I don’t know about you, but if I try to visit an online store and it takes an age to load, 90% of the time I simply close my browser and find another site. This is a common occurrence and online store speeds are something that can greatly affect SEO, customer experience, and website traffic.
If your eCommerce store feels sluggish I look at Shopify speed optimization and give 8 simple ways you can improve your Shopify speed score below.
Shopify speed optimization has numerous benefits from multiple perspectives including the end customer, your bottom line, and marketing strategies including:
For end users, fast store speeds mean everything loads quickly and you can get what you want instantly. There is no tedious waiting for images to load on product pages or slow checkout processes.
This leads to improved customer experience when using your Shopify store, which then leads to improved customer retention, sales, and conversions. You should also experience a drop in your abandoned shopping cart rate.
Lastly, Google loves Shopify stores that are speedy! Page loading times and speed optimization are key components of SEO services for Shopify store success.
I urge you to take speed optimization seriously as it is a primary way to gain an advantage over your competitors and make sure your Shopify store is running at 199% efficiency. To help, I have listed eight simple optimization methods below.
The main cause of slow Shopify store speeds are images and video. These are both vital components of successful online stores but they must also be optimized to improve your Shopify speed score.
Images and video should be compressed where possible to reduce loading times and you can also employ the lazy loading technique.
This is a technique where the browser only loads images that are in your current field of view. Anything off-screen on the page will not be loaded until you scroll down to the content where the image is located. This can greatly improve speeds and it doesn’t affect the customer’s viewing experience.
Unfortunately, not all Shopify themes are created equal and while some may look fantastic, they may not be the fastest. Therefore, you should opt for a lightweight Shopify theme that has been optimized for fast loading times.
You always need a starting point and an overview of the issues you face with Shopify store speeds, therefore, a tool like Google PageSpeed Insights is invaluable.
All you have to do is enter your main URL into the tool and it will scan your site for loading issues. This is free to use and you are given a breakdown of all your issues together with an overall score. Using this summary, you can start to address the individual issues.
I get the desire to use fancy fonts on your eCommerce store to make your site attractive and stand out. However, these can be detrimental to Shopify speed optimization.
If a user does not have the special font installed on their device, it has to be downloaded first which takes time.
To avoid this, I advise only using “system fonts”. These are the most common fonts and are pre-installed on most devices. Some examples of popular system fonts include Verdana, Calibri, and Helvetica.
Redirects are where a user clicks on a URL and is instead redirected to a different one. This could be due to a change in site structure, or because the original page is currently unavailable.
Broken links are URLs that cause a 404 error and simply won’t load.
Both of these issues reduce loading times and make your Shopify store slow. There is a host of online checking tools that allow you to scan your Shopify store for broken links and redirects – use them and cut out any of these problems to boost your Shopify speed score.
Data collection and analysis is a necessary part of managing a Shopify store. You need a range of metrics to track your progress and look at areas of your store and SEO strategies that need refining.
However, all of this data tracking can reduce your Shopify speed as the site has to load multiple tracking tags. To combat this, you can create a single JavaScrip request using platforms like Google Tag Manager to reduce the strain on your store.
AMP is Accelerated Mobile Pages and it is a framework that allows you to develop an incredibly fast and optimized mobile version of your Shopify store for smartphone users.
This is incredibly important in today’s digital world as most people now use their mobiles for shopping instead of a desktop computer or laptop. AMP apps are available in the Shopify app store like RocketAMP and FireAMP.