September 12, 2023

8 Effective Shopify Speed Optimization Tips To Wow Your Customers

Arrow pointing left
back to blog
||||||||||||||

about

It’s accepted wisdom that a fast site is good for business. You know that your Shopify store should be fast. But what can you do to make your Shopify store faster? And how does the speed of your store affect your customers’ experience of it? And, most importantly of all, what impact does it have […]

the author

Phill Moorman
VP of Marketing

share this post

It’s accepted wisdom that a fast site is good for business. You know that your Shopify store should be fast.

But what can you do to make your Shopify store faster? And how does the speed of your store affect your customers’ experience of it?

And, most importantly of all, what impact does it have on your conversions and revenue?

Today, we’re diving into the topic of Shopify speed optimization, and what it takes to create an online store that’s both fast and has a rich, unique customer experience.

#cta-visual-pb#Optimize your store for speed and CXUse Shogun Insights to identify and fix every issue standing in the way of total optimization.Start building for free

 

Why does page speed matter for Shopify stores?

Fast-loading pages and a speedy site aren’t just nice things to have.

A lumbering online store is a real problem for your brand and can have serious consequences for your conversions and customer lifetime value.

  • One in five customers put slow-loading pages at the top of their list of frustrations when shopping online.
  • The same survey found that 46% of customers will blame the brand for having poor tech infrastructure.
  • If your online store loads in one second, your conversion rate will be five times higher than one that loads in three seconds.

And that’s not all.

If your site is slow to load, your ad costs will be higher. Google gives your site a “quality score” based on speed and user experience.

So slow pages that put customers off and negatively impact your click-through rates affect how Google perceives the ad quality of your site.

When Google decides you have a poor-quality site, your ads will end up in worse positions and cost you more.

The benefits of a fast Shopify store

But instead of getting scared about the dangers of a slow site, get excited about the great things you can do when you get your Shopify speed optimization right. 

1. You’ll make more sales

Faster sites = more conversions. It makes sense. 

The longer your pages take to load, the fewer visitors are willing to wait to get to the next page‌. Google reports that, on mobile, a site that takes less than two seconds to load has a 15% better conversion rate than those sites that take longer than two seconds. 

2. Lower bounce rates

From landing page to product page to checkout, for every step on the customer journey, you’ll lose some of your potential customers if your site takes a long time to load.

With a snappy store, shoppers don’t have time to wonder if they should go elsewhere.

3. Better SEO performance 

Speed is important in and of itself. But it also has an impact on how Google ranks your site. 

Speed has been a ranking factor for a while now, and it’s part of a matrix of scores that measure your overall customer experience. 

So the faster your site, the higher you’ll place in search results. 

#cta-paragraph-pb#With Shogun Insights, you can quickly audit your pages right in the editor to surface SEO, accessibility, and performance issues holding back your brand visibility and customer experience.

4. More satisfied customers 

Slow sites = frustrated customers. 

Visitors want to peruse your site quickly and smoothly. If they have to wait every time they navigate to a new page, they’ll bounce to a competitor. 

Customer satisfaction is hard to build but easy to lose. 

Once they leave, they may never come back. Make the customer journey fast and seamless to boost your chances of repeat business. 

What are the most common reasons for a slow Shopify store?

So what might be slowing your store down? Knowing what to look for is the starting point to making your Shopify store faster. 

And if you’re just getting started or redesigning your site, being aware of the common traps online brands fall into will stop you making the same mistakes. 

The main things that slow online stores down are:

Too many apps

In search of greater functionality, stores turn to multiple apps. But adding several apps adds lots of extra code to your site, slowing load times down considerably. 

Instead of finding individual apps for individual needs, search out apps that cover many functionalities and integrate well with your other top apps.

#cta-paragraph-pb#Shogun Page Builder is one such app! Shopify merchants can not only design beautiful store pages but also build Shopify Sections for use in the theme editor, generate content and page sections with AI, deploy countdown timers for urgency marketing, create announcement banners, add color swatches to product pages, optimize images, surface up optimization insights, and so much more.

Theme issues

Online businesses often want a unique theme that matches their brand identity, but themes that have been customized with badly written or excessive code take much longer to load.

Add to that the fact that many apps add unnecessary code to theme files and you have a problem. 

It’s best to find a great base theme that is known for being fast (like the Dawn theme), and using a page builder app to customize it to your brand aesthetic. Luckily, Shogun is the only page builder app that doesn’t add extra theme files to every page.

