Everything You Need to Know About the New Shopify Site Speed Feature
Shopify just added a new site speed score on their dashboard. Which is potentially really awesome, but right now it’s mostly overwhelming and frustrating for my clients. I’ve already gotten a lot of questions about it.
What can we do? How can we fix it?
We're going to talk about the things we have no control over. Spoiler alert on Shopify is quite a bit.
Site speed is important. It's one of the things that Google uses to help your site rank, which just means like it's one of the things Google uses to determine which website will show up on search results. And that's because they want sites that load quickly because people are impatient. They know that if a site doesn't load, people will just bounce. They'll just leave that website and they don't want that to happen.
First, let me show you where to find this information on your Shopify dashboard.
This tool analyzes your website for speed. When you look at that there's red, yellow, and green. It is incredibly difficult to have an e-commerce store in the green gauge of this score.
Every single product you have is another photo on your website. Most of your products probably have at least two to three, if not more, photos. Every single image slows down your website, and obviously you need those. Every feature, every app, every font slows down your website, and you need those things. It's not always about having the fastest website more often it's about weighing the difference between your features that you need and the features that are slowing your website down.
Also keep in mind a lot of times the report might say that your website doesn’t have enough real world data. This happens when you have a site that doesn’t get a lot of traffic or your domain is too new.
Things you can do to improve your Shopify Site Speed.
Compress photos before you load them to Shopify. Use a tool like tinypng.com to compress the images before you load them to your site. You can also compress your photos using a Shopify like Bulk Image Edit.
Delete apps that you are no longer using and/or looking for different ways to do the same tasks without using an app. Make sure you go through the process of uninstalling the apps, sometimes if you don’t actually uninstall the app will leave the code behind on your site.
Clean up unused themes or trial themes. This doesn’t really affect your site speed but it’s good practice.
There are also some design decisions you can make to reduce the load time on your Shopify site.
Instead of using a video at the top of your site, put your video down lower on the page.
Use a single image instead of a slideshow or carousel of images.
Reduce the number of featured products or collections so you have only one or two rows of images
Use the fonts that are built-in to Shopify instead of a custom font
If improving your site speed is really important then you want to really consider each element and decide if something you want on the page.
When you view the results of the PageSpeed Tool it will give you a list of suggested changes.
Sometimes those are really easy things, like compress a particular image, but more often the suggestions are confusing and seem like they are in a different language.
These are usually things you have no control over in Shopify. This article from Shopify* lists a few of those out when you are trying to improve your site speed.
*This article also mentions disabling features of your theme you don’t uses or reducing your liquid code, I don’t recommend this because if you want to use those features in the future you’ll basically have to re-do the entire design unless you hire someone to add the features back to your code.
There are some things a developer could do to improve your site speed within the code. I would recommend talking with a developer to see if this is a good option for you or not.
This is not something my team does but you can check with these Shopify developers. If you want to find a developer check out the list of Shopify Experts who specialize in site speed. You can also get in touch with the developer who created your theme. This is something we do for our own clients, but not by its self.
My number one tip for Site Speed is do the things you can control and let go of the rest. It’s really NOT the most important part of your website. If you can reduce the load time, that’s really great but it’s not a deal breaker for the right customers.
If you haven't signed up for a free trial of Shopify, you can do that by following this link.