When setting up a website on a hosted platform like Shopify, the thought might hit you that you do not have control over how quickly or slowly your website loads for shoppers. Given that, loading speed affects conversion rates of traffic into sales, loading speed can have a huge impact on your bottom line.
Load speed is extremely important for eCommerce, there’s no question about that. Shopify is one of the best eCommerce platforms in terms of load speed, this being confirmed by a lot of independent studies. Even so, every day somebody is complaining about Facebook Groups or in Shopify’s Forum about the load speed.
We decided to look into slow Shopify stores, and we’ve mainly seen these issues:
The larger the file size of your images, the longer it will take web browsers to receive them, just like it takes longer to download a large video or file from the internet. Banners, photos, and other graphics are often not compressed as well as they should be. There are tools, like Optimizilla, that make compressing your JPEG and PNG files a breeze. Image optimization is one of the simplest ways to speed up your Shopify store’s page load time. Also, remember to not feature too many images on a particular page.
When you actively run a lot of software applications on your PC, it will start to slow down. The same basic principle applies to Shopify apps. For instance, apps, can require time to communicate with Shopify’s API, or can be reliant on communicating with other servers that aren’t as speedy.
With apps, less is more, and we recommend testing your loading speed with or without an app to determine if it’s a weak link in your loading speed. In researching your apps, you may even find that you have installed apps that you’re no longer using.
Your theme files are one of the areas of your site wherein you have the most control. While it’s important to start with a fast and mobile-responsive theme, you can also optimize scripts and style sheets. While file sizes are important, so are the number of elements that need to be accessed to load your website.
For instance, if you can combine and minify CSS, it can have a positive impact on your loading speed. Keep an eye on page load times and responsiveness when selecting a Shopify theme. Make sure to check for the latest version. Once you’ve updated to the latest version, make sure to check the live preview to see how it will look in real-time.
Reduce the amount of HTML requests
Each HTTP request slows down your page load time.
Some ways to reduce HTTP requests include:
- Combine CSS and make sure they’re all in-line
- Keep design images to a minimum
- Make sprites of CSS images
- Convert images to Base64
- Reduce the number of social sharing buttons
If you’re running analytics and digital marketing campaigns, you may find yourself using multiple tags for tracking traffic and conversions. Consider using a system like Google Tag Manager, which allows you to achieve your end goals with potentially much fewer codes and fewer elements that will impact the speed of your site.
Check Your Site Speed After Each Change
After significant changes to your site, it’s a good idea to run a page speed analysis. You’ll get an idea of what’s working and what isn’t. This will help refine your web development, so you won’t waste any time or resources.
This will give you an idea of how each change impacts your page load time. It will also give you an idea of metrics to keep an eye on, so you can continue to make sure your Shopify store loads as quickly as possible.
Want to Find Out How Your Website Measures Up?
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