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Increase Site Speed To Increase Site Conversion

My column this month in Catalog Success is about site speed. Faster sites are perceived as more usable, and typically enjoy higher conversion as a result.

Here’s the article outline:

  • Manage for Speed
    • Measure page speed
    • Establish a site speed composite metric
    • Shop your site on a slow connection
  • Remove Needless Inefficiencies
    • Improve the speed and quality of your site search
    • Shorten your shopping cart checkout path
    • Separate broadband and regular content
    • Alert customers to possible delays
    • Use height and width tags on images
  • Send Fewer Bytes
    • Let users choose if they want fat content
    • Shrink image files
    • Use CSS to reduce markup
    • Avoid HTML tables
    • Move CSS and JavaScript off the page
    • Merge multiple external style sheets, merge multiple external script files
    • Keep cookies small
    • Strip superfluous white space from your source
    • Use CSS for text banners
  • Build Pages Faster
    • Install more memory on your e servers
    • Invest in faster disks for your servers
    • Keep analysis queries off your transactional servers
    • Serve static content from a dedicated server
    • Use caching
    • Tune your server
    • Tune your database

Here’s a sidebar on using AJAX for speed.

Here’s the full text of article.

Vrooom!

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  • Alan Rimm-Kaufman
    Alan Rimm-Kaufman founded the Rimm-Kaufman Group...
  • Comments
    3 Responses to “Increase Site Speed To Increase Site Conversion”
    1. Dave says:

      Alan, any hints on how much of an increase to expect, e.g. 1 sec = +5%, 2 sec = +7%? We’ve done things to speed up our site, but measuring it in conversion has been hard to do.

    2. Hi Dave –
      If the site is so slow it is “broken”, the conversion lift can be material. If the site is OK, and speed tweaks take it from “acceptable” up to “impressively fast”, the conversion lift will be smaller, a percent or two. Sounds small, but conversion lifts (w/o discounting or giving away shipping!) are very hard to achieve.

      Jupiter Research in their study “Retail Web Site Performance: Consumer Reactions To Poor Online Performance” (n=1058, April 06) provide some related stats:

      Of users indicating dissatisfaction w/ a website, 33% cite speed (too slow) as a reason. Of users abandoning the transaction, 18% cite speed.

      Speed also makes sites more search engine spider friendly, another bonus.

      Cheers –

      Alan

    3. Ohioadnet says:

      This is great information for me as my site has a lot of javascript. I will move it offsite in hopes of improving loading speed. I am told also that this is great for search engine optimization. Thanks for your help!

      Marlon