Two words: Google does.
Just kidding … but not really.
If you keep up with the latest data on how user experience affects conversion rate optimization and SEO, you’ve probably read about page load speed being one of the ingredients in Google’s “secret recipe” for determining whether your site is a quality result for a user’s search query — and that includes your mobile experience too. In short, fast-loading sites make search customers happy, and happy customers help bring in mad advertising revenue for Google.
Case closed. Wait … not yet.
Before a customer can see your products, your content, learn about your awesome philosophy, or experience your phenomenal customer service, they have to get to your site first. Your homepage is often the main point of entry for your website. If a user gets impatient with the length of time it takes for this page to load, they will most likely give up and go elsewhere, which is a complete waste of the effort you took to get them that far in the first place. Studies have shown that even a 1-second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions (check out this great infographic from Kissmetrics).
Plus, if the bounce rate for this very important page is high, Google starts to get concerned, and your sliding rankings will show it.
Attention, BigCommerce Users!
If you are a BigCommerce store owner and your home page features carousel slider images, the size of these images can be a problem for load time right off the bat. The large images that exist on the desktop version of your site are the same images that will be used every time your home page loads on a tablet or smartphone, causing it to respond slowly.
The image sizes you’ve chosen for the sliders may be awesome for a large, high resolution, desktop experience, but what about on a tablet or a smartphone? It’s hard to visualize how something large can be successfully squeezed into a tiny container in the real world, but this is something that can definitely happen in the digital world … at a cost. Your images will indeed be loaded and resized, usually without distortion, but this takes time, and time is something you do not have when your customer is waiting.
“But — my store is mobile friendly! Why is this happening?” Unfortunately, “friendly” and “optimized” are two different things. Implementing a responsive template — which is something you absolutely should do — is just the first step in ensuring that your mobile customers have a good shopping experience. So while your site may be “mobile responsive” it’s not device optimized.
What Does “Device Optimized” Mean?
When a site is device optimized, it has been configured to run optimally on various devices. It is more than just adapting to a device’s screen; it is optimized for it. While choosing a responsive template generally handles basic formatting issues, the images on a site remain at their original sizes, which is not a problem if you’re not concerned with page speed … which of course, you are.
There is an optimal slider image size for each device a user can view your site on, whether it be desktop, tablet, or any kind of smartphone screen. Ideally, you should be loading the correctly sized slider image (i.e., loading a 400 pixel image on a 400 pixel phone instead of a 2,000 pixel image on a 400 pixel phone) for every mobile device.
When the right-sized image loads on a device, page loads are fast, which makes customers really happy. Unfortunately, BigCommerce has no built-in tools to fix this problem.
What Can I Do?
Here are two options:
Option A: Pay, Pay, Pay … and Pay Some More
Pay an experienced ecommerce developer (provided you can find one) to help you. If (and that’s a big “if”) this developer understands the problem and knows how to fix it, you can expect to pay him or her for at least several hours of development time now, and again every time you want to change the images on your site for a special sale or promotion.If you paid this developer $75/hour for four hours of initial work — a very low estimate — and an additional one to two hours every time you ran a promotion (say, once a month), you’d be paying well over $1000 per year just to maintain your sliders. Ouch.
Option B: DIY … and Save!
Install Inkblot Digital’s Responslider for BigCommerce, which automates the development process and puts the control of your website in your hands, where it belongs. Our coding experts have done the work for you, enabling you to easily upload the right-sized carousel images for every device, making page load time super speedy.
Responslider has been shown to increase home page load times by 20%. With plans starting at just $9.99/month, what have you got to lose, except maybe two overpriced lattes?
Now that’s more like it.
Responslider gets you back in the ecommerce race — and keeps you there. For more information, please visit Responslider’s site.
The end. For real.
This article is dedicated to Elisha Avne, our in-house sloth enthusiast.