Tips for Examining, Improving Your Retail Website Speed

One of the most important indicators of a website’s potential for strong SEO and future success is speed. If the website is slow when opened, chances are that Google will not rate the site highly, and that customers will leave the site and never return because of low user-friendliness. This can prove devastating, ultimately resulting in a very high bounce rate and in search engines not picking up the site.

In ranking websites, Google takes into account a number of factors. One is the speed of the website. High-speed websites have a higher chance of ending up on the first page of Google search results. Google has stated that the optimal load speed for a website should be up to three seconds on any device, including computers, smartphones and tablets.

“Page experience” is another factor, and this focuses on customers’ user experience — and one of the key components of a positive experience for visitors is, you guessed it right, page speed! By making your website super fast you will immediately establish a professional first impression. A slow website will make visitors hesitate to revisit even if its content is relevant to them.

According to professional SEO expert Neil Patel, 89% of search engine users say that they will not return to websites that load slowly. This is a good indication of just how important website speed is.

This is especially the case when it comes to shopping. When you can’t find something because of an online retailer’s slow-loading website, you’ll most likely search for that item on another site. Websites that are slow by just one second are reported to have a 7% lower conversion rate. Think about it! That is a lot of revenue loss just because of website speed. This will make your bounce rate on your store very high and ultimately your ability to sell your products will suffer, affecting your brand and credibility in a very negative way in the long run. Here are some tips to help avoid that:

Check Your Website’s Speed

There are a variety of online tools that allow you to check your website’s loading speed, including Google Page Insights (https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/), GTmetrix (https://gtmetrix.com/), Pingdom (https://tools.pingdom.com/) and Think with Google (https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/feature/testmysite/).

Remember, not all sites where you check your website speed will perform the test in actual 4G, though this is expected to change in 2022. The different sites listed here will probably give you different results, so doing your own detective work is advised. You-Tube is also a great source for learning more about website speed and what you can do to improve it.

Contact a Professional SEO Consultant

Using an SEO consultant is a great way to improve general SEO and ranking. However, make sure that the company you choose has a lot of experience in the field where you operate and the products that you sell, or is at least familiar with the market you are in. The general rules of SEO do not apply if you operate in a niche market, in which case you may be better off learning to do the job yourself or educating someone in your company, who understands the market, to handle it. Hiring an SEO professional who doesn’t understand your business is an easy way to throw money out the window.

What Else Can You Do?

You have the power to do plenty! Start by educating yourself on all the aspects of website speed. A good place to look for more information is Moz.com, which is known as “the most trusted SEO company” with a website that’s packed with educational content for all levels of SEO expertise.

For starters, to make the front page of your store load the fastest, it should be as clean as possible without tons of banners, effects and so on. Too many bells and whistles will slow your website down and will cause it to load more slowly. The provider of your site is also a very significant factor. The best ones will have a solution for JavaScript, which often plays a huge role in website speed. Test more than just the front page. Go through your collections and product pages and simplify as much as you possibly can on your own.

Google also has some tools that can help you to keep track of your pages’ performance. Google Search Console is a great tool and it’s free. Once you connect your website to it, Google Search Console will list the pages on your website that have loading times longer than 2.5 seconds and will reveal the technical issues that are preventing your pages from performing better.

If your speed is bad but your conversion rate is high, you are doing something right. Nevertheless, small changes can be made to speed up your site to reach an even higher rate of conversion. Just do the detective work that is needed, educate yourself, and you will rock 2022 like a boss!

Tips for Examining, Improving Your Retail Website Speed by JFK Løvlien originally appeared in XBIZ

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