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Web Site Performance: Is It Important?

November 12th, 2014

Just imagine, you are hungry. You call a famous food-delivery service, order tasty and not expensive cuisine and expect to get it in some minutes. Remember, you are very hungry. But there are 30 minutes left and you still have no food and nobody answers your telephone calls. What is your further action? You are turning to another food-delivery service. The same is in e-commerce. If you do not provide your customer with fast, quality service, you lose this client.

Have you heard that 1 second delay in page-load time is identical to 7% loss in conventions. It is not a great surprise that having a slow web shop your visitors abandon the shopping in your store and shift to your business rivals. Web shop SEO is a guarantee of long term but not permanent result. On-and-off you have to promote your web shop and optimize it.

Online shop performance is one of the main problems while optimizing an e-shop. The result of bad web shop performance is not only your customers reject using your service, but also the decreasing pagerank as in 2010, Google declared website speed would be having an influence on search ranking. Here is the link, for those who want to learn more about it. Since that time, web shop performance is an SEO factor and the web shop seo becomes harder without the site optimization. As a result, we should keep an eye on its level.

As we have explained why web shop performance is important, we will tell you how to test it, how to increase your page load speed and what key performance indicators you should monitor. Almost all of our clients use CS-Cart system that’s why we will examine online shop built on CS-Cart platform.

In the beginning there should be an analysis of your e-shop performance.

Your aim is to make a careful estimation of your online store. It is possible that the web shop performance is perfect, nothing has to be replaced and, currently, this article is a waste of time for you. But it is a common fact that nothing lasts forever. So, do not postpone this article in a far corner. To be on top of the rating you should constantly run a shop seo plan.

Tools to use.

Being an experts in our business, we use several services that provide us with a web performance report in the Internet. If you need to check your website we advise you to try the measuring tools, we usually operate with. These tools show what is slowing your online store.

It is up to you to decide what service is worth to use for checking your web shop performance but the best variant to try all of them.

Methods to increase the page speed in CS-Cart.

You have checked your online store performance and understand that it is far from the ideal. What should you do next? The good thing of these performance report services, they indicate what exactly you should change in you online shop.

Performance report systems have given you a list of issues you should fix within your online shop seo program. We collect the most common issues we often face up with

  • specifying image dimensions
  • optimize images
  • minifying css
  • minifying Java Script
  • leverage browser cache
Problems Solutions
Specifying image dimensions Say the browser all sizes at once and it will react faster. In case, your web shop bases on CS-Cart system, you should choose Admin panel -> settings -> thumbnails. Set the dimensions here. But if it is not enough for you, you may use a code modification. Use image tag with picture dimensions included height and width
Optimize images

JPG, PNG and GIF formats are preferable to use on your web store. Use several on-line tools to optimize your pictures.

  • TinyPNG helps you to compress your images;
  • SmushIt compresses pictures by removing nonsignificant bytes. It reduces the weight of the picture avoiding loss of the image quality.
  • JPEGmini can compact the picture up to 5 times without loss of quality.
  • Google Page Speed compresses images in the air. It is convenient and fast.
Minifying css

CSS - cascading style sheets; the files that make your website pretty. CS-Cart developers have already thought about this issue.

Find the following values in the file config.local.php:

‘js_compression’ => false, // enables compression to reduce size of javascript files
‘join_css’ => false, // is used to unite css files into one file and change “false” to “true”.

To add to it there is another good and simple resource for css compressing - http://csscompressor.com/

