Belk Inc. had one of the largest speed improvements on Internet Retailer’s desktop performance index for the month of February, which monitored Internet Retailer’s top 100 retailers between the two-week period of Jan. 29-Feb.12, according to data provided by digital performance analytics company Catchpoint Systems Inc.
The department store chain’s site, Belk.com, jumped 24 spots to No. 64 from No. 88 after speeding up its desktop home page to 3.93 seconds from 5.61 seconds.
Belk’s rise occurred after the website reduced the number of client-side scripts since early January, which is the time it takes a browser to process a site’s code when it needs information or user interaction that is not available on the server, says Mehdi Daoudi, CEO of Catchpoint. For example, an image that changes when a consumer mouses over it.
Still, Belk is slower than the index average of 3.61 seconds. The retailer did not respond to a request for comment.
Looking at the top 10 list, J.Crew Group Inc. and PC Connection Inc. are new to the list this month. J.Crew moved up 33 spots to No. 5 from No. 38 by improving its page load time by 1.5 seconds, thanks in part to a slight decrease in its overall page size, a Catchpoint spokesman says.
PC Connection moved up to No. 8, up 15 spots from No. 23, by reducing its load time by 1 second to 1.63 seconds from 2.54 seconds the previous month.
“The website has also eliminated redirects, which has reduced the load time,” the Catchpoint spokesman says. A redirect occurs when a website automatically sends a visitor to a new preplanned destination.
For the two weeks of Jan. 29-Feb. 12, the top 100 retailers’ average load time was 3.61 seconds, the same as the previous month. The average page weight was 2.42 megabytes compared with 2.35 megabytes in January, and the average number of hosts was 50, compared with 51 the previous month. The average number of items was 173 compared with 170 in January. The top 100 sites were, on average, 99.75% available for Jan. 29-Feb.12, compared with 99.89% available for the first two weeks of January.
Internet Retailer and Catchpoint Systems produce two monthly site performance indexes, one for mobile sites and one for desktop sites.
Catchpoint Systems monitors each website’s home page with measurements taken from Catchpoint Systems’ in-country or in-region monitoring nodes, at intervals of five minutes for two weeks each month. Backbone monitoring nodes are the locations of Catchpoint’s devices that are near data centers operated by the main Internet Service Providers that provide service to a city. The nodes simulate end-user contact with each website. Catchpoint monitors webpage load time, availability, hosts and items.
They are defined as follows:
Webpage load time: The time it takes for enough page elements to load for a consumer to begin interacting with a page, such as searching, tapping or scrolling. From a consumer point of view, the time it takes for the progress bar or spinning wheel to stop.
Availability: The percentage of time during the two-week test week that the site can be successfully reached by a consumer.
Host: Any domain that delivers data, content or services over the internet to the site.
Items or Requests: Webpage components, such as files or images that a page loads from internal and external hosts or domains. These can include PDFs, PNGs, JPEGs and GIFs.