Category : Ecommerce

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Every quarter at Radware, we measure and analyze the performance of the top 500 retail websites.* And every quarter, I’ve grown accustomed to the persistence of two trends: pages are growing bigger and, not coincidentally, slower.

But while I expected to see some growth and slowdown in our latest research — released this week in our State of the Union: Ecommerce Page Speed & Web Performance [Summer 2014] — I have to admit that I wasn’t expecting to see this much.

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Earlier today, I had the privilege of speaking at Velocity Santa Clara on a topic near and dear to my heart: the mobile user experience. I presented research we conducted at Radware that I’m really excited about.

By now, most of us have internalized the fact that slow pages hurt mobile user metrics — from bounce rate to online revenues to long-term user retention. At Radware, we wanted to understand the neuroscience behind this in order to get a 360-degree view of mobile performance, so we engaged in the first documented study of the neurological impact of poor performance on mobile users. Here’s how we did it, and what we learned.

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I talk to a lot of people who have taken on the role of in-house performance evangelist at their organization, and I know it can be a hard, lonely job. Often it’s a self-appointed role because you’re genuinely passionate about web performance. And often you’re fighting a one-person battle in a workplace that’s already struggling to cover a lot of other technical bases with limited resources.

Over the past few months, we’ve been slowly rolling out Expert Talks, a series of easy-to-digest, solution-agnostic videos that provide brief explainers of key performance concepts. One of our goals in creating this series is to make it easier for you to evangelize within your organization by offering videos that you can use to explain whatever performance issue you’re trying to define or solve.

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*NB: Don’t panic. Correlation does not equal causation. More on that later in this post.

In our latest quarterly research into the performance of the top 500 ecommerce sites, we found that while 75% of the top 100 websites use a content delivery network, CDN usage doesn’t correlate to faster load times. Sites that use a CDN take a full second longer to render primary content than their non-CDN-using counterparts.

Today, I want to discuss why these findings aren’t as surprising as they sound, what CDNs fix versus what they can’t fix, and how site owners can ensure they’re covering all their performance bases.

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Performance has only recently started to make headway into the conversion rate optimization (CRO) space. These inroads are long overdue, but still, it’s good to see movement. In the spirit of doing my part to hustle thing along, here’s a collection of infographics representing real-world examples of the huge impact of page speed on conversions.

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Earlier this week, I had the privilege of speaking at the RWD Summit, alongside awesome folks like Tim Kadlec, Brad Frost, and Jenn Lukas. I presented some of the findings of research we conducted here at Radware about how mobile users engage with ecommerce sites, and how this engagement is affected when pages are slowed down even by marginal amounts.