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One of the things we really work on is making sure that CommerceCM is as fast as possible so I was excited to download a new State of the Union report from Radware about eCommerce Page Speed & Web Performance and learn how our customers compare.

This report looks at the top 100 eCommerce sites and how they perform.  While we don't have any Top 100 customers (yet) I was very pleased to see that we kick some serious butt compared to many of these much larger operations!  While the target everyone talks about is a 3 second load, the median load time for the top 100 sites was 6.2 seconds to render and 10.7 seconds to fully load.  Most of our customers start rendering around the 3 second target and are fully loaded between 6 and 7 seconds.  I couldn't imagine our customers putting up with an almost 11 second load time!  A worrying trend is that sites are getting slower.  Measured in percentage sites are about 25% slower in 2014 than in 2013!

What is ideaLEVER doing about this?

We recently integrated Edgecast as our Content Delivery Network for enterprise clients (those doing over 1000 transactions a month).  Smaller clients can use Edgecast for a nominal additional fee.  While our performance has always been good in North America, with our focus on multi-currency and multi-lingual eCommerce for international retailers and manufacturers, we needed a solution to improve delivery for overseas shoppers and the CDN has been a huge help.

Derek and the programming team have also done considerable work optimizing the CommerceCM code in the last few releases and we have seen some significant improvements.  This is an ongoing task as there is no magic bullet that will solve everything.  Many of the solutions to trim another 100 ms  from a page load need some pretty significant changes to the code.

What can you do to help?

One of the things that has big impact on page speed is the amount of data that has to be sent from the server to the browser.  About 50% or more of this is usually images and total page size has grown a startling 60% in the last 12 months as designers use bigger, full screen images.  You can have a significant impact on your site performance by optimizing your images.

  • Compression:  Most professional design tools will let you set the "quality" of the image output.  Too much compression and the images looks fuzzy and have weird artifacts.  Not enough and you are shipping 500kb of image when you could be sending 1/3 of that!  Play with your software or Google "free image optimizer".  You should also learn when to use Gif, JPG, or PNG images as each have their own benefits.

  • Progressive JPEGs:  These images render in stages which gets a partial image loaded quickly so your visitors at least have some hope that a page is coming and won't bail to your competitors.

Doing it right the first time will not take any additional time but could trim a second or more from your page load time and we all know that time is money!
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