It’s no secret: Page load time matters. There, I said it.
How much could a second or two really matter, I hear you ask.
Google was one of the first to measure this. When they experimented with adding more search results to a single page, it added about half a second to the experience. The result? A 20% drop in revenue!
Amazon calculated that every 100 millisecond delay cost them 1% of sales. To put it another way, every single second of delay would negatively impact Amazon revenue by 10%. Wow!
Walmart reported a 2% improvement in conversion for every second of delay they minimized.
Not to mention that Google has also said slow performance can affect your SEO and rankings.
Which brings us to you and your auto dealers website. I’m sure you’ve invested in the lookand feel and the functionality and got the point where you’re happy with it. Don’t however neglect page load time. You’re not immune to what ails Google, Amazon, Walmart and every other online retailer.
Fortunately however, you don’t need a degree in physics to instantly improve page load times.
Here are three simple steps to instantly turbocharge your car dealers website. If you’re using WordPress, you can achieve this through plug-ins, otherwise contact your web vendor to ask them.
Every time a visitor hits your site, there is a lot going on behind the scenes. Without getting too technical, basically your web server gets a request from John for your home page, and immediately goes to work to pull a bunch of pieces of data together to construct the html and send it back to John so that John can see it in his web browser. Now Mary happens to also visit your home page, and your webserver again goes and constructs everything to send the html to Mary. Phew, a lot of work for every visitor and this causes your site to slow down.
Cacheing is the process whereby your webserver gets smarter and says “I just constructed this HTML for John. I’m going to keep this here in memory so that if someone else asks for it, I’ll just send them the same copy instead of going to reconstruct it again”. So now Mary comes along and she gets the page much faster since she’s getting a copy already in memory.
If you’re using WordPress, check out wp fast cache as a free instant cacheing solution.
We love nice looking websites right? The problem is all those images on your site can cause the page load time to increase. Did you know that when a user visits your site, your browser has to fetch each image seperately? And sometimes those images are large. Much larger than they need to be. Perhaps you upload a high quality print ready image of a vehicle – an extremely high resolution which is not visible on a browser and typically is massive…many megabytes in size. All those images cause John and Mary to wait…and wait…
Well, you can automatically compress those images. Compression means sacrificing a little quality … though not noticeable to the viewer … in exchange for a much smaller size.
This means much smaller image sizes and much faster load times.
Ok this one is a little more technical…but bear with me. As a user visiting a website, you just see an entire page. Behind the scenes however, there are 10’s or hundreds of individual files being pulled in to present the page to you. Each one of those files are being fetched individually by your browser. This causes an increase in page load times.
The concept of minification is to take those individual files and essentially combine it on file, letting your browser fetch just one file instead of lots of files.
Fortunately, there are plug-ins that can do this for you automatically significantly speeding your website.
I hope you’ll consider implementing some of these techniques. The world of the online car buyer is increasingly competitive. The large IT departments from the big names in the car industry are constantly optimizing their site performance, but the good news is you can too…without needing a large IT department. Don’t assume a second here or a second there doesn’t mean that much. Amazon and every other leading retailer will beg to differ!
PS: No, we don’t sell site optimization products. Still, we love to talk about everything internet and online in the auto industry, so if you have any questions just post a comment here or drop us a line at [email protected]