Minifying Java Script Google page speed tools have a built in compressor, you may use it.
Leverage browser cache Before a web browser displays your shop, it has to load many items: logo, banners, css files and etc. Your online shop will be opened faster if the browser remembers the resources that it has already met. How to leverage browser cache? Find your .htaccess file in the root of your domain. Open it.
## EXPIRES CACHING ##
<IfModule mod_expires.c>
ExpiresActive On
ExpiresByType image/jpg "access plus 1 year"
ExpiresByType image/jpeg "access plus 1 year"
ExpiresByType image/gif "access plus 1 year"
ExpiresByType image/png "access plus 1 year"
ExpiresByType text/css "access plus 1 month"
ExpiresByType application/pdf "access plus 1 month"
ExpiresByType text/x-javascript "access plus 1 month"
ExpiresByType application/x-shockwave-flash "access plus 1 month"
ExpiresByType image/x-icon "access plus 1 year"
ExpiresDefault "access plus 2 days"
</IfModule>
## EXPIRES CACHING ##
These lines enable instructs the browser to cache images, javascript, flash, pdf, and icons for the defined time period. By changing figures in this file you can increase or decrease the period of the browser caching. (Use it if you have Apache as a web-server)

Alt-team coders have successfully increased web store performance for many online shops based on CS-Cart platform. We have developed several ready-to-use extensions for making page speed faster. We are going to tell you in short about our products that help you optimize the web shop and increase page speed.

  1. Our modification “Page Load Speed Optimizer” allows to deliver all data without referring to MySQL files as memcached stores all loaded information. Data query, parts of the code, category pages, product pages and even static blocks may be cached with the help of “Page Load Speed Optimizer” add-on. The main question that usually appears - What is memcache? Memcached is a free and open-source software that is used for alleviating database load to increase the site performance. For example, the products on category page are loaded once, then added to memcache and if the next user refers to these products on category page, the data will be loaded from memcache, not from the database. It makes the website work faster. In accordance the cache storing period is necessary to define. If you specify 3 hours for memcache storing, it will be kept for 3 hours then the CS-Cart system will clear it. It is self-evident that you may clear the cache manually.
  2. Besides “Page Load Speed Optimizer” modification, Alt-team company could offer CS-Cart users “Cache for Anonymous Users” add-on. Your unregistered shop visitors will get fast-page load as only cashed site version is shown to them. It sounds good for the business and helps to escape the potential customers loss.  In case of this add-on the whole html code is cached. Example. Your first anonymous website visitor open the page on the shop. The html page is generated for him and loaded from the server. He waits while the page loaded. It is slow. But the nest web site visitor will get the already generated page and it will be fast as there no need to refer to server. If the user add the product to cart or logged in an online shop system he is no longer the anonymous user and he doesn’t get the cached versions of online shop pages. As a result the webshop will be loaded without cache for anonymous users. All google crawlers refer to an anonymous users so they get the cached variants of the pages. As a reaction the shop will be listed and ranked in Google well. Learn more about CS-Cart “Cache for Anonymous Users” add-on here.
  3. Moreover, Alt-team is able to examine the online shop based on CS-Cart and give you a detailed report what server configurations and optimization should be made within the SEO shop plan.

We have already mentioned the importance of config.local.php file. Here is the explanation of some code lines in this file.

// Tweaks
$config['tweaks'] = array (
   'js_compression' => true, // enables compression to reduce size of javascript files
   'check_templates' => false, // disables templates checking to improve template engine speed
   'inline_compilation' => true, // compiles nested templates in one file
   'anti_csrf' => false, // protect forms from CSRF attacks
   'disable_block_cache' => false, // used to disable block cache
   'join_css' =>true, // is used to unite css files into one file
   'allow_php_in_templates' => false, // Allow to use {php} tags in templates
);

In addition, CS-Cart company gives some advice how to increase website performance in the Base Knowledge on CS-Cart website

  1. They advise deleting languages that are not necessary for your online shop. Please notice that they tell you delete them not just disable.
  2. CS-Cart recommends to optimize the database by maintaining the database in Administration.
  3. At last they guide you to change the caching type in config.local.php file.

In conclusion, the faster your CS-Cart web shop performance, the more visitors stay on your site longer. The more visitors browse your store longer, the higher the position in pagerank. The result of these shop seo plan is:

  • you sidestep the rivals;
  • you have a top position in search engines’ pagerank;
  • there is a sales growth in your business thanks to fast shop performance and seo factors.

Remember, we have a great experience in increasing online shop performance. Trust this case us and you forget about the problems with shopping cart performance.

 

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