Is Your Site Slowing Down Along with Top Retail Sites?

According to a recent report by Radware, Alexa's top 500 retail sites are slowing down significantly in terms of performance. In the past we've given you details on how long it should take your site's pages to load. According to experts, your site's pages should load in three seconds or less or you run the risk of losing visitors due to poor site performance. It seems that top retail sites haven't taken this advice as load times for first-time visitors are getting slower instead of faster. How slow? The average is more than 7 seconds. That's more than twice as long as it should be.

What Can You Do to Prevent These Slowdowns?

We've given Alertra readers quite a bit of advice regarding what they can do to speed up the load times of their website pages. Optimizing content is priority number one. You should also make sure that interactive features are optimized to load early and quickly and use software to enhance your pages' load times. If you can get your site's pages to load in three seconds or less, you'll be ahead of the competition in terms of performance. Since poor performance can draw a customer away from a site, it goes to say that good performance may gain you a loyal following of customers.

Understand Your Website's Load Times

To speed up your site's load time, you need to understand what affects it. As a general rule, how fast a website loads is directly impacted by the demand made on the server to load the website. The more HTTP requests that are made to the server, the longer the elements take to render. This means that your pages load slower. Whenever an image loads, a CSS style sheet loads, a script loads, and HTML loads, an HTTP request is made to the server. The fewer HTTP requests that you can cut your site down to, the faster your site will load. File sizes also have an impact on the performance of your site, so optimizing images and other files is also essential to your website's performance.

If you just manage your website and outsource the design and development to someone else, make sure they understand your concern with page load times. Discuss how you can ensure that your site's load times are as fast as possible. If you perform your own site design and maintenance, make sure you utilize techniques such as scaling of images, image compression, browser caching and combination of images into CSS sprites to speed up your pages' load times. Your customers will thank you for it and you'll be a step ahead of the competition.