Large images

Sites that fail to optimize their images are destined to a life in the slow lane. 

Of course, you need to create a vibrant, engaging website, but overuse of large, heavy images can cause you problems. 

Shopify brands need to use the right image sizes across their store pages but also should compress those images so they don’t bloat your pages and drag down load time.

Lack of mobile optimization 

Mobile visitors are particularly unforgiving of slow-to-load sites. 

This is unfortunate for the many online stores that don’t pay attention to how their content and layout appear on mobile devices. 

Large, unnecessary elements that jump around the page are a definite turn-off for customers. 

When building your store, it’s vital to go the mobile-first design route. Approaching your store design in the way that Google crawls it (mobile-first) means that you won’t get left behind for a bad mobile experience.

How can you find your baseline Shopify page speed?

If you’re not sure how well your site is performing, there are ways you can find out.

Shopify offers customers its own dedicated speed tester, and there are several other online diagnostic tools you can use.

What is the Shopify online store speed report?

Shopify offers its customers a tailored Shopify speed score based on data from Google Lighthouse

The Shopify online speed test report combines the scores of your homepage and your collection and product pages that receive the most traffic.

It then produces an average score report that is more useful for Shopify store owners than a standalone Lighthouse speed test.

What other speed tests are out there?

Even though Shopify provides its own test, there are other tests available that’ll give you extra insights into how well your site is performing. 

You should put your store through a few of these tests to get a rounded picture of site speed:

Google Lighthouse

Shopify bases its test on Lighthouse, but it’s still worth going to the original. 

It’ll give you a snapshot of how any one page on your site is performing, rather than an amalgamated result. 

It also has some impressive analytics tools to help you improve your SEO performance. The optimization suggestions that Shogun Insights surfaces within the visual editor are actually informed directly by Google Lighthouse, allowing you to access these valuable insights without leaving Page Builder.

PageSpeed Insights

This test gives you an overall score for your site, rather than individual pages.

It also gives you scores for metrics that Google uses to analyze the speed and user-friendliness of your site, like the time it takes to load the first and last pieces of content on a page.

GTMetrix

This tool offers many of the same insights as PageSpeed, and also allows you to change the location of the test so you can see how your site performs in different places across the world.

You get seven locations with the free version and 20 with the paid plan.

Pingdom Speed Test

This is a great tool for gaining an in-depth picture of how your site performs over time.

Pingdom runs tests on your site over a given timeframe. You can decide how often Pingdom checks your site and for how long it runs the checks.

Good vs bad scores

For PageSpeed and Lighthouse, the scores break down like this:

  • 0-49 = poor
  • 49-89 = needs improvement
  • 90-100 = good

Your scores won’t always achieve the ‘good’ grade. You’ll find that for different pages and categories, your scores will vary.

This is to be expected.

In fact, one of the main draws of these tools is that they offer analysis of how to improve Shopify store speed and the fixes you might use to get there.

Pingdom also gives you a score between 0-100, this time accompanied by a grade (A, B, C, etc) so you can easily understand your overall score. Obviously, the higher the grade, the better your score.

GTMetrix gives you an overall grade and a percentage score for performance and structure.

While it’s clearly better to have a good score than a bad one, you shouldn’t be too downhearted if you’re not hitting the top range of these testing tools.

Your customers don’t much care what your Lighthouse or Pingdom score is—they just want to be able to get around your site quickly and easily.

The most important metric that all these tools offer you is load time. Every other piece of analysis should be geared towards improving your page load and site load times.

Mobile optimization and page speed

Image: Unsplash

Google has been fully mobile-first since 2020.

That means it scores your mobile site speed before it analyzes how your site performs on desktop. And regardless of how Google ranks you, around 60% of your traffic will be from visitors on mobile.

So making sure your site performs well on mobile is essential to a good all-around page speed score.

When you perform your Pagespeed Insights test, the results are broken down into mobile and desktop versions, so you can see if you’re crushing mobile speed or if your site needs a little push in the right direction.

You should also consider if it’s worth converting your mobile pages to AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages). These are pages that Google caches, making the load times effectively instant.

As we’ll see below, there are some factors to weigh up when deciding whether to use AMP, but it’s definitely one way to drastically increase the speed of pages on your mobile site.

#cta-visual-pb#Create breathtaking pages that work on any deviceMake your store as unique as your brand with the best page builder for Shopify.Start building for free

 

8 Shopify speed optimization tips to start implementing

So if your store’s speed is letting you down, what can you do about it? We’ve put together a list of eight tips that will show you how to speed up your Shopify website.

