If you run a Shopify store then you are going to want it to load as fast as possible. While Shopify stores naturally and initially run quickly, in time page speed can start to suffer. Thankfully there are generally some common reasons for this and there are some things that you can do to boost your loading speeds store-wide and improve the customer and user experience for good.
So, how do you make your shopify store load faster? To improve the speed of your shopify store, you need to both reduce resource requirements and optimize your sites files, apps and code. While Shopify provides excellent hosting that is naturally fast; configurations, changes and additions to your store are generally the reason that cause your store to slow down.
Let us know explore the topic further, providing some practical takeaways and things that you can do to establish lightening store load times.
Why Your Shopify Store Needs To Load Fast
You likely know the importance of this already, which is why you even landed on this article to begin with. So if you want to skip this section, feel free by clicking here (it will take you to the next section). A fast loading store is paramount nonetheless so lets just quickly run over it.
Customers expect fast loading stores. This is just how it is and what they have come to expect.
This is true whether they are shopping on their desktop or their mobile; with the latter becoming an increasingly popular way to shop.
Slow loading stores result in higher high bounce rates (customers leaving the store), lower general engagement and browsing, less total store traffic, and ultimately a decline in your sales.
You likely know this already. If you have ever tried to access a store/website that loads slowly, your chances of continuing are less.
Beyond this, from an SEO perspective, Google are less likely to rank your store and product pages. Website/store speed are confirmed ranking factors so falling below a certain threshold can have untold consequences.
When you consider that SEO is a free organic method to obtain sales, whereby you maximize your earnings per sale, this is not something you want to prevent or limit.
Why Is Your Shopify Store Slow?
Unlike other websites that rely on you sourcing hosting, your shopify store will run on the global shopify servers. This is standard for all stores.
Shopify’s hosting is industry leading, where you benefit from unlimited bandwidth (that covers requirements as your traffic spikes) and a CDN (content delivery network).
It is important to note that a slowing Shopify store is 99% of the time an issue with your configuration as opposed to a server issue.
This is why your store is super fast loading when you begin a Shopify store and why it slows down in time.
Essentially what is causing your store to slow down are the increasing requirements you are asking of it.
Here are the main causes:
- Installation of Applications
- Poorly designed theme
- Images that have not been optimized
Imagine your store like a hiker. The more load the hiker is required to carry the slower they will ultimately be able to walk. It doesn’t matter if they have the best shoes (i.e. unlimited bandwidth) or the best clothing (Global CDN), they will be limited in how they can perform.
The same principles apply with a shopify store.
How To Boost Your Shopify Store Speed
There are a number of effective and easy to implement ways to speed up your Shopify store that will not result in reduced functionality and a drastic drop in sales.
Optimize Your Images
Whenever you upload an image to your store, like product images, you should always get in the habit of limiting their size first.
Images that have not been optimized beforehand dramatically increase the overall size of your store and mean it is more that needs to be loaded.
Thankfully there are a lot of free online tools that you can find on Google that you can use and that will not limit the quality of your images.
If you store has a lot of images that have not been optimized already, this is a good place to start.
Limit Resource Intense Customizations
Another big contributor to a slow loading store are any customizations that require a lot of resource to display. This generally happens with a lot of the free themes and even some premium themes that try to install too many customization options as standard.
Carousels are a prime example of this and require a lot of resource to power. While they may look good its important to consider if they are adding much benefit from a customer perspective.
To overcome this, review your site regularly and look for specific pages or elements that take a while to load, such as your homepage.
Install a Premium Theme Optimized For Speed
Your store theme plays a huge role in the general speed of your store, the customers experience and what they ultimately do.
The majority of free themes have not been designed with speed in mind. In fact, a lot of the premium themes fail to do this too.
eCom Turbo, as the name suggests, was designed specifically for this purpose (as well as others like improving conversion rates).
Its a device-responsive theme too that improves the speed of your site on all devices including mobile. This is because it detects the device your customer is using and only attempts to serve images and files that can be seen on that device.
It loads insanely fast as standard and was built with custom coding to reduce general bloat and to ensure your customers can find what they need easily and quickly.
Optimize Your Files
Your store, along with your theme, applications and all functionality are running due to files and coding. It’s what is powering your store and how it is brought to life.
Each time you make a change to your store you are manipulating the underlying code. Its important to remember that this code can ‘bloat’ and expand far beyond its original size.
To optimize your files you can look to merge files together. However, this is a complicated process that requires an understanding of Shopify’s coding language – liquify.
This is why it pays you to purchase a premium theme, because these files are usually combined and reduced as standard.
Applications can boost the functionality of your store quite profoundly. They can make your store do things that initially you did not believe was possible and this can help drive sales from your existing and future visitors.
Unfortunately the more applications you have on your store the more resource that is requires. This is because these applications work independently from one another and you generally need to install quite a few of them to get everything you need.
While Shopify does a good job at loading applications, you can help the process by reducing the number of applications that you are not using.
Another great idea is to purchase a theme like eCom Turbo that has over a dozen applications (countdown timers, scarcity functionality, upsells, urgency tickers etc). These are all integrated into the themes coding meaning they are automatically compressed and optimized and will not affect your stores loading times.
Improving the speed of your shopify store is one of the easiest and best things that you can do.
Faster store speed will improve your customer experience, increase your chances of sales and will also favorably boost your stores presence in the search engines.
If you have noticed a decrease in load times – give the above suggestions a try and you’ll soon see with a few modifications here and there your store goes back to its fast-loading natural self.
For me, eCom Turbo made a huge difference. So I would check this theme out first and foremost.
However, do not neglect something as simple as image optimization using free tools found on Google!