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Complete guide to Shopify store speed optimization 2023

As a Shopify store owner, you know that having a fast website is crucial to the success of your online business. Slow Shopify store speed can lead to frustrated customers, decreased conversions, and ultimately, lower revenue. That's why it's essential to optimize your store for speed.

This guide will take you through everything you need to know about optimizing your Shopify store for speed. We'll discuss the importance of site speed, common causes of slow-loading pages, and how to improve Shopify store speed. From image optimization to app management, we'll cover all the best practices and tools you need to speed up your Shopify store. So let's get started on making your site load as fast as lightning!

What is Shopify store speed?

Shopify store speed refers to the amount of time it takes for a Shopify store to load and display its content. This is an important factor for both user experience and search engine optimization.

A slow-loading store can lead to frustration for users, who may leave before making a purchase, while a fast-loading store can provide a seamless experience that encourages users to stay and explore. Additionally, search engines like Google consider page speed as a ranking factor, meaning that faster stores are generally more likely to appear higher in search results.

To ensure optimal store speed, it is recommended to optimize images, use caching techniques, and minimize the use of unnecessary scripts or plugins. Shopify also offers various tools and resources to help merchants improve their store speed and overall performance.

Shopify store stats you should look into -

  • 0-4 second load time is ideal for improved conversion rates
  • The first 5 seconds of page load time have the biggest impact on conversion rates
  • For loading speeds between 0-5 seconds, conversion rates can drop by around 4.42% with each additional second
  • For loading speeds between 0-9 seconds, conversion rates can drop by around 2.11% with each additional second

Why is online store speed optimization important?

1. Poor User Experience (UX)

The speed of a Shopify store can have a significant impact on user experience. In today's fast-paced world, users expect websites to load quickly and smoothly. If a Shopify store takes too long to load, users may become frustrated and navigate away from the site, leading to lost sales and potential customers.

In fact, studies have shown that even a one-second delay in page loading time can result in a 7% reduction in conversions.

2. Affects SEO

The speed of your Shopify store can have a significant impact on your SEO rankings. Search engines like Google use website loading speed as a ranking factor because it affects user experience.

And if your store is not ranking, you're losing a lot of traffic. And we all know that traffic is how you make money! So if you want to keep your store in the black, it's imperative that you optimize your site for speed.

3. Conversions can take a big hit

Shopify store speed is one of the most important factors in determining your conversion rate. It's the difference between a happy customer and a frustrated one, and it can make or break your business.

The faster your site loads, the more likely a customer is to stay on it. The longer they stay on your site, the better chance they have of converting. 

4. Your store’s mobile experience can be compromised

Today, the majority of internet traffic comes from mobile devices.

This is especially true for e-commerce websites.

If your website loads slowly on mobile devices, you could lose customers before they even get a chance to see what's in your store!

5. Your brand reputation and customer loyalty is at stake

You've invested your time, talent, and money in building a brand. You've created a brand that your customers love, and you're proud of what you've built.But what if all that could be ruined by slow load times?

Sure, nobody likes waiting for a website to load—but what if you have a customer who's trying to place an order while they're on their phone, or who has been waiting for a page to load for two minutes and is starting to get annoyed? What if they leave because of how long it takes for your site to load?

That's not going to do anything good for your brand reputation—and even worse - it's going to make people less likely to trust your business and return for another purchase.

Did you know that -

  • 79% of online shoppers who have a bad shopping experience are less likely to buy from the same Shopify store again and 64% would just purchase from a different online store.
  • 18% of shoppers will abandon their carts if the page loads too slow
  • 46% of online buyers say speed is the #1 factor that determines if they’ll return to a store

6. Reduce server load

Shopify stores that load quickly don't just get better reviews and more conversions—they can also save you money.

That's because when your site takes too long to load, it can overload your server, which increases the chance of costly outages or downtimes. When your store is down, you're losing money—and you're not making any.

Fortunately, website speed optimization can help reduce the load on your servers and make sure that your site stays fast and responsive even when there are multiple people accessing it at once.

7. Gives you a competitive edge

It's no secret that website speed is important for businesses.

But what many people don't realize is that website speed can be a competitive advantage.

Why? Well, let's say your competitor is using a slow-loading site—and you have a fast one. Because of this, visitors will be more likely to choose your store over theirs. They'll stay on your site longer, they'll feel like they're getting better service, and they'll be more likely to make a purchase.

Furthermore, having a fast website also means that Google will rank you higher in search results—which means more traffic and potential customers who aren't even looking at your competitors!

How to improve Shopify store speed?

1. Compress and optimize images

When selling online, visual elements are a big part of your business. However, these elements can soon turn against you if not used strategically.

If your store is slow, one of the first things you should do is optimize your images.

Images can be a huge drain on your store's speed, so it's important to not only compress them but also optimize them for display. This means making sure that your website displays the image in the most efficient way possible for your customers and for SEO purposes.

Compressing images simply means reducing their file size by removing unnecessary information from the image file, such as metadata or other unneeded bits of data. The more unnecessary information you remove from an image, the smaller its file size will be.

Optimizing images means using different formats depending on what type of image it is. For example, if you're using an image with text in it, make sure that it's displayed in an HTML format so that browsers can read it as text instead of displaying it as an image (which would be slow).

