Running an online store goes far beyond churning out products and marketing them to customers.
In a brief chat with the CEO of Crystallize Bård Farstad, he talks to us about the importance of site performance to any eCommerce store’s overall health and growth. Also, he drops some significant insights into Google’s Core Web Vitals and how they affect your webstores conversion rates.
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When it comes to site performance, every eCommerce store must consider the three major aspects of site performance and how it translates into business sense:
- How do you want customers to find you?
- How fast is your site?
- How do you make your customers feel?
There’s no point spending thousands on marketing campaigns targeted at customers when the main place you need to be (your site) is nonexistent online.
We live in a world where everything can be found via one Google search, and if your store doesn’t pop up organically, you might need to step back from marketing and refocus on your site’s Core Web Vitals.
Think of Google’s Core Web Vitals as the test your store needs to pass to confirm that it runs smoothly.
To fully understand Web Vitals, you’ll need to first understand the purpose for which it was created, which is as a metric for Google to rank the performance of every site in terms of the overall intent of the consumer or page experience.
First introduced in May 2020, by June 2021, Google released a new user-based update to web vitals, shifting the measurement metric to site speed and performance as a determinant for page ranking.
Now there’s nothing to be confused over because all this simply means is a faster Core Web Vitals score equals a higher ranking on Google’s organic search results.
Since the end goal of your business is to make a profit, you need to stand out by being in the top % of stores that sell the same products and services as you.
Basically, if you score well on Core Web Vitals, you would have a higher chance of being found, making performance and CWV an important part of your eCommerce SEO strategy.
This brings us to the second aspect of site performance: site speed.
Google isn’t the only one that loves a fast site, as customers fall head over heels in love at first contact with a fast store.
Your website speed is the first impression a customer has of your business and first impressions matter.
If you still have doubts, let the numbers do the talking. A study carried out by Amazon back in 2006 measured page delays in increments of 1000 milliseconds and revealed that load within speed reduced conversion rates by 7%.
Google itself recommends 1-2 seconds as the ideal page load time. In fact, Google confirms that “The probability of bounce increases 32% as page load time goes from 1 second to 3 seconds.”
The general conclusion from these numbers is that customers drop off quickly when your site is slow.
And now, the third aspect which may make or break your profit margin is this; How do you make your customers feel? When Nielsen conducted his survey 20 years back, he concluded that the ideal online interaction should last less than 100 milliseconds. Surprisingly, this figure holds true even today.
Interaction spanning less than 100 milliseconds makes a customer FEEL seen and heard; it most closely simulates real-time experiences. Any more than 100 milliseconds encourages a decline in interest that’ll have them leaving in seconds.
These three elements should be the focus of any backend company for e-commerce sites. By delivering a concrete API that optimizes your site’s performance and scales up your framework, a better managed front end is achieved.
Of course, we use Google core vitals to effect these changes. These core vitals make up only a part of the much larger metric called Page Experience. Google core vitals are chiefly performance-related.
The first of the Google Core Vitals we must pay attention to is the Largest Contextual Paint, an automated value that estimates the time it takes for the largest above-the-fold content to show on the screen.
The LCP considers your site’s loading performance; the amount of time it takes to load and render the main content of a page. Ideally, the load time for LCP should be less than two and a half seconds where it is in your browser.
The main content of a webpage should become visible and ready to receive commands or interactions within 2.5 milliseconds.
After page loading time, the next metric of concern is First Input Delay, the time from which a user provides an input until your site offers a response.
For example, your customer takes the bait, decides to shop for a t-shirt, and adds it to their cart; processing this input should be done in under 100 milliseconds. Anything more gives them time to change their mind.
This part of Web Vitals includes your CTA and search buttons.
The last part is the CLS.
The Cumulative Layout Shift measures visual stability; how fast your site loads images without distorting the text.
Cumulative Layout Shift deals with how often text and images jump or shift around, distorting the flow of thought of your readers and perhaps even interrupting an interaction.
To stay on Google’s good side, you need a CLS of 0.1, proof that your site is visually stable. Meaning images on your site remain stable from when they are first rendered in less than two and a half seconds, improving the page experience.
Buttons and search fields should also be clickable in less than 100 milliseconds.
How much a customer enjoys staying on your site. The more the shift, the worse the experience. A CLS of 0.1 means your site is relatively stable.
Measuring Core Web Vitals is easy.
The easiest way is to use tools like Lighthouse and Google’s online metric tool, PageSpeed Digital. To use these, you need to paste the URL of your page and hit enter.
Results are generated instantly and color-graded; green for good (above 90), yellow for fair (50-90), and red for poor (50 below).
Your store needs to be in the green or yellow zone and NEVER THE RED to rank highly on Google!
However, finding out that the problem exists is just the first step.
A great Cre Web Vitals score also allows for a reduction in terms of costs for paid adverts. You can enjoy up to a 50% reduction in the price for paid ads and enjoy up to an 8X increase in turnovers.
Bottom line? With the right Core Web vitals score, you can achieve higher conversion rates and tighter traffic in one go, either paid or organic. As a matter of fact, page experience is the link between the two.
Better page experience = happy Google = even happier customers.