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speed optimization for shopify

Shopify Speed Score - Just how important is it?

If you want to be in Google’s good books, there are a multitude of factors that you must keep an eye on. But perhaps one of the more important ones is site speed. Side speed is vital for the performance of any website. But it’s even more important in the e-commerce space. Why?

Because 64% of shoppers who are not satisfied with a site visit will shop from a different online shop the next time. And what makes shoppers dissatisfied? Well, a slow website. In fact, one in four visitors will abandon a website if it takes more than four seconds to load.

As a Shopify merchant, you don’t want to be missing out on opportunities and giving away your hard-won customers to the competition. This is why you need to be familiar with Shopify speed score and optimize your online shop. Let’s take a look at what speed score is in more detail and share some tips for a Shopify optimization that will bring you more happy customers and more sales.

What is a speed score?

Before you can improve your site speed, you need to be familiar with what Shopify site speed is all about.

In basic terms, speed score is a metric that measures how long it takes for your online store to load and perform in the Shopify test environment, using Google Lighthouse performance metrics. It’s calculated every day but if your store is brand new or has password protection, you may not be able to see your speed score. So how is it calculated? By using the weighted average of:

  • Your store’s home page Lighthouse performance scores
  • Your product pages with the highest amount of traffic in the past week
  • Your collection page with the highest amount of traffic in the past week

The final speed score on a certain day will be an average of a number of days of Lighthouse performance scores. The reason for this is that the results could be different between tests. The best way to get an understanding of your Shopify store’s daily performance is to use an average.

What is a good Shopify speed score?

Now that you know how the speed score is calculated, it’s important to make one distinction. Shopify speed score is not a measurement of your actual loading speed. As opposed to purely measuring speed, Shopify speed score is a reflection of a number of factors, including loading speed. For example, the metric will also consider if your online shop follows best practices to give you a score.

With this in mind, it’s merely impossible to get a score of 100 (which is the highest). Why? Because Shopify has its own way of doing things and is not a perfect match to WordPress or other platforms. In other words, some of the Google Lighthouse best practices and suggestions won’t be appropriate or even possible to implement on a Shopify website. You can also check this article for more details on this matter from our partners at Out of the Sandbox. So instead of fighting for a 100 score, it’s a better idea to compare your online store to others similar to you.

And this is exactly what Shopify speed score does. It will compare you to similar stores and will tell you if you’re:

  • Slower than similar stores
  • Same speed as similar stores
  • Faster than similar stores

If you want to outperform your competitors and win over more customers, the last two points should be your area of focus. How to speed up a Shopify website When it comes to Shopify optimization, there are factors that you can control and such that are out of your control as a merchant. Let’s start with the one that you can take measures to improve and speed up your Shopify site.

shopify website development

Factors you can control

Here are some of the factors that can influence your online store’s speed and ideas on how to approach them:

  • Themes - Themes could be edited using JavaScript code, HTML, CSS, and Liquid. Your online store’s speed will be affected by file sizes during customization. If you notice that your store is a bit slow or you’ve noticed a score drop, you can try disabling the theme features that are not relevant for your stores and you never use (such as the Quick View option which takes some time and resources to load on all pages with product grid blocks). You can also rely on a system font or use specifically designed themes that aim to improve your store’s performance. Alternatively, you can work with a professional to help optimize your theme setup including updating your theme first if applicable.
  • Apps - If you’ve installed apps that have added code to your store that slows it down, you can check if there are any app features that you never use and disable them. You can also delete the app completely if it’s not necessary for the performance of your store or replace it with a custom developed integration. Keep in mind that when removing an app, you might also need to remove its leftover code that is now on your store as a result of the installation process (for some apps). It’s also worth noting that admin or backend only apps, like the Shopify Local Delivery app, won’t have an impact on your speed.
  • Images & videos - There are some Shopify restrictions when it comes to images and videos that aim to prevent this from happening, but it’s not a guarantee. If images are negatively impacting your store’s speed, you can optimize them by reducing their size, sticking to 2-3 slides on slideshows or relying on a single feature image, or speaking to a Shopify specialist for professional advice since there are multiple points to be considered in this aspect.
  • Fonts - If you’ve decided to rely on a font that’s not on your customer’s computer, it must be downloaded before it can load and be shown. This takes time and makes your store slower. To avoid this challenge, it’s best to stick to system fonts that most computers already have.

Factors you can’t control

Unfortunately, there are also factors that are not in your control, like the Shopify infrastructure, your customers’ device, network, and location, your content delivery network, local browser cache, server-side page cache, and even the content inside the content_for_header Liquid tag.

Shopify optimization

Page speed optimization requires consistency and regular work. It requires commitment, dedication, experience, and knowledge. You can save a lot of time and effort yet enjoy online store speeds quicker than that of competitors by choosing our specialized Shopify optimization services. With years of experience, we know exactly how to make your online store stand out and would provide valuable recommendations for future maintenance.

Get in touch with our Shopify experts team and unlock the potential of your ecommerce store.

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