Here are some tips to optimize your images to improve your average Shopify store speed -

  • Learn about different file types like JPG, JPEG, PNG, etc.
  • Always reduce image file sizes
  • Name your image files with suitable keywords for improved SEO
  • Add alt tags to all images
  • Use sitemaps to get your images noticed by Google

2. Choose a fast and responsive theme

Themes are the templates that determine how your site looks and feels. They can be light or heavy, fast or slow. Choose a fast and responsive theme and you'll have a head start on making sure your site loads quickly.

A good theme will have been built with speed in mind, which means that it will load quickly on mobile devices. Remember, if you're not careful, it's easy to end up with a slow-loading theme that will drive away customers and hurt your sales.

Need help to choose the right theme for your Shopify business? Reach out to us!

3. Implement AMP

Source: Statista

If you want to make sure that your customers can find your Shopify store when they search for it, you'll need to implement AMP. AMP stands for Accelerated Mobile Pages, and it is a way of implementing HTML code so that your website loads faster on mobile devices. It's especially important because people tend to use their phones when shopping online rather than on a laptop or desktop computer.

Furthermore, the AMP format allows for the creation of web pages that load quickly, even on slow connections. This means your customers won't have to wait as long for their pages to load—and they'll appreciate it!

5. Lazy load images

Reducing image sizes is a good start to optimize your Shopify store speed. However, most times just reducing file sizes is never enough. 

That’s where lazy loading comes in!

If you have a lot of images on your website, these images can slow down your page load time. To avoid this problem, make sure to only load the images that are visible in the user's browser. This is called lazy loading and it's a great way to improve the speed of your store.

6. Fix broken links

Broken links are the enemy of store speed.

Not only do they make visitors frustrated and adversely affect your store's User Experience (UX), but they can also hurt your store's SEO. When Google sees a broken link on your site, it's likely to assume that the content you're linking to is also broken or outdated.

7. Analyze web page performance (with Google PageSpeed)

You can use Google's PageSpeed Insights tool to see how well your site performs in terms of speed and load time. The tool will also give recommendations on how to improve Shopify store speed, so you don't have to guess what might be slowing it down.

8. Reduce redirects

Redirects are basically when a user clicks on something and the browser automatically redirects them to another page or website. The problem is that redirects slow down your site by adding extra time for the browser to load and switch between pages. This can result in lost sales if it takes too long for your customers to find what they're looking for.

To avoid this problem, make sure you have as few redirects as possible on your Shopify store. 

Here are some tips to reduce redirects for improved store speed -

  • Minimize the use of redirect chains
  • Use a 301 redirect to inform search engines that a page has moved permanently. This is the most search engine-friendly redirect and ensures link equity transfer from the previous page
  • Use relative URLs which are shorter and faster to resolve
  • Use canonical tags to inform search engines of the preferred version of a page
  • Update internal links regularly

9. Minimize the use of apps

You might be tempted to have as many apps on your store as possible, but the truth is that you can run a very successful business without them. In fact, if you're using them just to fill space, they're probably doing more harm than good.

Today, there are so many Shopify apps out there that promise to do everything from giving you SEO advice to helping you manage your inventory, but they all make a website slower. If you want to make your shop faster, start by deleting or disabling apps that don’t add much value to your Shopify store.

So, the basic thumb rule here is if you're not using an app, then don't install it. But if you are using an app and can't run your store without it, then make sure it's lightweight and doesn't require a lot of bandwidth to run.

10. Take professional help

If you've been following along, you know that optimizing your Shopify store for speed is a lot of work. However, the points mentioned above are just the tip of the iceberg. There’s so much more involved in this process of Shopify store speed optimization. This includes -

  • Compressing HTML and CSS,
  • Using a Content Delivery Network (CDN),
  • Removing render-blocking CSS and JS in above-the-fold web page content,
  • Reducing server response time,
  • Enabling browser caching, etc.

But if you're feeling like your head is spinning (and we don't blame you), there's nothing wrong with seeking professional help.

So, if you don’t want to spend hours trying to figure out how to optimize your Shopify store for speed, or don’t have time to learn about all of these different tools and apps, we, at Friction Studio, can help you!

We have a team of experts who will help you optimize your store for speed so that it loads as quickly as possible—and they do it while you sit back and relax. Reach out to us today!

Conclusion: A slow website is as bad as no website at all!

Unfortunately, it doesn't take much to slow down a site. Whether it's a blog post or an image gallery, there are many elements that could be costing you the optimal store speed you desire. 

Hopefully, with the tips and tricks above, you'll be able to dramatically speed up your site and be on your way to better conversion rates.

If you need additional help, reach out to the Shopify experts at Friction Studio. We design, build, and optimize Shopify & Shopify Plus websites for D2C brands. Check out some of our work here.

Schedule a call with us to get started!

Frequently asked questions

What is a good store speed for Shopify?

A score of 90+ for desktop and 75-80 for mobile screens is considered good. 50-89 means your website needs improvement, and below 50 is considered poor.

Does Shopify store speed matter?

A slow-loading store can lead to frustration for users, who may leave before making a purchase. Additionally, search engines like Google consider page speed as a ranking factor.

How can I make my Shopify store faster?

1. Compress and optimize images

2. Choose a fast and responsive theme

3. Implement AMP

4. Lazy load images

5. Fix broken links

6. Analyze web page performance (with Google PageSpeed)

7. Reduce redirects

8. Minimize the use of apps

9. Take professional help

Why is my Shopify store speed so low? 

Slow Shopify store could be because you use a slow/heavy theme, images are not optimized, heavy app usage, broken links, lots of redirects, and/or AMP is not implemented.

Vishal Goswami
May 5, 2023

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