To help you direct your energies in the right place, we’ve assessed the usefulness of each tip by looking at the impact it will have on your store and weighed it up against how difficult it is to implement.

We’ve then ranked them accordingly.

Tip 1: Optimize your images

Image: PANGAIA

Making sure your images are optimized for a fast site is probably the single biggest thing you can do to improve your site speed. It’s also the easiest to achieve.

Rich images are great for showcasing your content, but not so good when the excessive load time required drags your Shopify performance down.

Shopify comes with a ‘failsafe’ for site speed: it doesn’t let you add more than 25 different sections to your homepage or 50 different products to your collections pages.

But that’s just a backstop to prevent your site from getting truly unwieldy.

There are plenty of other things you can do to stop your images from slowing down your load times:

  • Use lower-resolution images where possible. You need to strike a balance between image quality and speed. Often, the same effect can be achieved with lower-resolution images.
  • Make your images lazy-load. This means your images will only be loaded when visitors scroll to them rather than loading heavy image files onto a page below the fold.
  • Optimize your images for each device. Make sure your mobile images are smaller and fit the screen properly.
  • Use fewer images. Do you really need every single one of those high-res photos? It can be hard to do, but choose images that really showcase your products so you don’t have to use so many.

Shogun Page Builder can make your life easier here. To ensure your images aren’t holding back your page loads, Shogun:

  • Uses native browser lazy loading to reduce JavaScript overhead.
  • Automatically loads the optimal image size based on the device to improve the Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) metric on Google.
  • Pre-loads product gallery images while the browser is idle to boost the perceived speed of product pages.
  • Reduces the Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) metric from Google by helping browsers understand image aspect ratios on page.

Tip 2: Reduce your apps

Extra apps are unavoidable when building out your store. Apps can help with the smooth functioning of your site and can make it easier for customers to:

  • Add countdown timers to pages
  • Display product variations with color swatches
  • Showcase product reviews
  • Include free shipping announcement banners
  • Sync Instagram feeds on store pages

There are many other use cases in addition, and depending on the needs of your store, you’ll find yourself installing more or less specialist apps.

But be warned: while apps can be great at improving the customer experience and boosting conversions, each app you put on your site adds a little bit more code in the background.

When visitors land on your pages, their browsers need to receive all of this code before it can fully load.

Therefore, you should only add what’s essential for the smooth functioning of your site.

It’s also important to pick multifunctional apps like Shogun Page Builder, rather than cobbling together functionality piecemeal with one-off countdown timers, banners, color swatches, Instagram feeds, etc.

Tip 3: Don’t over-complicate your theme

Credit: Shopify

Dawn is Shopify’s recommended theme for speed. Dawn is the ‘basis’ theme that other custom Shopify themes are built on.

As it’s created by Shopify themselves, it’s pretty well optimized for site speed.

The more modifications and customizations you make to Dawn, the more code you’re adding to your theme.

All these little changes add up, and before you know it you’ve ended up with a bloated, slow-moving site.

Slim your theme down to the essentials you need for UX, and you’ll speed up your Shopify site dramatically.

If you’re a content-driven brand, those UX essentials could be pretty substantial. You need to create a unique and unforgettable customer experience while maintaining a fast site.

One way to solve this problem is by using a no-code page builder like Shogun Page Builder, which lets you build your site using customizable content blocks and unique drag-and-drop elements. 

You get a smooth, consistent customer experience without the bloated coding requirements.

Plus, Shogun is the only page builder that doesn’t add unnecessary code to your theme files!

Tip 4: Use a single hero image

Credit: Nuun

Rotating carousels featuring multiple images means visitors’ browsers have to work harder to load several large files.

Instead, use one well-designed product image to do the heavy lifting so your customer’s devices don’t have to.

Make sure your Shopify image sizes are well within the guidelines they provide, and keep them responsive to all device types.

If you have an internal link on your site that doesn’t work, the page will try to load but eventually fail. All this loading activity is logged, and it will drag down your overall site speed.

There are several tools on the web that allow you to check for broken links. Ahrefs provides a good one, for example.

Once you’ve found the culprits, you should redirect them to working web pages via 301 redirects. Shopify has a step-by-step guide on how to do it.

While this tip takes a bit more work, it’s worth doing: customers don’t like it when they land on a 404 error page or get stuck with a loading screen.

