It’s that time of year again, which means many businesses are gearing up for their busiest period. But did you know that if you spend some time optimising your site ahead of the festive holidays you can potentially make more money?

The average web user has a very short attention span when it comes to browsing the web and with the growth of mobile web browsing, this is even more important. Studies have shown that the average user expects a website to load in 2 seconds or less and that a 1 second increase in page load time can yield:

  • 11% fewer page views
  • 16% decrease in customer satisfaction
  • 7% loss in conversions

While your website isn’t Amazon, here is an excellent case for squeezing the most out of your website. Amazon reported that for every 100 milliseconds that they managed to increase their site speed, conversions increased by 1%.

We also can’t forget about Google when we’re looking for improvements. It is a well known observation that Google regards site speed as a very important ranking factor, especially since the introduction of mobile web browsing. In simple terms, the faster your website loads, the faster Google can crawl your website, this means Google spends less money on electricity crawling and indexing your site. While 1 website isn’t going to deliver any magnificent savings, imagine a few hundred thousand seconds across millions of websites. That’s a lot less energy expended over time.

But how do you measure how fast a website loads? Set a stopwatch and press go? Thankfully there are a lot of web tools that measure exactly what we need. Here are Teapot, our favourite tool is Pingdom. They will access your website from their external websites and give you a lots of useful information that you can use to improve your site load time.

Here are 7 things you can do improve your site to get an edge during the Christmas period.

Image Size

Believe it or not the way you save your website graphics can greatly affect the size of your web page and how fast your website loads. We would recommend saving all of your graphics as JPEG with a compression low enough to save on size but high enough that doesn’t start degrading the image quality.

Top tip

If you are using Photoshop to save your web graphics, make sure that you’re using the “save for web” setting in Photoshop and you can half your image size. We recommend setting the image quality between 60 and 80. If you don’t have Photoshop, we have a few helpful guides that can help you.

Image Dimensions

Optimising the dimensions of your image can also greatly help with your site size and site load time. An excellent example of this is producing a nice graphic for your sale that is 1000×1000 and loading it on your site and resizing it using CSS to 250×250. Reducing the dimensions of the image will significantly improve the load time if you site and reduce the size of your site.

Fast Hosting

Okay, let’s get one thing straight, besides what anyone thinks, not all hosting is the same. There is a vast difference between the hosting options available and you should do research. The age old saying “you pay for what you get” stands strong here.

Minimise Redirects

If you want a fast site you need to keep redirects to a minimum. If your .htaccess is full of 301 redirects, every time someone loads a page, they land on their destination URL and then get redirected to the new URL. Now imagine a huge .htaccess file which is read sequentially and add a 100+ visitors on the site simultaneously. That’s a heavy load on the system.

Caching

Prestashop has a number of caching options built into it that are simple and require no extra configuration. We recommend turning these on, as core Prestashop will be able to handle these caching options and you will get a significant site boost from these. You can read about how to turn these options on here.

Media Servers

If you have cPanel access to your site then setting up media servers is a sure-fire way to speeding up your page download time. By their very nature, web browsers download sites sequentially if no media servers are present. Setting up static media servers are simple, add two static subdomains to your cpan

Turn off un-needed plugins

Like WordPress, Prestashop allows you to add a number of third party plugins from independent developers. Sometimes these plugins can be extremely resource heavy, so during your busy periods we would recommend turning off your less important plugins.

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