How to understand and use Google PageSpeed Insights to optimize your ecommerce website.
A quick guide to boost your online store speed and performance for better conversions.
1. Why Page Speed Matters for Your Ecommerce Website.
In today’s ecommerce landscape, most success guides in digital marketing for online businesses focus heavily on strategies such as paid marketing, content creation, social media engagement, interactive web features, and appealing user interface (UI) design. However, there’s a critical factor that often gets overlooked: website performance, specifically page speed.
Page speed is not just a technical aspect — it is a crucial element that can significantly impact your ecommerce success.
The page loading speed of your online store can make or break the user experience, directly influencing conversions, customer retention, and loyalty. Moreover, with Google using page speed as a ranking factor, a slow site means giving your competition an edge in search engine results.
Let’s dive deeper into the impact of page speed on the different aspects of your online business. Subsequently we will look at the best tips and strategies on how to monitor and improve your page speed.
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2. The Business Impact of Page Speed.
When it comes to your ecommerce website, every second counts. Several studies have shown that even the tiniest delay in page speed performance can have a significant impact on user experience, search engine rankings, and ultimately, conversions.
According to the Aberdeen Group, a mere 1-second delay in page load time results in a 7% loss in conversions, 11% fewer page views, and a 16% decrease in customer satisfaction.
In dollar terms, this means that if your site typically earns $100,000 a day, this year you could lose $2.5 million in sales.
If we dive deeper into the impact of page speed on user behavior, there is a direct correlation between page speed and user retention. A delay as small as a second can increase the chance of visitors bouncing off your site.
The consequences of slow page loading times are even more apparent in mobile. Research by Think with Google reveals that a staggering 53% of mobile users abandon sites that take longer than 3 seconds to load.
These statistics underscore the critical role that page speed plays in keeping online users engaged and driving higher conversion rates. Beyond the user experience, page speed also plays a pivotal role in searchability. Google has integrated page speed into its search ranking algorithm, promoting websites that are not only SEO-optimized but that also offers a better page loading experience.
This means that a sluggish site could hand your competitors an edge in search engine results.
3. Unpacking Google PageSpeed Insights and Core Web Vitals.
In the quest for a faster and more user-friendly web, Google has been a driving force in advocating for better page speed and performance. So it introduced PageSpeed Insights — a tool that helps website owners assess and optimize their site’s performance.
Google PageSpeed Insights provides insightful data and recommendations— but what does it all mean?
Google PageSpeed Insights tool is free. While extremely useful for measuring page performance and the overall user experience, interpreting its reports and suggestions could be challenging, especially for those without a technical background in web development.
Adding to that is Core Web Vitals. They were developed by Google as metrics for users to measure how fast your site is, and also considered as crucial for delivering a smooth and responsive user experience. Interestingly, they have been added as signals to Google’s search ranking algorithm, combined with other search signals more directly related to SEO.
Here is a simple breakdown of what the Core Web Vitals metrics are:
Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)
LCP measures how quickly the biggest thing on your screen loads (such as a homepage banner image).
Ideally it should appear in less than 2.5 seconds. Anything more than this can lead to user frustration and cause them to abandon the website.
First Input Delay (FID)
FID checks how fast your website responds when you click on something. Google sets a goal of a response time of less than 100 milliseconds.
A slow FID means it takes longer for the user to interact on and navigate a site in order to make a purchase.
Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)
CLS measures the visual stability of a website, i.e. how often you experience an unexpected layout shift.
A high CLS score can be frustrating for users, especially when they are trying to click buttons or links that move around as they load.
There is a good reason why they are called Core Web Vitals: they are vital indicators for your ecommerce performance. Paying attention to these metrics allows you to quickly identify and resolve any issues affecting your website’s page speed.
In the next section, we’ll share practical tips and best practices to boost your page speed and Core Web Vitals performance.
Test and optimize your Web Vitals.
Boost your ecommerce user experience.
4. Tips and Best Practices to Boost Your Page Speed.
We’ve mentioned Core Web Vitals as important criteria for evaluating your website. Improving your page speed is an ongoing and continuous process. Having a set of strategies to implement on a regular basis can positively enhance the user experience and business success of your ecommerce store.
