Websites have several factors that can impact the speed of your store. Some of which cannot be controlled. I’ll go over those factors at the end, but for now, I’ll be focusing on what can be controlled.
Before I get into what you can do to improve your website speed, it’s good to have a baseline for your site’s speed.
Shopify has this awesome tool within your admin account to check the speed of your site.
Here’s how to view your speed score:
Just like in school, the higher the score the better! A high score means that your site is fast for a wide variety of your customers.
Your speed score measures how fast your online store is performing in the Shopify Test environment based on Google Lighthouse performance metics.
Speed scores are recalculated daily. However, if you make any changes to improve your speed score, it can take a day or two for your results to be changed.
Shopify calculates your sites speed score by averaging multiple days of Lighthouse performance scores of your home page, product page with the most traffic in the last 7 days, and your collection page with the most traffic in 7 days. This is reason for the delay in speed scores after changes have been made.
While other test sites like Google PageSpeed Insights are great, using the Shopify speed test has added benefits. For example, Lighthouse reports are run on the mobile versions of the pages because 60% of sales made on Shopify are made from mobile devices. This gives you a more accurate idea of what your customers are actually experiencing.
Another reason to use Shopify speed test is the ability to check your rankings. Using their speed test will allow you to see your speed test ranking against other Shopify stores that are similar to your own. A site that is faster than similar stores means that customers can have a positive buying experience due to your fast speed. On the flip-side, if your site is slower than similar stores, your site might not be as user-friendly to all of your customers and you should consider making improvements to your stores speed.
Okay so now that you’ve got your speed test, let’s go over how you can boost those scores!
When apps are added to your store to change the functionality or appearance, code is added on the back end. The more code that a site has, the slower the site.
To limit the amount of code your site has, you should only have apps that are incredibly beneficial installed on your site. If you’re not using an app, then you can remove it.
How to uninstall apps on Shopify site:
Note: Apps that run in the admin only, like the Shopify Local Delivery app, don't affect the speed of your online store.
Certain features, when enabled, can also affect your store speed. For example, some pop-ups can impact your store speed without adding value. The good news is that Shopify allows you to disable some of the theme features if you’re not using them.
But how do you know what features your customers are using? By using a heat map tool, you’re able to see if customers are using certain features of your site. Disable any features that aren’t being used.
After you’ve checked the installed apps on your site, this is the most important thing to look into. Pictures and videos can really slow down your entire site. This is really problematic because the longer visitors have to wait for your site to load, the more likely they are to leave.
An easy way to fix this is by decreasing the size of your pictures through a site called tinypng. This site is free to use and does a great job at compressing images.
While I do recommend keeping the videos to a minimum, Vimeo is a great hosting option. In fact, they have an option to compress the video after it has been uploaded.
Another perk of using Shopify:
Shopify adds some safeguards to prevent you from overloading your online store with images or videos. For example:
Even though Shopify has these safeguards, it doesn’t completely prevent images or videos from slowing down your site.
So, this ones tricky. The majority of companies have specific fonts that they have selected to use on all their branding and for the most part, those fonts should be used on the website. However, some of these fonts aren’t “system fonts.” A system font is a font that is already installed on most computers. Here’s the problem, if you’re not using a font already installed on the users computer, the font has to be downloaded before the text can be displayed. This impacts the time it takes your store to load.
The best way to overcome this issue is to avoid adding multiple custom fonts to your site. Typewolf is a great resource if you need to switch out fonts and need to find something similar to a font in your branding.
If all else fails, and you’re comfortable with reading and editing code, I highly recommend checking out the Shopify Theme Inspector for Chrome. This tool shows you the lines of code that are slowing down pages in your online store.
Start with speed testing your site using Shopify’s built in tool. Look at how your sites speed compares with others with similar sites. Then delete any apps that aren’t absolutely essential to your site. If your site is still moving slowly, compress your images, delete any unnecessary videos, remove features that you’re not using, and keep the fonts to a minimum.
As always, if you need help building your site, send me a note!