Posted by Adrian Bridgwater, Guest Blogger

Faster websites can mean higher search engine rankings, better customer conversion rates and, ultimately, increased revenue.

Medical Supply Depot improved page load times, increased page views by 20% and improved overall stats without impacting the customer experience, after following the best practices laid down by NetSuite for website performance tuning. Meir Tsinman, president at Medical Supply Depot and Jeff Binder, cell leader for ecommerce performance and scalability at NetSuite, explained the process during a breakout session at SuiteWorld.

The pair set out their stall to discuss what making a website 40-50 percent faster would mean to a typical customer’s top and bottom line.

When we look at what causes poor performance, we need to look at both front-end and back-end performance in website development, Binder explained.

“Every HTML page is made up of a number of http requests, which will be made to the server, and the total size of the page determines the number of requests made,” he said.

Web architecture is hugely important. The average number of requests for an average page is around 100, Binder said. Therefore if a page with 200 requests is likely to be slow. is a great example of a fast web page and the number of requests is less than 50, he said. The total memory size of the page is also crucial.

“The average web page today has content from as many as 16 different domains – and this adds up to 1600 milliseconds of time needed to look up the content,” Binder said. “On average, 31% of page time rendering is spent on executing JavaScript.”

Ultimately, the total structure of page make up is a complex set of considerations, regardless of whether efficiencies such as “domain sharding” are used or not. These are the front end factors - and back end elements such as script optimization will balance these factors further still.

Medical Supply Depot improved its website performance running on NetSuite by remembering that speed is the always the most important factor. Tsinman urged all web designers to think about how long a particular web page loads on different connection speeds from different places in the country a user is located in.

“A one-second delay in page load time leads to a 7% increase in customer conversions,” said Tsinman. “Also, it seems strange, but a lot of people forget about all the third parties they leverage on the page and these connections points also cause delays. But unless required, third party embedded content should always load last.”

In fact, Tsinman said, it’s important to understand the cost vs. benefit for each embedded third party item on a site and clearly identify their business benefits, weighing the performance cost against the benefits through A/B testing, continuously evaluating which embeds help with conversion.

Medical Supply Depot analyzed its web presence and looked at what pages were responsible for performing which actions. It then looked to reduce the number of http requests, utilizing CSS Sprites (combining images into one image) and using some form of Content Delivery Network (CDN).

Tsinman cited a report commissioned by Gomez, which found that 39% of respondents to a survey say speed is more important than functionality for most websites, while only one in five rank greater site functionality as more important.

“Less is more when choosing between features and performance and page load performance tuning is an ongoing process,” said Tsinman.