10 Best practices to improve Shopify store speed
Maintaining an average Shopify store speed of 2.8 seconds (with a top speed of 2.5s) becomes difficult to achieve for eCommerce stores as it scales. With short attention span and impatience being a key trait of new-age customers, a slow website results in customer dropouts, affecting leads, sales, and projected revenues.
With a lot at stake, improving website speed is a key objective for eCommerce merchants to stay relevant in the market. Although uncontrollable factors like your customers' device, network, and location do contribute to lags, you can at least control the factors from your side of the tunnel.
What are these factors and how do you take care of them? This article presents you with the best practices you can adopt and implement to boost your Shopify store speed that results in a seamless eCommerce navigation experience.
Conduct a website audit for your Shopify Store Speed And Performance
The first thing you want to do in optimizing your Shopify store speed is to use a reliable website testing tool to test your store’s speed and get a Shopify store speed score. If the tool is advanced enough, you receive suggestions on how to optimize your store, based on the score generated and metrics allocated by the tool.
You generate your online store speed report and use the information to make necessary decisions on the strategies to implement. Coupled with suggestions, top website and Shopify speed testing tools like Google Pagespeed even produce separate reports for your desktop and mobile optimizations. You know how your online store performs across multiple device types and understand the extent of changes to be made to effectively improve your Shopify store speed.
Centralize Your Tracking Code
The determination to beat the competition to stay ahead pushes eCommerce stores to adopt multiple strategies like website visitor tracking. Website tracking is done through the use of tracking codes embedded in the HTML source code of your Shopify store.
To be one step ahead in this, website owners also add multiple specialized and dedicated software to read out data produced by these tracking codes. These software programs may be dedicated to interpreting data for conversion or marketing purposes, among others. This means having multiple tracking codes from different software is one thing a lot of website owners don’t intend to do away with.
Recognizing that these different programs draw data from your multiple tracking codes and inevitably slow down your Shopify store, what do you do?
You centralize the collation of data from these tracking codes, called tags, with one software. This software program then sends these tags out to other implemented software outside of your Shopify store’s bandwidth. A tool like Google Tag Manager is a great place to start in centralizing your tracking codes.
Implement The AMP Framework
Here is a tip on how to optimize Shopify store speed for mobile devices. The AMP, or Accelerated Mobile Pages, is an open standard and simple web components framework dedicated to helping developers create fast-loading websites.
With Over half of online shoppers making use of mobile phones, hence, implementing as many mobile speed optimization tricks as possible remains crucial. Thankfully, you have access to highly-rated integrated apps within Shopify that help you easily create these AMP pages. These include the FireAMP and RocketAMP Shopify apps.
Implement a Properly Optimized Search Tool
Despite having a fast website load speed, searches within your website can still be slow. For a large online store with a large inventory of items, a visitor can become uninterested if search results are not delivered as quickly as possible.
What's your solution? - An extensively featured search tool that offers dedicated optimizations for search speeds. Ensure the tool you choose is compatible with your theme for glitch-free usage.
Note: At Sparq - an AI-powered Shopify search app facilitating over 6 million monthly searches, we help you achieve 25 milliseconds in search speeds and a 40% reduction in dropouts! View us in action via demo.
Apply a Responsive Theme
Themes play a major role in determining your Shopify online store speed. Not only are they of different sizes, but they also increase in size as you customize theme features.
What this means is that, for your Shopify online store speed optimization, you want to choose a Shopify theme that is optimized for performance. You should also make sure your applied theme is up to date, and unused features are disabled.
Cut Down On Your App Integrations
With multitudes of apps integrable with Shopify, there is no doubt about how tempting it is to increase your online store functionality as much as possible using them. However, this adds more codes and Java/CSS files into your theme, wherein, even when they are not in use, they remain running in the background.
Hence, it’s best to remove applications you don't use or don’t contribute to enhancing your customer’s experience. One can also selectively disable app features that are not in use or reorder your online store code. Although most apps automatically take care of this, Shopify also suggests that while uninstalling, you manually remove the app codes added during the installation process.
Minimize Your HTTP Requests
To facilitate resource pulling, HTTP requests serve as messages sent from clients to servers, with these messages defining the actions to be performed on these resources. The higher your HTTP requests, the more worked up your server gets and, consequently, the slower your Shopify store speed gets.
Keeping your HTTP requests below 50, or advisably below 25, boosts your online store speed. You can also combine your CSS and Java scripts, reduce your design image and limit your use of social buttons to minimize your HTTP request.
Consider Replacing Sliders
Adding multiple high-quality images to sliders on your website doesn't do your page load speeds any good. Sources resent that sliders do not only record low click-through rates and engagements, they also contribute to a poor mobile navigation experience. The Hero layout and a clear call to action remain an effective alternative.
The quality and size of your images go hand in hand, while this also being the same between quality and your visitor's experience. High-quality images are important elements of an online store, but having extremely large images slows down your Shopify store.
Therefore, it’s advisable to compress your JPEG, JPG, PNG, and GIF images while keeping a close tab on the quality. This allows your website to perform better and gives your visitors the best experience. You could also reduce the number of images on each page.
Work On Your Website Links
When talking of your "website links", we refer specifically to your redirects and broken links. A lot of unnecessary redirects affect the performance of your store.
Broken links, on the other hand, are extra damaging. They don't just unnecessarily increase your HTTP requests but also have a direct effect on your visitor’s experience. Implementing top software programs Ahrefs, and Google Webmaster, among others, helps you identify the bad links within your online store and make necessary removals.
A strong focus on optimizing your eCommerce navigation experience is a long-term investment you will make for growing your business at scale. For your eCommerce store’s speed, ensure you conduct regular audits and hire expert consultants who can guide you for your SEO and site speed.
We, at Sparq, can help you optimize the search experience for your store to improve Shopify store speed by taking care of search pages. Check us out at Sparq.ai and contact our team to understand how you can reduce lags due to search activities by your customers.