Report • 05.06.2018

Analysis tools – Faster websites boost sales

Part 1 of the topic series: Mobile optimization

Websites must work and display as well and fast on mobile devices as they do at home on a PC. If they don’t, consumers will abandon the customer journey before it even begins. That’s also why website operators must continuously monitor and optimize this aspect.

The German Federal Association of the Digital Economy (BVDW) has developed guidelines designed to help with mobile optimization. We took a look at them, summarized the most important information for you and added our own experiences.

Increasing mobile usage brings new challenges

Smartphone usage is at an all-time high, whether people use their device to access information, to research or to shop. According to the BVDW, 54 percent of page views in Germany already happen via mobile devices - and that percentage is rapidly increasing.

The challenge here is that mobile consumers can be very unforgiving when it comes to their valuable time and even more valuable data volume. They are quickly frustrated if they run into problems with a purchase: abandoned shopping carts thanks to slow-loading webpages are inevitable in this case.

Meanwhile, many website operators are completely unaware of these issues but also the options that are at their disposal. That’s why the BDVW sees a great need for action in the following areas:

  1. Performance and load time
  2. Google (poor ranking due to performance or responsive issues)
  3. Frustration during the checkout process
  4. 3-Second Rule

"Mobile surfing and shopping impact sales of multichannel retailing. In 2017, mobile-influenced sales ranked at 19 percent on average - increasing to an average of 24 percent in fashion." Source: Qubit.

When time is of the essence – Problems with the 3-Second Rule

One important question retailers must ask themselves is who they want to attract. The obvious answer is: Why the customer, of course! Obviously. But not just the customer! They also mustn’t underestimate the impact of search engines like Google. They can be both friend and foe. They can relegate websites to the back pages but they can also surge them to the top page of results. That’s why it is crucial to follow Google's rules. User and Google’s expectations of websites are similar: they both want fast loading sites and simplified processes to meet user-friendly criteria. Quick and easy is the name of the game.

Nowadays, simply offering a responsive web design is no longer enough. Even though mobile websites are nearing standards set by apps, it’s still not enough. They also need to maintain a wide range, while boosting user-friendliness and functionality.

Tools: Analysis helpers to ensure a user-friendly online presence

Once retailers realize that their performance is less than ideal or that their website runs or loads too slowly, they first need to find the cause.

Special analysis tools can help.

The tools suggested by BVDW vary in the intensity of the analysis and whether you want to use Google or not. Here is an overview:

Yslow offered by Yahoo analyzes and rates the website based on the content, JavaScript or server settings. It also offers detailed suggestions and tools for improvement.

PageSpeed ​​Insights offered by Google uses the data from the Chrome User Experience Report to make better recommendations. In addition to optimization suggestions, the resource also offers statistics - but no tools, except the option to instantly compress your images.

Test My Site - also offered by Google- measures the performance of a website by entering the URL. This tool also performs a speed test of the registered page, offers action suggestions and a detailed report.

WebPagetest.org gives users various specification options and thus a very accurate analysis. However, it does not offer explicit optimization recommendations.

Lighthouse is an open-source analysis tool by Google, specifically for AMP. In addition to analysis, it also provides a number of recommendations for performance optimization.

Find out about the next steps after the analysis in the next installment of the "Mobile Optimization" series.

Author: Nora Petig, iXtenso – Magazine for Retailers

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