10 Things You Can Do to Speed Up Your Web Pages
The average online shopper expects a website to load in three seconds or less. Yet despite aggressive user expectations, a recent study of the top 500 e-commerce sites finds that retail pages are slowing down.
According to Radware's State of the Union for E-Commerce Web Performance, a typical retailer's homepage takes 10 seconds to fully load and 5.4 seconds to display primary content, well short of the three-second goal for an ideal user experience.
This shortfall comes with a price tag. Slower pages translate to higher bounce rates, lower conversion rates and lost revenue. To illustrate, Wal-Mart found that when load times slowed from one second to four seconds, conversions declined sharply. For every second of improvement, the retailer experienced up to a 2 percent increase in conversions.
The main performance-leaching culprits are page size and page complexity. Today, the median web page contains 99 resources and is 1510 KB in size — 20 percent larger than the 1258 KB we measured just six months ago.
If you're a site owner determined to regain control over your website's performance, you can start by focusing on three key problem areas: images, latency and third-party content.
Optimize Your Images
Images comprise almost 60 percent of the average e-commerce page's total weight, and they represent a huge opportunity for optimization. Here are some ways how to ensure optimal performance for your images:
- Compress images. Smaller file sizes mean less payload travelling across the wire.
- Use progressive images instead of baseline images. In one study, progressive JPEGs improved median load time by 15 percent.
- Ensure that pages are structured to load feature images first. For many of the pages we studied, the feature image loaded last or almost last.
- Reformat images. An incorrectly formatted image can be several times larger than it needs to be. Rule of thumb: Photos should be in JPEG format, complex graphics should be in PNG-24 format and simple images with few colors should be in PNG-8 format.
Shorten the Roundtrip Time (RTT) for Your Page Resources
Roundtrip time (RTT) is the amount of time it takes for a host server to receive and process a request for a page's resources. RTT is subject to latency — i.e., the delay in getting content from point A to point B. The amount of latency depends largely on how far away the user is from the server. Here are some ways how to fix latency issues: