Customer experience isn’t something you can just forget, and it pays to have a fast website when looking for sales. Shopify already offers great loading speed for users, but that doesn’t mean it can’t slow down with time.
Luckily, it’s easy to spot what’s reducing your loading times, and the same goes for fixing the issue. That’s our topic today.
As an introduction, we can say right away that you improve website speed by reducing its workload; this means both reducing how many resources your features consume and optimizing your pages in general.
Shopify’s hosting is fast already, but you can hinder your store’s performance by being careless with how you build your website.
With that in mind, let’s see why loading time matters, what causes slow performance, and how you can solve it.
Why should you care about loading times?
It’s easy to understand the basics: loading times are important because you need to provide an enjoyable shopping experience to your clients. That’s definitely not wrong; customers are used to fast loading times, and it’s a standard you must meet.
This must also be a staple of your store regardless of which devices your customers use, especially with how mobiles keep making up a larger portion of online shopping.
Slow loading times result in customers simply leaving your store more often out of frustration. That means less traffic and, naturally, more sales.
All of that is common sense, and you probably know that. You’ve surely left at least one site because of how slow it loaded.
However, I want to explain the most important reason why you want to care about your page loading speed: SEO.
If your website loads slowly, and customers are bouncing regularly, then Google and other search engines won’t rank your website and products among its results. Website speed is one of the most important criteria for ranking high among Google results, and neglecting it often dooms your chances.
SEO is one of the best ways to generate traffic: it’s free, and your visitors are already interested in the same niche as your store. Even with a solid paid marketing approach, there’s no reason to forget about SEO.
What makes a Shopify store run slowly?
Shopify already offers web hosting for all users; this means you don’t have to hire a separate service regardless of the subscription you’re paying.
Besides, this hosting service is one of the best available right now. It offers limitless bandwidth to cover your traffic – regardless of how large – without any shortages. That means that slow stores are usually caused by user configurations instead of Shopify’s servers.
If your store is having speed issues, then you might remember it wasn’t like that when you first built it. That means it started increase its loading time as you customized and changed its settings.
The main reasons behind a slow Shopify store relate to increased resource requirements for your store’s functionality. This includes changing your store files directly, overloading your store with apps, using low-quality themes, and poor image and page optimization in general.
Think of your store as another person. If you ask him to do too many things at once, they’ll take a lot more time to finish everything. Give them too much weight, and they’ll move slower. Ask them to read a complex book, and it’ll take longer.
How can you boost that speed?
Luckily, identifying what’s slowing down your store isn’t difficult. You only need to note when it started to lose speed; from there, you have different ways you can boost your speed or even prevent its decrease entirely.
Every element making up your pages requires memory and resources to load. This is especially true for images, so you want to get used to reducing their size before uploading product photos and other visuals.
A lack of optimization means your store’s size increase – or becomes “heavier”. This means it has more to load than necessary.
To solve this issue, you can simply search on Google for image optimization tools. There are many free options that won’t diminish your image quality. If you haven’t been doing this for your store, definitely start here.
Don’t get too crazy with customization
As I already mentioned, customization – especially when done poorly – is a very common cause for slow loading times. Some elements require more resources than others, and using them too much can be troublesome.
This is a common problem with many free themes and some premium ones that get carried away with the standard customization features. The best example is carousels since they can mess up your site.
Some elements (like the carousels) look amazing, but you really need to assess whether or not they’re actually important to your user experience. The best way to solve this issue is to visit your own site as a customer and notice which pages take longer to load.
Using premium themes
The theme you use on your store is critical when it comes to your loading time in general – let alone customer experience and customization. Most free themes aren’t designed with the goal of improving speed; even some premium themes forget about it as well.
One theme that you can use to boost your website’s speed is eCom Turbo. It’s a theme designed for making your store perform perfectly in many ways, including loading speed and responsiveness.
It also works great on mobile devices, so you won’t need to worry about losing potential customers. It automatically detects which device your visitor uses and adapts your website to it, loading only the files their devices can load and show.
It’s amazingly fast as a result, and you don’t have to mess with its code to improve its speed. Its coding was developed specifically to reduce the amount of elements consuming your bandwidth so that your customers can load everything quickly.
There are numerous files responsible to keep your store and all its elements running properly. Everything your website implements is powered by these files.
The code within these files changes automatically as you edit your store with the editor; that’s why you don’t need any HTML knowledge to build websites with Shpoify. However, if this code expands beyond what it should be – with unnecessary data – it can cause your store to slow down.
Optimizing these files includes merging them. Just keep in mind it’s not an easy process, and you need to understand Shopify’s own coding language. Luckily, the best premium themes do this automatically.
Applications are great; you can use them to add even more features to your store that aren’t included by default or on your theme. They’re a great way to make your store perform better and automate processes to free up more time.
The problem is that each app needs resources to run. Having more apps implemented means that your store is running more processes; you can reduce this burden on your site by cutting down on the amount of apps you’re using.
You can also install premium themes (again, like eCom Turbo) that offer apps already built into their code. You can save money and speed up your website by having access to many features right from your theme. Premium themes compress these together so that they don’t interfere with your store’s responsiveness.
Your website speed is something you should never neglect, and improving it can make wonders for your business’ performance. This means better customer experience and higher ranking on search engines.
It makes it more likely for people to both find you and buy from you.
There are many ways you can improve loading speed, but the easiest one is by getting an optimized theme like eCom Turbo.