June 16, 2020
4 – 5 minute read:
Many e-commerce store owners don’t usually think of page speed as one of the biggest factors of their conversion rate and site traffic. However, this measure can be the key to your store’s success. Page speed is the time it takes for the content on a page to load. The longer it takes, the longer your customers will spend time waiting. Except they aren’t waiting, most of them would have already left the site.
Consequences of Slow Loading Time
Slow loading time can have multiple detrimental effects to your e-commerce store. Studies show that 47% of visitors expect web pages to load in 2 seconds or less. Having a longer load time increases bounce rate, in fact, every extra second of loading time increases this number exponentially. Lower page speed also leads to lower user engagement as people don’t want to spend time waiting for the content to load, as well as less traffic.
If important content such as click-through-actions or sales funnel content takes too long to load, potential customers will leave the site before they are even able to see or interact with them. In turn, conversion rate will plummet as the store will not even have a chance to perform. Search engines also don’t appreciate low page speed. Google for example penalizes slow websites with lower rankings and higher cost-per-click. Not only will visitors not have a chance to interact with the website, most will not even get there in the first place.
Analyze Page Speed Performance
The best way to see if your Shopify store’s page speed is where it needs to be is by using a data analysis app. One great app is UI Ave Analytics which provides both desktop and mobile insights. It is important to know how fast your website is loading on both desktop and mobile devices as mobile users tend to be even more impatient with loading times. UI Ave Analytics provides information about both the speed and overall performance of your website, as well as suggestions on how to continue improving it. The app integrates with Google Pagespeed Insights so it really is the best tool to speed up your website.
You can also test the site yourself by visiting it on a regular basis on all types of devices to check if anything takes too long to load. As a general rule of thumb, try to avoid times greater than 1 second and definitely those slower than 2 seconds. This is especially important after launching a new feature or store redesign.
Optimize Media and Code
One of the most common causes of low page speed is media such as images and videos. Large and uncompressed images significantly slow down load times. Always make sure to compress your images so that their file size is as small as possible and use different image sizes for different screens. This way your images will always load as fast as possible and still maintain great looking quality.
The same can be said about videos however, try to limit the use of videos. Even if they are compressed, they usually significantly slow down load times. You should also watch out for image sliders since they pack multiple images into one area. Try to avoid their use and if they are mandatory, limit the images in it to no more than three.
Unnecessary code can also affect page speed. Loops that can be avoided or repetitive code should be taken out so that the website runs as smoothly as possible. Make sure to minify any custom code that you may have on your Shopify store in addition to implementing lazy loading. This is a great feature to use as it loads content onto the viewer’s screen as they scroll it into view. Think of it as a way to spread out your loading time to when the specific content appears on the screen rather than all at once.
Pick the Best Apps and Themes
While there are many great apps on the Shopify app store that can help the performance of your store, having too many installed is another cause of slow page speed. Go through your apps and check to see if all of them are being used or set up properly. Apps carry a lot of code with them that runs in the background together with your website. If an app does not serve a purpose for you then it’s best to delete for page speed’s sake. If you have two apps that both do the same thing, then pick the one you like more and delete the unnecessary one.
As much as we all enjoy beautiful themes, some of them can slow down your site when used with large amounts of content. Whenever you are thinking of switching to a new theme, make sure to test it first to see if it will work well with your content and not slow down load times. As beautiful as your store looks, it would be a shame if visitors left before they had a chance to see it.
Overall, page speed is much more important than it is thought to be. Online store visitors will not wait around more than a couple seconds for a site to load which can hurt performance such as conversion rate. It is always best to follow the steps above and make sure that your site is running as quickly as possible.