Home – New Forums Marketing mastery How a shopping cart can kill your business

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  • #988241
    JohnW
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    Hi All,
    A frequently asked question on FS is, what e-commerce system do you recommend?

    That is arguably the least important question relevant to online shopping sites. The answer is that there will be many cart software programs that will suit any situation.

    A much more important issue is load speed.

    If you get this wrong, you are very likely to go out of business!

    Web page load speed is a multi-factored function. It will involve you, the site owner and the functions you think are important on your shopping cart, your developer and his/her skill in configuring the shopping cart program, your attention to details in publishing your cart web pages and your choice of hosting services.

    If you think I exaggerate, check these articles:

    How Loading Time Affects Your Bottom Line

    “Unfortunately, website visitors tend to care more about speed than all the bells and whistles we want to add to our websites. Additionally, page loading time is becoming a more important factor when it comes to search engine rankings.”

    If your page takes 4 secs or longer to load, you can expect to lose 25% of your traffic.

    For shopping sites it is worse…

    How website performance impacts shopping sites – 40% leave a site that takes longer than 3 secs to load.

    E-retail sites fatten up, slowing performance

    “The median e-commerce page takes 10 seconds to load compared with 6.8 seconds in 2012—a 47% slowdown”

    “The study found that the “time to interact”—that is, how long it takes for a “page’s primary content to load and become usable”—stands at 5.4 second for the median web site. That’s certainly better than the median of 10 seconds for a page to load completely, but Radware says most online shoppers will at least think about leaving a page after waiting for three seconds.”

    If your focus on selecting a shopping cart is the software, you are very likely doomed to fail.

    IMHO, the starting point should be evaluating the site developer and the hosting service.

    If your developer does not talk to you about load speed and hosting services and if they are not prepared to discuss how your requests may negatively impact on load speed, I suggest you keep looking.

    Web Developers,

    • Would you care to add your observations about issues that can impact load speed?

    Website owners,

    • Do you have questions about what can impact your load speed?
    • Do you know how you can assess your site’s load speed?

    Regs,
    JohnW

    #1166265
    dangaff
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    JohnW, post: 192516 wrote:
    Website owners,

    • Do you have questions about what can impact your load speed?
    • Do you know how you can assess your site’s load speed?

    I’m interested in this for sure.

    Additionally, how can I speed it up and also, does anyone use Host Gator and do they find them slow, fast, medium?

    Cheers

    #1166266
    Greg_M
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    dangaff, post: 192538 wrote:
    I’m interested in this for sure.

    Additionally, how can I speed it up and also, does anyone use Host Gator and do they find them slow, fast, medium?

    Cheers

    This thread could take up pages, and I’d drive everyone nuts with stuff they don’t want to listen to.

    The bottom line is, every line of code has to be retrieved from a server and read by the browser.

    Your site which doesn’t seem to have a huge amount of content is a good example.

    It takes 48 round tripes to the server to collect all the data to get it to load.

    There’s 67 lines of code in the “head” of the page (this has to be loaded before the browser even starts rendering the page), plus about another 40 lines of compressed JavaScript driving your page building widget.

    There’s about 26 different JavaScript widgets loading (some of which you’re not using – and one that’s causing a Javascript error and is not working anyway), a lot of those need their own CSS files which are loaded separately … then there’s the images.

    Currently, according to “Pingdom” this site is spending 80% of it’s time dealing with JavaScript plugins.

    Every line of code is “overhead”.

    How you deal with this stuff is the subject of another 2000 posts, but simplistically, you cannot fix too many plugins, with another plugin.

    Caching your site on a Content Delivery Network certainly helps a lot, but at some point a new user has to download it all.

    Cheers

    #1166267
    JohnW
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    dangaff, post: 192538 wrote:
    I’m interested in this for sure.

    Additionally, how can I speed it up and also, does anyone use Host Gator and do they find them slow, fast, medium?

    Cheers
    Hi Dangaff,
    A good source of info about page load speed is Google Webmaster Tools (GWT). This includes a report with suggestions about various factors which may be improved for your website.

    Remediation may involve your developers or yourself or who ever uploads your content. The third party may be your hosting service.

    Estim8 addresses the technicalities of how/why some pages can be slow to load. You might want to talk with your developers about what is needed and why. Go to that meeting armed with your GWT report and ask the developers to comment and explain.

    Also take some load speed test reports to the meeting. Test your Home page and a selection of internal page types. Pingdom has already been mentioned. Another load speed tool is http://www.webpagetest.org.

    Another issue can be image file sizes. I commonly see images of 100+ kb on shopping sites. This may not be obvious on pages where only one pic displays and the user is on a high speed access.

    It becomes more than troublesome however when there may be 10 or more 100+ kb pics on the page and the viewer is on mobile access speeds.

    The speed issues of any hosting service can include:

    • Where the server is located
    • How many sites are being hosted on a server
    • How many high demand sites are using the server’s processing power at the same time as your site users.

    I can’t offer comments on Hostgator as a service as I have no experience with them.
    Regs,
    JohnW

    #1166268
    dangaff
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    Interesting.

    Yes I believe the Mr. Value Investor one probably won’t be tooooo slow.

    Whereas my other two sites: DJG TRADING and Gun Auctions (especially DJG) are a bit slower. Lots of content, images etc.

    In two weeks I plan on going through the DJG one and rewriting all the descriptions and potentially the images as some of it is quite generic and not helping the SEO side of things.

