Who are obsessed with site speed? Google and customers. Fast responding site equals higher ranking on search engine. Faster responding site equals happy customers. The creators of Magento put platform flexibility on top, but it comes at a price. Despite being the most used ecommerce platform, Magento is rather heavy. Magento optimization is a common term among Magento users. To increase website speed, there are several options to consider.
Website loading speed checking tools
There are several tools that are often used to check website speed with Web Page Test, Page Speed, Pingdom, Google Webmaster Tools, and GTmetrix as our personal favorites. These tools help you identify what is slowing your site down, together with an overview suggesting improvements. Perform the test regularly, don't let slow pages decrease your sales.
Images and cinemagarphs play a crucial role in increasing conversion rate. Every online store owner wants to put the best product pictures on his webpage without compromising site loading speed. According to a research, most consumers are willing to wait about 3 seconds for a page to load on their desktops. Logically, bigger size images take longer to load (adios, potential customers!).
Image optimization involves choosing the right type of file and/or using additional extension(s). There are three file types for images: GIF, PNG, and JPG.
JPG provides the best quality and can be compressed quite significantly. Meanwhile, compression is impossible for GIF. And PNG are often in much larger size than JPG. A few KB might seem small, but if you optimize all of your images around your page, it does add up. A 50% to 60% decrease in quality JPG files still provides high quality results. Compression can also be done using Adobe Photoshop and various Magento extensions and plugins.
Lazy loading can be an alternative. Instead of letting everything load at once, make new images appear only when the customers scroll down.
Checking your hosting option
Magento is an open ecommerce platform requires dedicated hosting service. Even before your customer base becomes bigger, you already see a fall in site speed. Careful consideration should have been done in the first place, but sometimes sudden growth can be quite unexpected and uncontrollable. No matter big or small merchants, choosing a good and reliable hosting company is a challenge due to high hosting costs.
Do a thorough review of optimized dedicated server that can specifically handle Magento platform. There are several names to choose from based on your sizes. If you have limited budget, consider hosts like SiteGround, BlueHost, LiquidWeb, or GoDaddy. If the amount of traffic is decent, go for Peer1, RackSpace, or SingleHop.
It’s good to choose a host company based on the majority of your customers’ location. And remember to aim for reliability (host reputation) and flexibility (easy configuration) of the hosting solution.
A web cache is used for temporary storage of web documents to reduce bandwidth usage. Under this cache, a specific user’s behavior at the first page can be stored away for future usage. For example, if resources of the first visit is stored, when customer visit the page the second time, this cache is loaded instead of the server.
Magento Admin Panel comes with a built-in caching management system. Full page cache can be enabled by going to ‘System’ and then ‘Cache Management’. Select everything, choose ‘Enable’ and click ‘Submit’.
Removing unused (third party) modules and extensions
Using flat catalog
Magento uses the EAV model to store both customer and product data. Another tweak can be made from Magento Admin Panel is enabling flat catalog. Usually websites with more than 1000 products use this feature.
Go to System –> Configuration –> Catalog –> Frontend. Enable both of the followings:
- Use Flat Catalog Category
- Use Flat Catalog Product
This way only one query is required to load the whole product because enabling flat catalog for Category and Product merges data into 1 table, thus increasing site speed.
Run the latest version of Magento
New versions of Magento are updated for performance boost, new features, and bug fixing. It’s obvious that these improvements bring speed enhancement to your Magento store if you are running an outdated version. Make sure to update your store to Magento 2 before carrying out any of the aforementioned tips.
Check your inbox in the Admin Panel regularly to check for news and upgrades.
It’s all about consistent periodic testing and maintenance to keep your website at its maximum speed. Optimizing performance is not an easy task unless you have solid knowledge of website structure. Consider hiring Magento optimization professionals to find the best action plan for your business and see the significant difference in your website speed before and after service.