In Business

How Dialing in Page Speed Can Increase Revenue

Are your e-commerce checkout pages faster than a speeding bullet? How about a hamster in a wheel? Okay, but at least tell us that they are faster than an inning of baseball.

Why do we ask about page speed? 

Believe it or not, page speed is a critical factor that impacts how well your checkout pages convert. 

That means it impacts revenue! 

Read on to learn why checkout page speed should be just as much of an area of focus within your e-commerce strategy as promotional offers and payment gateways.

It’s time to take your checkout pages from snail to snap. Your bottom line depends on it.

The Importance of Checkout Page Load Speeds and Why You Should Feel the Need for Speed

Today’s digitally-savvy consumers feel a level of trust and confidence in websites and digital platforms that operate quickly and efficiently.

Compare your expectations for a quality website to a quality car. You’re more likely to feel confident about a car that starts promptly, is easy to shift, and accelerates smoothly, right? You’d be less comfortable with a vehicle that stalled during ignition and unreliably chugged along.

Which would you be more likely to purchase if both were sitting on a sale lot? Exactly. We wouldn’t invest our money in the slow, clunky jalopy, either.

Your prospective buyers feel the same way about your website.

With the constant threat of identity theft and online fraud, consumers are less likely to trust a website that doesn’t seem as professional or reliable. Believe it or not, but checkout page load speeds are seen as an indication of trustworthiness.

Add to the the fact that we live in a culture that expects and rewards instant gratification. In that paradigm, page load slowness becomes a compounding problem that can hurt your brand reputation and your sales.

Don’t believe us? The facts speak for themselves:

  • 57% of online consumers will abandon a website if they experience more than 3 seconds of load time, and the same goes for 53% of mobile users who are only slightly more patient.
  • What’s worse, 80% of online consumers who flee a slow web page are not likely to return, which means you did not only lose a one-time sale, you said goodbye to a prospective buyer—permanently.
  • If a website earns $100,000 per day, a one-second page speed improvement generates an additional $7,000 daily, while a one-second delay typically equals an 11% loss in page views and an overall 7% drop in conversions.

The bottom line is that slow page load speeds can result in a high checkout page bounce rate—and if customers don’t stick, they don’t buy.

What is Page Load Speed and How to Test It?

Remember that you get less than three seconds for your checkout page to load to gain users’ trust and hold on to any prospective sales.

If you’re not sure where you stand with page speed, there are tools to give you an accurate assessment of your site speed and page load efficiency.

First, let’s better understand the factors that impact page speed.

What is Page Speed?

Page speed is defined as the time it takes the content at a specific URL to load in a browser.

It is measured on both desktop and mobile (and the numbers could be different between the two platforms).

All of your page’s content and backend components impact page load speed, including your code (HTML, JavaScript, and CSS), content (such as images), and hosting (including your server location).

How to Test Your Page Load Speed

Several reliable and free tools are available to test your page load speeds, including Google PageSpeed Insights and Pingdom.

Such tools allow you to enter a URL for both desktop and mobile site speed scores, typically reporting as a percentage.

Know that your odds of earning a perfect score are about the same as those of an Olympic figure skater (read: pretty near impossible). If you receive a rating above 80 percent, you’re in a top tier.

Bonus Ninja Tactic: If you use Google Analytics, you can access additional insightful speed metrics such as average user’s download time, domain lookup time, and average server response time.

Also, the page timing section details your website speeds at the page level based on browser type.

How to Optimize Page Load Speeds and Boost eCommerce Revenue

There are several strategies to improve page load speeds. To make the most significant impact on your checkout pages, you may need to test several of these strategies to find the tactics that will be most impactful, given the factors that are weighing your site down.

Reduce Image Sizes to Support Page Speed

For many web pages, image sizes are the most impactful contributing factor to page speed.

That’s great news. It means that it’s one of the fastest and easiest updates you can make to see a short-term speed improvement.

If your checkout pages include product images, graphics, or image-based branding elements, they could be to blame for slow load times.

Speedy Solution: If your checkout pages include large product images as reference, reduce the image and file size. For example, instead of adding an 800 x 800 pixel image, reduce it to a 400 x 400 or 200 x 200.