    I’ll probably look to consult with an SEO ‘expert’ in the near future, take full advantage of Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools etc.

    I’m just sceptical on whom to go with, and the true level of service that can be provided.

    #1166269
    Greg_M
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    dangaff, post: 192607 wrote:
    Interesting.

    Yes I believe the Mr. Value Investor one probably won’t be tooooo slow.

    Whereas my other two sites: DJG TRADING and Gun Auctions (especially DJG) are a bit slower. Lots of content, images etc.

    In two weeks I plan on going through the DJG one and rewriting all the descriptions and potentially the images as some of it is quite generic and not helping the SEO side of things.

    I’ll probably look to consult with an SEO ‘expert’ in the near future, take full advantage of Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools etc.

    I’m just sceptical on whom to go with, and the true level of service that can be provided.

    I don’t think any of your sites are “too” slow. I picked on your post to illustrate a point.

    In fact I thought the extra sites you listed were quicker if anything, and with a lot more content.

    I didn’t look under the hood to see if they’re using the same CMS though, or run any checks.

    I see lots that are “very slow” and usually all have the issues mentioned as a starting point.

    I won’t buy into the SEO stuff, but if speeds a factor it’ll take a bit of homework to sort it if you’re DIY … if you’re using a developer, it may test out what they really know.

    I think you also need a “platform” specific approach to fix some things too. So maybe a platform or CMS specific developer too.

    For eg “Mr Value Investor” should get a small pickup by loading some of the JS scripts at the end of the page, not the start (the page starts to load without them).

    How you make that happen on a WP site, probably needs someone that works with it a lot (to do it simply and cheaply).

    Guess I’m just not fond of using plugins to overcome plugins.

    Cheers

    #1166270
    Anonymous
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    Don’t cheap out on hosting, not using shared hosting services.

    As stated, the data has to come from somewhere, I personally would rather wait an extra 5 seconds and be presented with a beautiful web experience and multiple images of the product I may be buying than have it load instantly and have it look like it was made by myself in my 2006 Highschool Information Technology class.

    Images now have to be a higher resolution to cater for apples retina displays which will increase load time. There has to be a trade off somewhere.

    #1166271
    Greg_M
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    isaac.martin, post: 192612 wrote:
    Don’t cheap out on hosting, not using shared hosting services.

    As stated, the data has to come from somewhere, I personally would rather wait an extra 5 seconds and be presented with a beautiful web experience and multiple images of the product I may be buying than have it load instantly and have it look like it was made by myself in my 2006 Highschool Information Technology class.

    Images now have to be a higher resolution to cater for apples retina displays which will increase load time. There has to be a trade off somewhere.

    I’d agree with all of that, and I enjoy a really well put together visual experience.

    Would you agree though … that a site that loads asynchronously, in some sort of order giving the user “some” useful content … to at least let them know they’re connected, is a better proposition than a browser that just “hangs” while everything gets its act together?

    I think it’s that sensation that there’s “nothing” happening that puts users off. I think they’ll wait if its a progressive experience.

    Cheers

    #1166272
    Anonymous
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    estim8, post: 192613 wrote:
    I’d agree with all of that, and I enjoy a really well put together visual experience.

    Would you agree though … that a site that loads asynchronously, in some sort of order giving the user “some” useful content … to at least let them know they’re connected, is a better proposition than a browser that just “hangs” while everything gets its act together?

    I think it’s that sensation that there’s “nothing” happening that puts users off. I think they’ll wait if its a progressive experience.

    Cheers

    Totally agree, a simple, yet beautiful loading icon can be effective enough, most of the time the user will flick to another tab they have open while they wait (at this point in time i have 7 tabs open in safari + my code program + indesign + iTunes in the background) they can then return to a website that has fully loaded.

    An issue I encounter a lot is clients who have access to the CMS will upload photos that are 1mb + and then complain when the site is slow.

    Not much i can do about that!

    #1166273
    Greg_M
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    Seems we have some common ground …

    All of it may become a mute point though, if Google starts to seriously penalise slow loading sites.

    And … then we have mobiles and tablets, where I don’t believe the user is quite so patient. Responsive design can help quite a bit but all those “visibility: none;’s” still have to load.

    All doable, but I wonder whether we’re getting to the end of what can be done easily with a typical CMS, especially if it has to do a round trip to the server (and database) to return even a static page.

    #1166274
    bb1
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    isaac.martin, post: 192614 wrote:
    Totally agree, a simple, yet beautiful loading icon can be effective enough, most of the time the user will flick to another tab they have open while they wait (at this point in time i have 7 tabs open in safari + my code program + indesign + iTunes in the background) they can then return to a website that has fully loaded.

    An issue I encounter a lot is clients who have access to the CMS will upload photos that are 1mb + and then complain when the site is slow.

    Not much i can do about that!

    Ok this discussion was ok, but unfortunately you are assuming that all users have 7 tabs open, plus a heap of other things happening and are happy to swing between them.

    That may be so for computer literate people, but I think you will find that 70% of people wouldnt even know they can switch between 7 tabs, etc, etc. All they want is for a website to load and not let them sit around waiting.

    In those circumstances if you have a website that takes umpteen years to load,people leave and go elsewhere.

    #1166275
    dangaff
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    estim8, post: 192611 wrote:
    I don’t think any of your sites are “too” slow. I picked on your post to illustrate a point.

    Well that’s always pleasant to know. Perhaps I exaggerated when I said “slow”.

    Cheers for that quick review.

    I’ll keep reading on as this thread progresses.

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