Tip 6: Track code with Google Tag Manager

Google Tag Manager (GTM) is a tool that allows you to replace your existing site analytics with Google tags.

Carrying a load of analytics tools on your site can significantly slow it down, so grouping all of them together into one ‘container’ will improve the speed of your Shopify store.

This is definitely one of the more involved Shopify optimization tips on our list, but not beyond the ability of most relatively tech-savvy store owners.

There is a full how-to guide available at the Shopify help center.

A word of caution here: analyzing how customers use your site and how well your pages are performing is crucial to your business, so only get involved with GTM if you’re confident of what you’re doing.

Tip 7: Use Shopify’s fonts

Shopify supplies a handy list of fonts you can use in your store. You can use other fonts, but it could slow down your site if you customize too much.

In order to optimize for speed, stick to the Shopify system fonts.

This one is pretty easy to stick to but won’t have as big an impact as some of the other advice here. Think of it more as a best practice for Shopify page speed optimization.

Tip 8: Consider using Accelerated Mobile Pages

AMP speeds up your site to near-instant load times for those pages cached and served by Google as AMP.

So if you’re ultra-dedicated to chasing speed and willing to go the extra mile to achieve it, creating AMP pages from your site is one way to give you a boost.

However, Shopify doesn’t come with out-of-the-box support for AMP, so you’ll have to create it yourself.

If you’re super confident, you can add the AMP code through your Shopify admin panel. If you’re not a coder, you can get an app to add AMP functionality for you.

AMP Sheriff is the app that Google recommends for Shopify.

Bonus tip: Use a specialist page builder to speed up your store

You need to create a store that looks great, has a unique customer experience, and is fast to load. Shogun Page Builder is optimized for Shopify stores and offers you a way to do all of these things.

It also allows you to get up and running fast: an intuitive interface means non-technical teams can build your lightning-fast store in less time.

Shopify speed optimization FAQs

What is the best speed score for Shopify stores?

If you use Google Lighthouse, which is the gold standard for page speed analysis, you should be aiming for a score of 90-100. Anything less than 50 is considered poor.

Why is my Shopify store speed so low?

The top factors negatively affecting your Shopify store’s loading speed are too many apps, badly customized themes, not optimizing images, and not optimizing your site for mobile.

Does Shopify store speed matter?

Yes! For every second that it takes your Shopify store to load, you’re losing customers, ranking potential, and conversions.

Does Shopify Plus improve site speed?

Shopify includes hosting with all Shopify Plus plans. u003cbru003eu003cbru003eWith this, you get access to an enterprise-grade CDN and enhanced caching abilities on the server side and browser side. These features of Shopify Plus will improve your Shopify site speed considerably.

Is Shopify speed score accurate?

The Shopify speed test score takes an average of your homepage together with your collection and product pages that get the most traffic, making it a very accurate indicator of the speed of your site.

Does site speed affect your SEO performance?

Site speed is a ranking factor according to Google, so a poor site speed rating will negatively affect your SEO performance.u003cbru003eu003cbru003eGoogle also factors in how your site speed affects customer experience, so you’ll rank lower if your pages are slow to load and frustrating for visitors to navigate.

How many apps is too many for a Shopify store?

There isn’t a definite answer to this question. Some people recommend no more than 10, while others say having up to 30 is okay.u003cbru003eu003cbru003eBut in general, the fewer apps you can get away with, the better for your site’s performance.

What is a good website speed for Shopify?

It’s generally u003ca href=u0022https://www.searchenginejournal.com/google-new-industry-benchmarks-mobile-page-speed/187777/u0022u003econsidered best practiceu003c/au003e in ecommerce to make sure your site loads in under three seconds.u003cbru003eu003cbru003eYou should aim to have your Shopify store load under that time. On mobile, 2 seconds or less is preferable.

Speed up your Shopify store to speed up your growth

You need to create a fast site in order to succeed as an online business. That’s just a fact.

But creating a fast site that doesn’t sacrifice the quality of your customer experience will really mark you out from the competition.

A speedy Shopify store with an easy-to-navigate design will give you what matters most to your business—a healthy boost in sales and conversions and highly satisfied customers who keep coming back for more.

 

#cta-visual-pb#Optimize your store for speed and CXMake your store look and feel as unique as your brand by customizing with the best page builder for Shopify.Start building for free

You might also enjoy

Get started for free

Get hands on with everything you need to grow your business with a comprehensive suite of tools.
Start now
Arrow pointing up and to the right Arrow pointing up and to the right