Shopify Site Speed: How to Make Your Store Faster

Have you been wondering how you can improve your Shopify site speed?

Maybe you’re experiencing longer load times.

Load times that could be interrupting your customer experience and causing lost sales.

In this episode, I’m going to give you some ways you can optimize your Shopify website for faster speed.

We’ll go over…

  • Why it’s important to have a fast loading Shopify website
  • What you can do to reduce your Shopify site load times
  • Provide you with some additional resources to optimize your Shopify site speed

Tune in and listen! Don’t forget to follow so you don’t miss an episode also don’t forget to comment your thoughts below!

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Show Notes

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Show Transcript

Welcome to the show. Have you ever found yourself researching how to make your Shopify site load faster?

Or how about how to make your Shopify store stop being so slow?

If that is the case then you’ll definitely want to listen in to today’s episode, because I’m going to give you some tips on how you can optimize your Shopify site so that the speed increases or improves.

And, then also I’m going to give you some information about how you can use this to actually improve the overall experience for your store so that you can have a better overall customer experience.

Some Backstory

A bit of a back story. Before I got into Shopify, I worked a lot with WordPress doing custom theme development for clients, studios and other creatives, because coding is not something that every designer likes to do.

And it can be very intensive. But one of the benefits of knowing how to code is that you understand how to structure websites in a way that makes them most optimized for the web.

From how the code is written to the structure of your files and necessary elements that really can make your website and theme stand out and a lot of the elements of coding.

Custom themes from WordPress actually translate well into Shopify itself. Even though the coding languages are different, the essential principles are the same.

In fact, you will find a lot of the designers and experts and developers that work with Shopify.

Have actually worked with WordPress and have done custom theme development as well.

And so it really just gives a better understanding of, like how you can optimize your website.

Backstory out the way.

Why you should care about your Shopify site speed

Here is why you need to pay particular attention to the speed of your Shopify website. When your visitors come to your site, they want to quickly find information about your business. Whether that is product information, content that you might be sharing, subscriptions that you might be launching, memberships that you might be launching.

Once they land on your website, they want to be able to quickly get to that information and they want things to load fast so that they can make decisions and make a decision on whether to sign up for that subscription, to sign up for that newsletter or to even complete the checkout process.

And if you’ve been experiencing any type of issues where you have browse abandonments that are really high or abandoned carts that are really high, I would definitely look at your page speed or your site speed of your Shopify website to see if you have any opportunities.

Which leads me into my next point.

Check Your Shopify Site Speed Load Times

If you want to check the site speed of your Shopify store, I highly recommend that you go to this resource that I’m about to share, which is called GTMetrix.com.

I will link the website in the show notes. So after you listen to this episode, go over to that website and then once you get there, go ahead and enter your website URL into the little box that’s on the screen and make sure you use your URL that includes the HTTPS.

And once you pop your URL in there, you’re just going to let it run. And what this is going to do is give you some feedback on the speed of your site and you’re going to find out some important information.

Now, I’m going to give you a heads up that the information can be overwhelming, especially if you are not techie. So what I want you to pay attention to is the GTMetrix grade. It gives you basically a grade from as if you’re in grade school from like a to, I believe like F.

I don’t know, like the full grading scale, but it’s going to give you a grade.

So A is really good. B is, you know, in the middle, C is like, oh my gosh, D and F, it’s like girl. You have opportunities.

So you want to make sure that you are sitting at a really good grade. The next thing I want you to look at next to that is going to be your web vitals, and that’s going to tell you how long it takes your site to load collectively.

If that number is really high, that means you possibly have some opportunities to improve the performance of your site. Also, just to note, this is also a great resource to utilize any time that you’re doing a new website, or you’re going through a rebrand process or you’re relaunching your website.

This is also great if you’re going to be adding any new features to your site, such as additional apps and other elements that could affect the speed of your website.

So definitely keep this information handy any time that you’re going to be doing any type of changes to your Shopify store so that you can just make sure that your site speed isn’t affected drastically.

