10 Frustrating Reasons for a Slow eCommerce Website and the Actionable Steps the Developers Should Take

by Smitha Adarsh

Jul 25, 2019

An age old saying goes like this, 'Slow and Steady wins the Race'. But, for an eCommerce website, this quote becomes a recipe for its failure. As an eCommerce website developer,  you need to know the 10 major reasons for a slow eCommerce website. Knowing and taking actionable steps against these reasons is crucial for your Client's eCommerce business and critical for your website maintenance services that you are offering to your Clients. 

Un-optimized Images on eCommerce website

Having a large number of un-optimized images within the eCommerce website is one of the major reasons that badly affects the speed of an eCommerce website. High resolution images consumes a huge amount of bandwidth while loading. Uploading the images that are large in size and then scaling it down can cause unnecessary increase in size of the web page. This eventually causes the website to  become too slow.

The image format is one major factor that needs to be considered to maintain the speed of an eCommerce website.

For example, Images in Jpeg format will be ideal when compared with PNG or GIF formats that consumes a lot of bandwidth . Having said that, exclusively using JPEG format images and avoiding PNG or GIF can maintain the loading speed of the website to normal.

Actionable Steps

·         Check the file size of the images and keep it below 1 MB.

·         For large icons especially, use JPEG instead of PNG.

·         Use Waterfall tests to scan the image sizes and take correct measures.

·         Un-optimized images can cost your Client, the dollars in the form of bandwidth coverage.

JavaScript Issues

The JavaScript/JQuery Plug-in have made things easy for adding dynamic content to eCommerce websites. However, when not implemented properly, JavaScript can entirely spoil the website's page load speed.

For JavaScript and jQuery to get loaded, interpreted and executed, it takes some time. If you are using multiple APIs to call and render JavaScript and jQuery data, it can lead to significant delay while loading the web pages.

Actionable Steps

·         Make sure that Script bloat is real. Perform a thorough analysis of the JavaScript to see what you need and eliminate what you don't need.

·         Implement asynchronous loading .

·         Also use tools like Segment or Google Tag Manager, a single script for all your tools.

''NodeJS, with its asynchronous programming feature, with non-blocking event loop I/O model, can make a website 10 x faster with quick load time. So, Spurtcommerce, the open source eCommerce solution NodeJS will be the best choice to develop an eCommerce  website that results in a high performing eCommerce website with quick load time.''

Having too much of flash content

Flash is definitely a great tool for bringing interactivity to websites. But, it can significantly affect the speed of the  website, making the page load slow. That's because Flash content is huge in size and greater the file size, slower will become the load time of the pages.

Bringing down the size of Flash files or removing it altogether would improve  page load time to a considerable extent. For making the website speedier, you may look for HTML 5 alternatives that can replace the existing Flash content.

Actionable Steps

·         Flash is huge and it is certainly not good for the performance of the eCommerce website.

·         Flash used to be popular but it's no more as it is seen to affect the site performance.

·         Start looking out for HTML5 alternatives.

Excessive HTTP Requests

Having loads of JavaScript, CSS and image files will result in several HTTP requests. When a User visits your Client's eCommerce website, the browser performs several requests to load each and every of these files, which will in turn result in a very slow loading of the pages.

Actionable Steps

·         Begin using 'Sprites' to bring down HTTP requests.

·         Reduce the number of files that include CSS, images, JavaScript, as far as possible.

·         Minimize CSS and JavaScript files and reduce the number of total files the users will have to download.

Not making use of caching techniques

Caching improves the speed and performance of an eCommerce website. If you are not caching, then you are missing out on one of the best practices towards maintaining the speed of the eCommerce website. Caching is a technique that allows you to store frequently used data points in the 'cached memory'.

Any repeated requests for the same content gets served from the cached memory. This will speed up the entire data retrieval process.

By implementing browser/HTTP caching and server-side caching, you will be improving the performance of the eCommerce website to a great extent.

