Top speed hacks for better mobile experiences

By Ken Burke, Founder and CEO, MarketLive1267985808_3f91a1c86a_z

Of all the ways to make your web site more accessible to mobile customers, perhaps nothing is more important than upload speed. Improving SEO so more visitors find your mobile site, ensuring it’s easy to navigate from a small screen, and streamlining checkout are all crucial to converting mobile browsers into shoppers. But if the site doesn’t load in a matter of a seconds, visitors won’t wait around to see your landing page let alone make to through checkout.

Fully 47 percent of consumers expect a 2 second or less load time, while 40 percent abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load, according to data from KISSMetrics.

That’s not much time to make a first impression. In addition, every 1-second delay in page response can result in a 7-percent reduction in conversions.

That means for an e-commerce site pulling down $100,000 per day, every 1-second delay can translate into $2.5 million in lost sales every year. Do the math on your site’s average daily revenue and the cost of inaction will become painfully clear.

Luckily, there are plenty of tools and tips to help shave time off your site’s render speed. Web sites like, Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test and plug-ins like Yahoo’s yslow all help web developers and marketers identify issues that can drag site performance down.

Top tips to speed mobile sites include:

Check pages for outdated code and errors. Pages can have all kinds of hidden, unused or outdated code embedded in them that can slow performance. A good example of this kind of low-hanging fruit is tracking gifs for an analytics tool you’re no longer using. Get rid of them. The same with 404 errors. This annoying message means the server can’t find the content requested because of a broken internal or external links, not uncommon for frequently updated e-commerce sites. Google Analytics will find and tag your 404 pages for you. This should be a regular part of website maintenance.

Streamline images. It’s understandable for web developers who’ve put so much energy into   desktop sites packed with beautiful high-resolution images to resist dumbing them down for mobile, but it’s vital to preserve site speed. Page sizes should be less than 400K apiece. Use image editing tools to crop image size and reduce color palette. Consider file formats (JPEG,GIF, PNG, etc.) that allow smallest possible file size while maintaining desired quality.

Structure pages properly. Putting Javascript the end of a page can help them load important   elements faster by making your HTML content load first. Removing unnecessary characters and condensing page code (minification) also speeds things up by reducing the amount of data needed to transmit the same commands. Tools like Web Resource Optimizer also make these        a snap.

Use Content Delivery Networks. Storing data on servers across the Internet is a common way for e-commerce providers to speed the delivery of site elements to end-users. Some merchants skip this step because of the costs involved, but the return in speed is well worth the investment. Some e-commerce suites like MarketLive provide clients CDN-cached product images standard.

Stay vigilant. Optimizing site speed isn’t a set-it-and-forget-it proposition. It requires regular monitoring, maintenance and performance upgrades to keep sites operating with the speed that mobile customers increasingly demand. Merchants should know what one second of upload speed means to conversions, and take steps toward a speedier site every day.

About the Author:

Ken Burke is Founder and CEO of MarketLive, a leading eCommerce Software providing enabling total commerce, Ken founded the company as Multimedia Live in 1995 with only $500 in start-up money, and under his guidance it has grown into a leading Total Commerce solution provider. Inspired by strategies and business methods from the cataloging and direct marketing world, Burke masterminded the creation of the MarketLive® Intelligent Selling® System, MarketLive’s enterprise-class e-commerce application designed to optimize all selling opportunities, build solid relationships with customers, and give merchants complete control over their online merchandising. A recognized e-commerce industry pioneer and visionary, Ken hosts frequent thought leadership events and is often quoted in Internet Retailer and other industry publications. A dynamic and popular speaker, he is a regular contributor at retail and direct marketing events. Ken is also the author of the book Intelligent Selling®: The Art & Science of Selling Online. He studied multimedia and the Internet at the University of Southern California, where he completed a BA in Marketing and earned honors as an MBA graduate in Venture Management and Entrepreneurship. For more information about MarketLive, please visit: and for more great content from Ken, please visit the MarketLive Blog-

Photo Credit: Nathan Bittinger