We live in the age of instant gratification, and that desire to get what we want, when we want it definitely extends to the ecommerce world. Customers who shop online not only want the convenience and selection that ecommerce offers, they also want it fast. The longer it takes your store’s website pages to load, the more site abandonment increases. That means that slow page load times can equal lost sales. BigCommerce, an ecommerce software provider, is already working on speeding up load times for its users. At the end of 2015, BigCommerce reduced the average load time of their sites by 30 percent, making the response time less than half a second, on average. This is great news for BigCommerce store owners, as it’s been shown that many online shoppers simply will not wait more than 2 seconds for pages to load.
That said, even BigCommerce store retailers should monitor their website’s speed and optimize it where possible. You can use Google PageSpeed Insights or Pingdom to test your site’s speed for free. Doing so will allow you to see where and why your pages are slow in loading. The following are the three biggest offenders and how to fix them.
Follow These Guidelines for Image Optimization
Your images on BigCommerce may be the number one factor in slowing down page load times. Keep in mind that to be effective, your images don’t have to be billboard sized. If you adhere to the following guidelines, you will increase your site’s speed:
- 1250 px – Don’t go over 1250 pixels for the width of your images. That’s what BigCommerce recommends and it will keep your load time faster.
- 72 dpi – This is how many dots per inch your images have to be to show properly online. To compare, to print a photo you need 300 dpi, but for the internet it’s unnecessary and will slow your load time down.
- JPG instead of PNG – While PNG files may be more exciting, they are really huge. If you keep it simple with JPG images, your photos can be compressed much more than PNGs and you won’t sacrifice any quality.
- Device-responsiveness – Whatever theme you use (BigCommerce or a custom website build), make sure that it is responsive. It’s standard practice these days, but if you have had your site for a while, you may not be satisfying your mobile customers. If your site isn’t device-responsive, phone and tablet users may be abandoning your store for others that load faster. Responsive themes automatically adjust image size for mobile users.
BigCommerce does automatically resize product photos to fit in your product descriptions and thumbnail areas of your website, so you don’t have to be concerned with uploading multiple sizes of the same image.
Check Your BigCommerce Apps
You have many applications to choose from on BigCommerce to enhance your ecommerce store website. However, it’s important to keep in mind that the more you add to your store, the more code has to be loaded with every click your customers make. When you test your site for speed, you will be able to determine which apps are the heaviest offenders on your site. If they are unnecessary, consider removing them, and consider the weight of any future apps before you add them.
Fix Your Redirects
As your store grows and evolves, you will likely make changes, add inventory, and create new categories for your products. When you do this, you will sometimes rename category pages. With some ecommerce solutions this can create problems because certain subcategories and products may be associated with old categories and now their path is unclear. Luckily, with BigCommerce, you don’t have to worry about that because it automatically redirects. That said, if you have changed category names more than once, you are creating a trail of redirects that will slow things down on your website. To remedy this, you can easily check your website’s redirect page and do some cleaning up.
Speeding Up Your BigCommerce Site
Today’s online shoppers have so many websites at their fingertips, they don’t have to suffer with slow loading sites. If your customer encounters a page on your BigCommerce store that isn’t lightning-quick, they will likely move on to a faster website, costing you valuable sales. Using the three tips above will help you optimize your site’s speed and help your bottom line flourish. If you’re a better seller than you are a coder, you can always hire a web developer to help you make the changes necessary to optimize your site’s page load time.
Glew Offers Advanced Reporting for BigCommerce Stores
Glew integrates with BigCommerce to offer in-depth insights on your store's product, sales and customer data. Read all about our BigCommerce integration here.