Here are some proven strategies to accelerate your site and provide a better experience for your visitors:
Understand your current page speed and areas to improve
Before kickstarting your optimization journey, it is essential to assess the overall state of your site’s performance. How is my site currently doing? What are specific areas that should be fixed? Hence it is important to utilize proper monitoring tools such as Valido Web Score to assess your Web Vitals performance, so that focus areas are highlighted and you can easily access the insight needed for improvement.
Images are valuable assets for your website because they create an impactful visual experience for users. However, they also play a crucial role in your website’s loading speed. Ideally, your ecommerce platform should automatically resize and compress your images when you upload them, but there are also options like Squoosh and TinyPNG that help do that for you. that By compressing product photos, resizing images to fit your website’s design, and ensuring they are responsive, you can make a significant difference in your page speed times.
Reduce server response time
When a visitor clicks on your website, the server must respond quickly to deliver the content. Google suggests having a server response time of under 200 milliseconds. If you have a slow server response time, it could be caused by a number of different things, including your website host performance. By optimizing server configurations and resources, you can ensuring a faster delivery of your ecommerce web pages.
Minimize HTTP requests
Each element on your webpage, like images, stylesheets, and scripts, requires an HTTP request. HTTP requests can impact your website’s page speed in two ways. The larger the number of files requested, the more HTTP requests your user’s browser needs to make. Meanwhile, the larger the file size, the longer it will take to transfer it from your server to a user’s browser. Both of these factors contribute to slower page loading speed. Therefore, removing unnecessary elements, features, and extensions/plugins can help to enhance your online store performance.
Use browser caching
Browser caching allows your website’s elements to be stored in a visitor’s browser, so they don’t need to be reloaded every time someone visits your site. Using a content delivery network (CDN) service can assist in this, boosting site speed especially for international users as your webpages will be loaded from nearby CDN servers close to the visitor, instead of your own server. Effective browser caching can speed up subsequent visits, optimize resources, and improve overall page loading times.
Benchmark and track progress
While implementing the strategies to optimize your website, it is also crucial to track the results of these actions to ensure that your efforts lead to tangible improvements in page speed. In addition to Core Web Vitals, there are several other performance metrics such as Interaction to Next Paint (INP) and TTFB (Time to First Byte) which need attention. A tool such as Valido Web Score can help you historically track all the important performance metrics for your online store, as well as benchmark these results against the competition.
Leverage AI / Machine Learning tools
AI and Machine Learning now play a transformative role in enhancing page speed for ecommerce sites. Employing a tool such as Valido Web Score which offers AI-powered suggestions can help summarize actionable insights and possible solutions of problem areas in a matter of minutes. In addition to speeding up the optimization process, machine learning could offer personalized solutions based on user analytics and the specific needs of your ecommerce.
Perform regular monitoring and audits
Once you have achieved an excellent performance score, the job doesn’t end there. The dynamic nature of ecommerce websites means that regular performance monitoring is always needed to maintain an excellent page speed. However, most monitoring tools including Google PageSpeed Insights only perform ad-hoc tests.
Therefore it is crucial that you use monitoring tools that can visualize performance in an easy to understand way and automatically conducts tests/audits according to a desired frequency. Alerting is also an important feature to have, especially when critical performance issues occurs or when scores dip below certain thresholds. This proactive approach enables you to address potential problems promptly, ensuring a consistently optimized website.
5. Elevate Your Ecommerce
with Valido Web Score.
The above tips and strategies are some of the most important actions that you can take to boost your page speed. Nevertheless, how can you effectively test and monitor your ecommerce store in real-time, across different user devices and platforms?
Valido Web Score is an intelligent test automation tool with easy-to-use features to help you measure and monitor page speed and critical performance metrics. In addition, it provides competitor benchmarking and AI-powered features that enables you to effectively optimize your ecommerce store.
Measure and monitor in real-time
There’s no need to be a technical guru to enhance your website’s performance. The Web Score app breaks down results from Google PageSpeed Insights and Web Vitals monitoring into easily understandable information, providing targeted and concise summaries of problem areas.
Benchmark and track performance
Valido Web Score not only allows you to test and monitor PageSpeed Insights and metrics, it also helps you to benchmark and track your page speed performance effortlessly. The intuitive dashboards help you to visualize trends, compare results, and gain valuable insights to give you the edge over your competitors.
Optimize with ease
Efficiently optimize your ecommerce site for maximum page speed performance with Valido Web Score. The app’s AI-powered features generate practical solutions & actionable insights for your online store. Join countless businesses that have already elevated their ecommerce success with Valido.