A slow website in China can be lethal to your business. It may not kill your business altogether, but it will surely limit its visibility, performance, and significantly decrease your revenue. That being the case, optimizing your sites loading speed must get top priority on your checklist.
A fast website doesn’t happen overnight. It is the result of a deep analysis of your website's performance and the implementation of several tools that will boost that performance. Moreover, for a website to be fast in China, there are a few additional things specific to this geographical area that must be addressed.
The best way to improve your website speed in China is to implement a Content Delivery Network (CDN), host your website in China if it's possible and avoid blocked content by the great Chinese firewall.
Before getting into the details of how to optimize your site loading speed in China, let's have a quick overview of why speed matters.
Impact of a Fast Website on Your Business in China
Website speed has been the center of discussion for several years now. However, even though its importance for good performance is undeniable, opinions still differ on which load time is the perfect one.
You may find countless reports online debating the topic and pointing to a 1-second load time as the ultimate goal. Of course, that would be an ideal figure for your business, but honestly, not many websites can boast such a good performance.
According to our experience in optimizing websites, an average load time within 3 seconds is more realistic to attain and your business performance will still be great. The more your website exceeds this load time and the more your business will suffer.
Why speed is a such a critical factor for your website or e-commerce in China?
One reason is strictly related to the user-experience quality. If your page takes too long to load, your visitors will abandon your website and head over to your competitors. Just consider this shocking figure; if your page takes more than 3 seconds to load, 57% of users will abandon it. That amounts to a massive loss of potential clients for your business.
Moreover, if your website is not fast enough, it will never rank well on search engines which check speed as an indicator of the quality of your website or e-commerce. A slow speed will increase your bounce rate, another factor that will prevent your online business from making it to the top ten results. A lack of visibility on search engines means, of course, fewer visitors to your pages.
Website speeds have become even more critical in this mobile era. Downloading a very heavy website on a mobile device is a turn down for most users. Therefore, if you consider that in China most of the web traffic is on mobile devices, a lot more than in western countries, it is of the utmost importance to optimize your site loading speed in China.
Content Delivery Network (CDN) for a Faster Website in China
There are several techniques that you may use to make your pages load fast, but some of them require special attention in China since they are specific to this market. One of these is to implement a Content Delivery Network.
What is a CDN Network?
A CDN is a network of web servers located in specific geographical areas that will deliver your content faster.
Visitors connect to your pages from different locations and they may be very far from where your website is hosted. The longer distance away, the slower the load speed is for your website. A CDN system circumvents this problem by distributing your content on several servers all around the globe or in a specific region. Therefore, your visitors will not receive the content from the original server but from the one closest to his physical location, which dramatically increases the speed of your website.
How a CDN Network can improve performance in China?
A CDN is very important in China due to the size of the country and the particular internet architecture. In fact, in China, there are only three major Internet Service Providers (ISP) and their networks are poorly interconnected. This is not an ideal scenario for your website's load time. The networks are often congested with high latency and packet loss as a result. Moreover, they do not deliver the same performance all across China. Therefore, the connection may be super fast in Shanghai but much slower in another city.
Given this scenario, a Content Delivery Network is an effective solution you can implement. The CDN will disperse your content across several servers in China providing your traffic with the best possible performance.
There are several good CDNs on the market but we recommend using Cloudflare in China. This company has an extensive network of servers in Mainland China and they also have a partnership with Baidu. Since Baidu is the equivalent of Google in the western world, a partnership between the two companies is the perfect combination to optimize your website's speed in China.
To implement Cloudflare CDN on your website is not difficult but you have to consider that to gain access to the Chinese network you need an ICP license. The ICP is a document issued by China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) necessary to run a website in China. QPSoftware can assist foreign companies in applying for the ICP license, a process that is known to be daunting and discouraging for most foreigners.
Once Cloudflare has been set up, you will immediately see a noticeable load speed difference for your users in China and an improvement on your website's performance.
Additional Speed Optimization for China
Once you make China your target, there are a few other optimizations that you cannot overlook and that are necessary to have a well-performing website in China.
Host your website in China
The benefits of hosting your website in China are invaluable. Never forget that China has a strong Internet censorship. Therefore, accessing the market from abroad will bring several barriers and roadblocks imposed by the Great Firewall of China that will slow down your website.
Chinese web hosting will not face the Great Firewall, making your site a lot faster, and it will even make it easier to work on SEO for China. As an alternative, you may host your website in a neighboring Country like Hong Kong but the result will never be the same as hosting the website in China. For more information, you may read our guide on how to host a website in China.
Avoid blocked elements
China presents a totally different Internet environment. Most of the expertise and knowledge you have developed over the years may be of no use in China. Once again, the Great Firewall is a big game changer and you need to comply with its rules.
For instance, Google in China doesn’t work as well as the most famous social networks. Forget about Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, Google API, Google maps, Google pics, and the list goes on. All these platforms are blocked and, besides just not working, they will drastically slow down your website.
Baidu sets the rules in China and your website must be optimized for this search engine.
All the platforms that are popular in the western world must be replaced with WeChat, Youku, Sina Weibo, Baidu maps and so on. You may find detailed information on how to rank well on Baidu by reading our guide about SEO in China.
Are you Ready to Optimize your Website's Load Times for China?
We understand that for many webmasters optimizing a website may present a challenge. However, the opportunity to get your share of this massive market should be a motivating force to not allow these technicalities stop you.
QPSoftware can assist you in improving your overall website's load time. We are a top website design agency in Shanghai and we have been working on the local market for over 10 years. Our team has developed a strong knowledge of the Chinese market and we are constantly up to date with the newest Baidu upgrades and censorship issues.
Moreover, we totally understand the Chinese Internet environment and we can advise you on any needed improvements or assist you in implementing a CDN and optimizing your website for better speed inside China. Our support will help you to make your website ready to rock the Chinese market. Contact us today and we will explain how to optimize your website for China.