Does your shop seem a little sluggish lately?

When your shop first launched, it was blazing fast. But as time has gone on, little by little, it’s started feeling slower.

And you’re wondering if it’s affecting your conversions.

According to one study, 40% of shoppers will abandon a website if it takes longer than three seconds to load. And a full 79% of shoppers who are dissatisfied with a site’s performance won’t return.

There are many ways to speed up a website and, luckily, Shopify takes care of a whole lot of them for you. That means you don’t have to worry about CDNs or asset caching, or any of that other stuff that will take your focus away from running your business.

With just a few simple habits, you can keep your shop running blazing fast.

And if your site is already suffering from slow response times, it’s a quick project to get it back on track.

These three simple steps will keep your Shopify store fast and responsive - CLICK TO TWEET

Measure your site speed

First, see how your site is performing right now. Head over to Google PageSpeed Insights and enter your shop’s url. After a few minutes, Google will display a report and give you a score based on your current site speed.

Here’s what it looks like.

There are a couple of metrics that will be most important to you when you’re looking a your shop.

First, your overall score, which is in the circle at the top. Aim for 70 or higher. This should be doable unless you’re making some big mistakes in your store.

Second, under lab data, take a look at First meaningful paint. Essentially, this is how long it takes a user to perceive that the page has loaded.

Remember earlier when we talked about how 40% of users will abandon a site that takes longer than three seconds to load. Don’t except anything over 3 seconds, and aim for much lower.

These next few steps will tell you how to keep your Shopify site fast.

Pick the right theme

If you’re using a Shopify-built theme, you’re all set here. Shopify has done a fantastic job implementing site speed best practices, like minification, lazy loading images and caching assets.

There are also lots of great third party themes on Shopify, but it’s always best to give them a quick speed check before you choose.

Here’s how.

Head to the Shopify theme store and find a theme you like.

Click Try theme to install it into your shop.

Make sure there are a few products on the homepage and it’s got any image-heavy sections on your current homepage on it. If not, go into the theme in your Shopify admin and add them.

Copy the preview url by going to your Shopify Admin > Online Store > Themes. Then click Actions next to your newly installed theme, right click the Preview link and click Copy link.

Paste that url into PageSpeed Insights and analyze your shop with the new theme. Make sure you check both desktop and mobile.

If your score drops significantly, consider going with a more optimized theme.

Optimize your images

Optimizing your images most likely won’t make a big difference in your PageSpeed score, but its will make a big difference to your visitors.

Shopify-built themes, and most third party themes, will lazy load your images. Lazy loading defers image loading so that a visitor doesn’t have to wait for all the images to download before they can see your shop.

But you still need to optimize your images.

When you have large, unoptimized images, visitors will see blurry pictures, or no pictures at all for a few seconds as they scroll down the page. You want those images to load as fast as possible, so they pop in quickly when the user hits that section of the page.

The easiest way to do that is to make sure all of your images are optimized.

Take your homepage collection at a minimum and head over to Upload your product images, wait a few minutes, and the site will prompt you too download a zip file containing your optimized images.

You can see in the example below, we saved over 66%, or 8mb by uploading 10 unoptimized images.

Make sure you’re optimizing your hero images and homepage slideshow images too. Better yet, if you’re using a homepage slideshow, stop!

Remove unused apps

This is a biggie. As you’ve been running your shop you’ve probably installed a lot of apps. But an app here and there can really add up.

Not just on your Shopify invoice, but on your site’s performance.

Let’s take a look.

As an experiment, I created a totally new Shopify store and imported 5 demo products.

Here’s what a PageSpeed test shows.

We get a 90, with content appearing on the screen in under a second.

Next, I went to the Shopify App Store and installed 5 popular apps. Then I re-ran the speed test.

Now it takes 3.1 seconds before the first meaningful paint - almost.4 times as long as before!

This isn’t meant to scare you off installing apps from the Shopify App Store. There’s a lot of great ones, and many won’t impact your site speed negatively.

But /get rid of the ones you aren’t using/.

Audit the app page in your Shopify admin. Are you still using all these apps and receiving a benefit from them? If you’re not, chuck them.

Keep your site speedy

With a few simple habits, you can keep your Shopify store fast and responsive.

  1. Audit your apps regularly.
  2. Always optimize your images.
  3. Use an optimized theme.

Guard your site speed. It’s important to the health of your store.

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Photo by Robin Pierre on Unsplash