Actionable Steps

·         Caching significantly improves performance.

·         A  bunch of things, right from  HTTP, Database Queries, to images can be cached.

·         Caching sometimes can be tricky. If you want to cache something you can do it, however you need to be careful.

Unclean Code

The most common and yet another frustrating reason for the low performance of an eCommerce website is unclean code. When you are developing an eCommerce website, having excess white spaces, inline stylings, empty new lines and unnecessary comments can make the style sheet of the eCommerce website grow larger in size.

By eliminating these unnecessary elements, you will be compressing the code, reducing the file size and improving the overall speed of the website. Also, if your Client is interested in ranking their eCommerce website in search engines, by following these steps, you will be helping them in seeing a significant improvement in the SEO performance of their eCommerce website too. Also, as an alternative to coding, there are many online tools that can be made use of to clean and minimize the style sheet files.

Actionable Steps

·         Attention to detail matters the most here.

·         Don't be lazy to use inline CSS.

·         Make sure you do not create multiple style sheets, where you can use a single one.

''Another actionable step is to migrate your eCommerce website to a newer technology with an eCommerce solution that comes with a clean code. Spurtcommerce, the open source eCommerce solution on NodeJS has been carefully developed by doing a thorough R&D by the Spurt team. The coding structure followed by them completely abides by the Industry's standards and best practices of NodeJS.''

Not using Zip Compression

By enabling gZIP compression, you will be instructing the server to bundle all the web objects including images, CSS, JavaScript files, etc., in a single container, for before they are being sent over to the requesting browser.

Compression reduces response time by bringing down the size of the data being transferred from the server and the visitor's browser. This will in turn help in serving the requested content faster.

Actionable Steps

·         gZip is one of the most important factor towards improving site performance.

·         It bundles all the web objects in a single container, for sending it to the requesting browser. So do follow this step.  

Too many Ads

Display advertisements are a must for monetizing high traffic websites. However, it shouldn't come at the cost of affected performance of your Client's eCommerce website. Advise your Client,  not to encourage too many ads, which then becomes a reason for a slow website.

The obvious impact of overloading the eCommerce website with advertisements is the increase of HTTP requests, which will take additional processing time.

Particularly the rich media ads like pop unders, interstitials and auto downloads, create hundreds of HTTP requests, ultimately making the eCommerce website unresponsive.

Actionable Steps

·         Advise your Client on limiting the number of display ads on their eCommerce website.

·         Advertisements results in additional HTTP requests that slows down the eCommerce website, increasing the page load time.

·         Advise your Client on using advertisements only where they need and when you need.

Not using CDN service

A CDN is a service with distributed network of independent servers deployed in different geographic locations. It can serve web content to visitors with high availability and high performance.

Depending upon the geographic location of the Visitors of your Client's eCommerce website, the requested content gets served by the node located at the nearest available data center. It would minimize the round-trip-time (RTT) and serve the requested content in a much quicker time.

Actionable Steps

·         Although not mandatory, it can definitely help if your Client's eCommerce website has visitors across geographical locations.

·         CDN caches frequently accessed data in geographically distributed datacenters.

·         They can help minimize round-trip-time (RTT) and serve content faster for your Client's audiences.

Bad Hosting

The web hosting service provider will matter a lot when it is about the performance of the eCommerce website. If the eCommerce website you developed  has slower than average page load speed, then it need not be your fault, however, only if you have taken the above mentioned actionable steps.

Actionable Steps

·         With all of the above actionable steps in place, switching over to a different hosting provider can improve the speed of your Client's eCommerce website.

Conclusion

The right technology does play a significant role  in bringing speed to the eCommerce website. And, Spurtcommerce, built on NodeJS can certainly makes a difference, if you adopt it for your eCommerce development. If you think you should start developing eCommerce websites that is high performing and speedy, then, take an actionable step towards that and check out  www.spurtcommerce.com today.

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Smitha Adarsh