The importance of speed optimizing your Shopify e-commerce site

by Julia Jackle - Jan 27, 2021

Let’s set the scene: you’re a new startup and you’ve been developing your business idea for months. Brand strategy perfected, exciting visual identity, amazing product photos. You’ve given your web agency the go-ahead to launch your gorgeous new Shopify e-commerce site. You type in the website address, hit the enter key and … wait. And wait.

What is speed optimization?

Like a tune-up for your car, speed optimization involves streamlining your Shopify website to improve performance and get rid of anything slowing it down. The speed that a website loads can depend on a number of factors.

Image optimization for web

To sell your products effectively on your e-commerce site, you need high-quality images that grab your customer’s attention. A blurry or pixelated photo can damage your brand appeal and make your business look amateur. But if an image fails to load in good time, and no one sees it anyway, that’s even worse! Image optimization is about creating balance between the quality and size of an image to make it sharp and quick to load. Image dimensions, image resolution and even image file type (JPG, PNG, SVG, etc.) can have a huge impact on the final loading times. For skilled Shopify web developers, it is also often possible to replace an image with Javascript or CSS code that can perform the same function, but without the bloat.

Javascript and CSS

Speaking of these two, as useful as they are, they can still be the cause of slowdowns. When you use Javascript to power your pop-ups or CSS to control your Shopify site appearance, extra lines of code and script errors can increase site loading times. 

Redirects and forwarding

Landing pages or other content that redirect to a new page can slow down your Shopify site as it waits for each new URL to respond.

Content Delivery Networks

CDNs are cached versions of your site which are stored in numerous locations around the world. When a potential customer accesses your Shopify site, it will load more quickly from their nearest location.

Third-party applications

If you download any third-party applications to integrate with your Shopify site, don’t assume it’s already configured to be as efficient as possible. Every app you install leaves a piece of code on the website, and if the code is not speed-optimized, this may have a detrimental effect on site speed.

How can website speed affect your Shopify site performance?

It may be tempting to think “We don’t need to optimize! Everyone’s on super-fast broadband and 4G now.” But not everyone has access to the latest tech or highest speeds all the time. From outdated hardware to poor wireless connection, you never know what else is going on for your users that may be impacting site loading times. So if they already have an existing issue that delays page loading by, say, 3 seconds, and your Shopify site is offering poor performance on top, bumping that delay to 5, 6 or 7 seconds, then you’ve lost them.

Slow loading loses customers

In today’s digital landscape, 5-7 seconds is an ice age – no more than 2-3 seconds is the optimum loading time. Research has shown that 40% of customers will abandon a website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load and 33% will leave if it takes more than 5 seconds. Users will also stay on your site longer and visit more pages if it loads quicker, increasing the chances they’ll buy from you.

Poor performance damages your SEO ranking

On Google, page speed (both mobile and desktop) can penalise your SEO ranking. Google’s model relies on delivering results that will keep users engaged and on the site as long as possible. If your Shopify site has a high bounce rate, they’re not going to rank it highly, no matter what keywords you use.

Ignore mobile users at your own risk

Mobile ranking is even more important than desktop these days, due to the majority of users accessing content while on the go. Amateur Shopify developers will often optimize sites for desktop but treat mobile optimization as an afterthought, which will negatively impact SEO even further.

At Creative971, we ensure all our sites are fully optimized for the best e-commerce experience on desktop and mobile. Now that you know how to optimize your site, and why you should, drop us a line to discuss your ideal Shopify site.

About the Author:
Julia Jackle
Julia is the co-founder and CEO of Creative971 and has written blogs in the past for the Entrepreneur Magazine UAE. Her extensive knowledge in the E-Commerce industry in the UAE and GCC is widely appreciated.


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