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June 17, 2021

9 Ecommerce Optimization Tips for Fast & Effective Sites

Ecommerce optimization is critical to having a speedy and successful online store. Keep reading for actionable recommendations you can apply to your ecommerce business to increase site performance and conversions.

What Is Ecommerce Optimization?

Ecommerce optimization is the process of improving the performance of your online store. This boosts sales by enabling site visitors to convert into customers. Ecommerce optimization can include site speed, design, navigation, SEO, and more. All of these optimizations help your end goal of converting visitors.

58% of Stores Have a Multi-Step Checkout Process

Ecommerce Optimization Recommendations & Best Practices

1. Try Lazy Loading

If you want to optimize your ecommerce website, consider implementing lazy loading, otherwise known as asynchronous loading.

Lazy loading first pulls low-resolution images and then replaces them with higher-resolution images. This happens once the page’s other content has been loaded. It is a great method for easing server load and optimizing content delivery.

The use of this has steadily increased over the past few years as more ecommerce developers have become aware of it. Consider implementing in your site build to improve site speed and user experience.

2. Remove Hero Image Carousels from Your Site

Hero image carousels are image slideshows that alternate between multiple images. They have long been the bane of site speed for two reasons.

  • One, they require multiple high-resolution images.
  • Two, they are usually situated at the top of the home page. 

These two factors can combine to make home page loads take a lot longer than they should.

3. Optimize Ecommerce Images for Faster Loading

Product images are critical on ecommerce websites. But large image files can hurt your site’s performance.

Therefore, it is recommended you compress images strategically on your site. Utilize an image compression tool to reduce the file size without compromising image quality.

You may also want to consider utilizing a different image format. While most images tend to be GIFs, JPGs, and PNGs, there’s a newer option called WebP. You may want to consider using WebP images on your site, as they are 30% smaller than JPGs.

How to Convert to WebP Images on WordPress >>

Lazy Loading is used by an increasing number of stores to improve image speed

4. Utilize a Content Delivery Network

You may also want a content delivery network (CDN) to optimize your ecommerce site. The network of servers that comprise a CDN can really speed up your site. That’s because the CDN uses the server closest to a user to deliver content, such as an image.

CDNs are available as a standalone service, or are provided within a hosting service. Nexcess provides a built-in CDN in its hosting services.

100% of Stores Have Not “Appified” Their Web-Based Store

5. Have a Responsive, Mobile-Friendly Site

Responsive sites are the norm. Over the last several years, site owners have continued to optimize their site designs for mobile users, and in several cases even offered offline apps.

Headless applications provide the ability to make content and websites available offline. Instead of adding an app to multiple app stores, users can now save a website to their desktop for access at a later date (when they don’t have an internet connection).

6. Add a Search Function to Your Site

Site search is an important ecommerce store addition. Searchers are more likely to convert. 

In the past, search has often remained unoptimized and more of an afterthought. However, with search offerings such as Elasticsearch making it more powerful than ever before, it may be time to start implementing search in both mobile and desktop views.

7. Simplify Checkout to Reduce Cart Abandonment

Anything you can do to make checkout easier will help reduce shopping cart abandonment on your ecommerce site. One way to do that is through simplified checkout — either through a short, multi-step process or single step checkout.

Top 7 Ecommerce Website Features: What Customers Want in an Ecommerce Site >>

Multi-step checkout processes are where the checkout process is divided between several pages. Despite having multiple pages, the process is usually kept short so consumers are not turned away by a lengthy checkout. 

However, the one-step checkout has increased in popularity. More stores are offering consumers the ability to make instant purchases with just a few clicks. A single-step checkout could be a differentiator for your store.

8. Apply SEO Best Practices to Drive Visibility

SEO is critical to ecommerce optimization. Ecommerce search engine optimization makes your site more effective. By being more visible to Google, you’ll bring in more visitors, which leads to more sales.

For an effective digital content strategy, use keyword research tools to find high-volume search queries from your target audience. Infuse these keywords strategically across your site in headers, product pages, product descriptions, blogs, URLs, image file names, and meta tags and titles too.

How to Do SEO for Ecommerce Websites: Techniques, Tools, & Best Practices >>

9. Optimize for Google’s Top Metrics

If you’re looking for a way to get ahead of the competition on the results page, optimizing your site’s speed may be how you do it. Google has now made site speed a key ranking factor. 

In fact, site speed is one of Google’s recently introduced Core Web Vitals. These are Google’s newest page experience metrics.

Core Web Vitals include:

  • Largest Contentful Paint, or the loading speed of the largest visual element on your page. 
  • First Input Delay, or the time in between a user’s first interaction and the page’s response to that action.
  • Cumulative Layout Shift, or the visual stability of your page as it loads.

By having a site that loads and responds quickly, with visual stability, you’ll position yourself to be viewed favorably by Google. And this will help your site rank better. Higher rankings lead to more visibility, more site traffic, and as a result more sales.

Ecommerce Optimization Starts With Your Hosting Provider

You can do all the ecommerce optimizations you want, but if you have the wrong hosting service, it won’t make any difference.

Why?

The single biggest factor affecting store performance is the hosting configuration that comes from the host you’ve chosen. 

That being said, the simplest thing you can do for ecommerce optimization and performance gains is to change your hosting provider.

That’s where fully managed hosting from Nexcess comes in.

With a dedicated solution for WooCommerce hosting, you get:

  • Automated scaling to keep your site fast during traffic surges.
  • Automatically optimized images for fast loading times.
  • Lightning fast load times thanks for our built-in CDN.
  • And more!

See why users gave us a 4.6 out of 5 star rating on Trustpilot. Experience optimized hosting for your store. Start your free two-week trial today.

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This blog was originally published in March 2019. It has since been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

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