounce rate low among these types of visitors, you’ll want to make sure that these pages load as quickly as possible, not just desktop viewers, but mobile viewers as well. Remember that, because mobile viewers are typically using slower networks, you should strive to show fewer images, send smaller sized pages, and little to no errors.
Returning to the Gap page, we see crucial areas where its mobile site could be improved. First, we see that the mobile site required nine more requests that its desktop counterpart. As stated above, mobile users are typically on slower networks than desktop users, so this increase is problematic in terms of page load times for on-the-go users.
Additionally, the content size for the same page has increased by 15 KB (one particular image containing logos loaded in as 600 pixels wide, which is wider than the screen of an iPhone!).
The above image shows both the logos in question, as well as a re-rendering using CSS sprites. The optimization scan shows that this trick saves a considerable amount of bandwidth:
Identifying Issues and Creating Action Items
To ensure optimal performance for your site by identifying any of these issues that might be present on your homepage, Rigor recommends daily optimization scans. While this may seem frequent, the constantly-changing nature of an eCommerce site, combined with the high cost of having a high bounce rate due to lackluster performance means that running these scans often is a small price to pay.
Once any issues are identified, the results of the optimization scan should be shared with content managers (or the responsible parties) to form a “fix-it” list of actionable items. Rigor’s optimization tools make it easy to share the report to anyone who needs to see it.
Shoppers won’t wait for webpages to load, so it’s important that your pages load as quickly as possible to prevent them from navigating away to another site. It’s vitally important to optimize key pages on both your desktop and mobile sites. One way to identify areas where you can make improvements is by running a Rigor Optimization scan.
For customized information on how Rigor can help you optimize your site and improve its performance,