Faster websitesOlder internet users will remember the precious minutes wasted on dial-up connections as images resolved line-by-line, and active content took half an evening to appear. In the broadband and mobile era, we’re all used to light-speed loading times, but consumers are always on the move and even a couple of seconds delay can see them give up on your site and moving to another.

This recent news piece, from the BBC, suggests users will wait a mere three seconds for a page to load.

My site is slower than that; how can I speed it up?

Good site design, content caching and clever use of imagery will all help keep the loading time for a page to a minimum. Getting rid of, or reducing the priority for clutter such as social media sharing buttons, customer support chat windows and other features will also help improve loading times.

Be aware of increased traffic

Site owners also need to think about the the volume of users arriving on their pages. It’s all well and good running a marketing campaign and hyping the arrival of a new product or range, but if the site falls over due to massive demand from large numbers of users the second it goes live, angry customers, negative social media sentiment and lost sales will dominate what is supposed to be a high watermark for you. Ensuring you have sufficient server capacity, bandwidth or scalable hosting services are all part of the management of retail sites.

Even then, major sites crash at important times – take the Australian census page as a recent example. For retailers, any loss of sales – especially if customers go to rival sites – can be crippling for business. Catalyst2 offers dedicated web hosting and servers to ensure your business has a stable, reliable and fast platform.

With mobile increasingly important for users, the demand for instant loading will only increase. Customers are more likely to blame the website, even if poor network performance is to blame.

Take all these factors into consideration when building your retail websites.