Skip to main content

Quick way to give your Yahoo! Store a speed boost

If you have a customized Yahoo! Store, chances are you are at least somewhat familiar with the “files library” in the store editor. The “files library” (“lib” for short) is an area where you can store files; all kinds of files such as images, css files, JavaScript files, videos, etc. You can access this area from your editor by clicking the “Files” button in your editor toolbar.

Storing files in the “lib” has many advantages over storing files elsewhere (for example on your web hosting server.) The “lib” is measurably faster than web hosting (any file that comes from is hosted on your web hosting account and not in the “files library”.) In addition, all files stored in the “lib” are automatically “gzipped”, meaning they are compressed before sending across the web and decompressed by the browser resulting in a smaller payload – and therefore, faster delivery. But did you know that you can also have your “lib” hosted on a Content Delivery Network (CDN?)

What is a CDN?

A CDN is a network of distributed servers that serve web pages and files based on the geographical location of the user. The idea is that if a visitor lives in New York, for example, and brings up a web page, then if that web page is stored on a server closer to New York then it will “pop up” on the visitor's screen faster than if the same web page was stored on a server in, say, California. Not to mention, that Google can detect if your web site uses a CDN or not, and will assign a different (better) SEO score to your site if it is using a CDN then if it is not.

How can you tell if your “lib” is on a CDN or not?

That's relatively easy. Log into your store editor and in the store manager, look in the far left column of links, under “Edit”. If you see a link there that says “Store Files” (with a “New” icon after it), then your store is already on the CDN. You can stop reading right here :)

How can you have the CDN enabled?

Easy, you just have to ask :) Well, almost. Basically, you have to call Yahoo! Small Business tech support and ask them to switch your file library over to the CDN-based version. The only catch is this: if your store uses any CSS files (and which web site does not?), then you will have to make sure BEFORE the switch-over that none of those CSS files include relative URLs pointing to files in the lib. So the CSS files should have nothing like this:


All such relative URLs should be changed to absolute URLs like


How much speed boost can I expect from this?

That's hard to tell, but probably nothing very dramatic. Unless you have an extremely poorly optimized and/or built store whose pages come up noticeably slowly, then using a CDN to serve up your layout images and external files will most likely not be noticeable for a human. However, it will be noticed by Google... And who doesn't like to make Google feel happy, right?

So go ahead and if you feel up to it, review your CSS files and give your store a quick speed boost. Or, if you'd rather have a professional take care of the whole thing for you, let us know and for a nominal fee we can do this for you. More info here:


Popular posts from this blog

Auto-update Copyright Year

This is one of those minor, recurring questions I'm always asked (each year): to update the copyright year in sites. Whether this is the "right thing" to do or not I don't know, but here is how you can make it automatic: First, go to the Variables page (these instructions are for Yahoo! Stores), and do a search for the word "copyright" or the year that's currently displayed next to your copyright message. If you can't find it there, chances are you have a custom template and the copyright message might be coming from some place else. In that case, you'll have to track it down, but because custom templates can be set up in any which way, unfortunately you'll be on your own. Assuming you found it, replace the year with this JavaScript code: <script>document.write(new Date().getFullYear())</script> Hit Update and you should be all set!

Pre-Season Checkup

With the holiday shopping season fast approaching it's a good idea to do a general checkup on your store to be sure it's ready for prime time. Below are a few things you would want to check, along with a few add-ons that are not too major in scope, but which are often neglected and give you an edge over your competition. Can you Search and Order? Every time we do anything major in a store we test two things: whether searching and adding to cart/ordering works. You can have nice, flashy pictures, cool animation effects, a very quick loading site, anything, but if the store search is broken or you can't add to the cart or can't check out then an ecommerce site is worth nothing. Can you Order? Chances are if your checkout was completely broken you'd know about it by now, but it doesn't have to be totally broken in order to scare away potential customers. So go ahead, go to your site and first do a search and make sure it works. Then, add one or more products

How to create clean and efficient CSS

In a typical workday, I deal with dozens of yahoo stores and very often I have to tweak, fix, or change CSS used by these stores. While some stores have very clean and easy to follow style sheets or CSS definitions, the vast majority of stores I've seen seem to include complete hack jobs, style sheets put together completely haphazardly, or as an afterthought. While working in such a store, the idea came to me to turn my gripes into a post. So the following is my list of dos and don'ts of good CSS or style design. 1. Externalize your style sheets. This means to save your style sheets into one or more css files, and link to them using the <link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="/lib/yourstoreid/yourstyle.css"> notation, or in Editor V3.0, you can use the LINK operator. 2. Combine your style sheets into as few files as possible. Nothing worse than trying to wade through 6, 8, 10 or more different style sheets to find the color of a