Speedier Solution: Consider compressing image files to reduce their overall size. PNG files offer the best solution for compressing image sizes without sacrificing quality and causing pictures to appear blurry or pixelated. Free tools like TinyPNG can help.

Bonus Ninja Tactic: Reevaluate your checkout pages and ask yourself if you even need to include images. Depending on your products and service offering, you may be better served by adding a brief product or package name and short description on your checkout page. 

Optimize Your CSS for Faster Page Speed

If a programmer custom built your website, it likely includes a code structure called cascading style sheets (CSS) to control factors such as site-wide fonts, colors, and branding elements.

Lengthy lines of CSS code can bog down page speeds.

Speedy Solution: Ask your programmer if they can condense the custom CSS on the backend of your website by reducing or combining the overall lines of code. This tactic may reduce the size of your CSS file by as much as 40 percent, which may help improve site speeds.

Migrate to a Content Delivery Network (CDN)

Who knew geography could play a role in website page load speeds? Turns out it does.

If your website is hosted on a server physically located at a single facility, then every time a user calls (loads) your website in a browser, the data needs to be retrieved from that server.

The latest server technology is helping to speed page load times by relying on a network of geographically distributed servers. Under this structure, a user in San Francisco may be served up your website content from a nearby server at a facility located in San Jose, while a user in Tampa, may be served the same material by a different server located in Virginia.

The reduced geographic distance between a server and an end user can improve page load speeds.

Speedy Solution: Talk to your website hosting solution provider about options to move to a CDN or what other products or solutions they offer to improve site speeds.

Optimize for Mobile

Mobile now drives 60 percent of e-commerce traffic.

That means more than half of your potential buyers are hoping to make a purchase from your website from a mobile device.

Optimize your mobile site, or else you stand to risk losing significant potential revenue.

Fortunately, there are tactics you can employ to boost your mobile web performance to make check out page load times FASTER. Faster means that your prospects are actively engaged and shopping. Ensure that you are actively pursuing a mobile-first e-commerce solution.

To do this, choose application integrations and software partners whose tools and UX are optimized for the mobile experience.

Spiffy, for example, is a checkout page solution optimized for mobile buyers. It is the first payment solution in the industry designed to be mobile-first. It’s part of how we offer blazing fast page load speeds. Check it out.

Tidy Up Redirects and Broken Links

Broken links and 302 redirects that indicate that a page has been moved temporarily not only degrade your user’s experience with your website, but they can also reduce your page speed.

Speedy Solution: Replace your 302 redirects with a cacheable redirect or a permanent 301 redirect, and never redirect URLs to pages that are also redirects. Every time your website needs to load another page, things can slow down.

Speedier Solution: Ultimately, the best practice with redirects is to remove them entirely when possible. Conduct an audit of your site and determine if there are opportunities to clean up your redirects.

Speediest Solution: Avoid all broken links, as they increase HTTP requests and damage your site speed. Use a free broken link checker to help you identify inadvertently broken links so you can remove them from your website.

Also, create a custom 404 error page so that if a user inadvertently types the wrong URL associated with your domain, that you provide them with a convenient experience to find the content they are seeking.

Organize Your Tracking Tags 

If your analytics strategy sounds something like, “we need data, data, and more data,” then you may have embedded JavaScript tracking tags all over your website.

Such tags can provide you with insights relative to user behaviors, conversion data, and retargeting opportunities. They can also slow your page speed. 

Speedy Solution: Implement a tag management system (TMS) like Google Tag Manager to condense all your tags into one, streamlined, and more time efficient JavaScript request. 

Final Thoughts

You’ve spent time building a product or solution that adds value to the marketplace, crafting your branding, and strategically investing in advertising opportunities.

Don’t risk losing revenue in a split second due to slow page speed. Especially when there are easy strategies to deploy, incrementally boosting page performance.

That miniscule moment—the equivalent of two heartbeats—could be enough to create a raving fan, or lose a sale to your competition. 

Click here for more ninja tactics to help you optimize e-commerce conversions and revenue.