Tips to Boost Speed of Shopify Website
Shreya Bose, Technical Content Writer at BrowserStack - September 20, 2022
Shopify is one of the most popular eCommerce platforms on Earth, occupying almost 23% of the market. As of January 2022, there are almost 33% of online stores in the US alone use Shopify as their platform. It is the third most popular eCommerce platform in current usage.
For anyone looking to succeed with an online store, a Shopify site is almost mandatory. However, like every other website, a Shopify site needs to be optimized for high page load speeds. A slow Shopify site will repel users and severely hamper traffic, revenue potential, and credibility.
This article will take readers through a list of Shopify speed optimization tactics. Implement them to offer customers the best possible user experience.
How speed affects the user experience of a Shopify site
Let’s look at some more numbers.
- Nearly 70% of consumers state that page speed influences their decisions to buy from an online retailer.
- Website conversion rates drop by an average of 4.42% with each extra second of load time (in the first five seconds).
As the numbers depict, high page load speed is essential to proving a high-quality user experience. A Shopify website could feature the most tantalizing or useful products, and be highly intuitive and aesthetically pleasing. However, if the page does not load fast enough, users will not stick around long enough to see the site design or scroll through the products.
Naturally, optimizing a Shopify site for high page load speed is a major priority. Without doing so, Shopify sites will miss out on traffic and lose revenue. It will also end up ranking low on Google search results, as page speed is a direct ranking factor, as emphasized by Google’s Algorithm Speed Update.
Reasons That Can Slow Down Your Shopify Site
Customers using Shopify sometimes wonder “Why is Shopify so slow?”
Well, here are a few reasons that can slow down your Shopify site.
- Unused apps
- Complex themes and fonts
- Too many images and videos
- Inefficient liquid code
- Server side rendering issues
5 Tips to Speed Up Shopify Site
Pro-Tip: A good Shopify speed score is anything above 50. When optimizing a Shopify site for high speed, remember to run geolocation testing. The page should load quickly from all the regions, locations, and countries it is accessed from.
1. Use compressed images
Images are extremely valuable when it comes to increasing the visual appeal of any website. When it comes to an online store, well-placed images of each product are necessary so that customers know exactly what they are getting when they make a purchase.
However, high-resolution images generally tend to be larger files and can slow down page load speeds significantly. On the other hand, one cannot really compromise on image quality when uploading images.
- In order to reduce image sizes without adversely affecting image quality, opt for lossless compress. Use a tool like JPEGmini or Kraken.io to compress images before uploading them to a website.
- In case the images are already uploaded to the website, use one of the many Shopify apps that can help with compression of images in a Shopify store.
- Image size depends on the dimension and the quality of the image. Because of this, it is best to upload images of the exact dimensions required for that page. For example, if the home page banner dimensions stand at 1500 X 500, then upload an image with exactly those dimensions.
- Shopify recommends 2048 X 2048 for product images so that image quality is not distorted when someone zooms in. However, if someone uses multiple images of this dimension, it may slow down the page. In that case, 800 X 800 images work just fine. This will go a long way to speed up Shopify sites.
2. Optimize use of Shopify apps
Anyone running a Shopify store knows that they have to use a multitude of third-party apps. But many of these apps run scripts on web pages which reduce Shopify page speed.
Take a look at the apps. Are all of them in use? Are all of them helping the business? If not, delete them.
However, once an app is uninstalled, it does not completely disappear. Once an app is installed, it adds its own code to the Shopify website code. They basically inject their code into the website in order to function.
- On uninstalling an app, the injected app is not eliminated automatically. In order to prevent the code from making Shopify slow, it has to be manually removed. Excess bloat on website code will slow down page load speeds.
- Additionally, certain apps add new elements to Shopify store pages. If possible, restrict these elements to pages where they are absolutely necessary. For example, if an app provides floating trust badges on the store, use them only on product pages because that is where they are really required.
3. Implement AMP
Accelerated Mobile Pages or AMP was created by Google to speed up the mobile web. This app converts sections of a Shopify store to AMP, and indexes these pages with Google to facilitate almost instant page load time, faster mobile page loading, and higher placements on mobile search results.
By 2021, mobile eCommerce sales are expected to constitute 54% of total eCommerce sales. Hence, Shopify sites must be mobile-friendly and every web page must load with lightning-fast speed. AMP enables this, and thus enables users to access websites quicker on mobile devices.
Read More: Why Mobile Page Speed Tests are Important
- AMP cannot be implemented natively in Shopify. Users have to use an app such as Shop Sheriff, FireAMP, or RocketAmp Apps.
- Be warned, implementing AMP does require a little work, but absolutely worth the result – fast loading pages on mobile devices.
4. Consider Professional Help
There are a couple of issues that are best left to seasoned Shopify developers to increase Shopify site speed. A couple of these issues are:
5. Use a single Hero Image
Many sites use sliders to display multiple product images. From a design perspective, it makes sense. You can quickly give potential customers an idea of what you sell, and tastefully placed images add to the site’s visual appeal.
However, sliders also tend to reduce website speed because multiple high-quality images take time to load when the user clicks on the site link. Chances are, they will bounce off the site even before the images have a chance to showcase the products. Additionally, only 1% of site visitors click on sliders.
It is more useful to put a single high-quality hero image that captures the essence of the site. It takes much less time to load. Pair it with a clear CTA and users will know exactly what they can expect from your site.
If a slow Shopify site is a concern, then the points discussed in this article need to be implemented immediately. Once the optimization is complete, the site needs to be tested to ensure that it is as fast as expected.
The best way to do this is to use SpeedLab, a free tool by BrowserStack designed for website speed test. Simply enter the website URL, click Start, and the tool will test the site on a range of real browsers and devices. After the test is completed, the user will receive a detailed report on the website’s performance on a variety of the latest devices – both desktop and mobile.
Remember, users do not want to sit around and wait for a catalog or cart to load. They have multiple other sites to choose from, and they will exercise their right to choose if they encounter a slow website. Therefore, optimize the speed of your Shopify site, and watch the quality of user experience go right up.