All right. So now let’s dove into some really helpful information to help you optimize the site speed of your Shopify store.

Use A Good Shopify Theme

So one of the first things that you want to do is to make sure that you are using a really good Shopify theme. The reason is, like I was saying earlier, is that you want to use a theme that is well coded. And the reason behind that is if your theme is coded poorly, it’s loaded with a lot of code that isn’t useful to your business, that isn’t being utilized.

It can really affect the page speed or the site of your store, resulting in people clicking off like I was saying earlier, or just completely just abandoning your business, which is something you don’t want to happen.

And depending on how your theme has been made or if you had a theme that you purchased from like the Shopify itself or a third party, or even if you have a custom built theme, the structure of the code is going to be different.

Now, I recommend that you.

Work with reputable Shopify theme companies like Shopify and also approve Shopify theme developers, because Shopify is making sure that once they approve these developers or even their own theme, that they’re optimized for the best page speed possible.

Now, if you have a custom built theme, you want to work with your development team just to make sure that your site is loading properly, which it should, because it should have a way less code than an off the shelf theme.

So just make sure that you’re working with them. You have really good communication on how your theme is structured and how it affects your business so that you aren’t coming across these issues.

So make sure again that you are using a really good Shopify theme. I will link in the show notes some resources in addition to the Shopify marketplace itself that you can check out for additional great Shopify themes.

Have A Properly Coded Shopify Theme

Which leads me to my next point, which is to make sure that your theme is properly coded when you have sometimes a third party theme. Think about how that theme has to be made. When the developers are coming up with the concept of that theme.

They’re thinking about every single need that any potential purchaser might need. And so they loaded up with all these features. And it looks great because it has all these cool interactive elements or all this functionality.

But if you aren’t using those functionalities, if you’re not using those features, then they can have a drastic effect on your website, which could result in longer page load times, which affects your revenue, which is not good.

Right. So you want to make sure that the theme is coded properly. And I don’t expect you to know what a properly coded theme looks like.

But if you ever have a question or you’re ever, you know, just curious, a lot of the themes have demos. So take the GTmetrix resource that I gave you earlier. Use that and then run the demo theme through that process and see what the load times are and really just check it out.

And then also you can always look at partnering with a studio to examine a theme to make sure that it’s something that’s going to work for your business.

Examine Your Shopify Apps

Next step is to examine the apps that you’re using on your Shopify store.

If there are any apps that you aren’t actively using, look at if you’re going to be using them in the future. If not, then I recommend uninstalling them. Just make sure that they don’t affect anything else on your store.

The reason why you want to uninstall them and not have them is because even though you’re not actively using them. The code can still be actually active on your website, meaning that once your page loads, it still has to read through that code, which can drastically affect the load times of your store.

So if you’re not using these apps then definitely uninstall them, look at the app developers instructions on how to properly uninstall them. And then if you have any questions, definitely reach out to them to make sure that you’re doing it properly so that it doesn’t affect your store.

Optimize Your Product Images

Another big component of site speed is images. Images can be so large when it comes to file sizes. This is definitely key. If you are taking the images directly from the camera and uploading them to your website or you’re taking the images from your product photographer and uploading them to the website, once you get those images, you most likely have the full size of those images, which are huge.

They can be up to five thousand six thousand seven eight thousand pixels and your site doesn’t need that size of a photo to properly load high quality images to your site.

So you want to make sure that when you are uploading images to your website that they’re optimized for the appropriate size, that your visitors need to make a decision to buy your products if you are uploading them directly from the camera. Like I said, you are essentially adding all this extra file size to your site, which means that your website has to take the time to fully load that image and it can really be a turnoff to your visitors.

So optimize your site. You can do this in different ways. You can use Photoshop, you can use other tools. I’ll link some resources that you can check out in the show notes of this episode so that you can check those out.

Optimize Self-Hosted Videos

And then this leads me to my next biggest culprit. And that could be your videos. So if you are demonstrating any type of product videos that aren’t hosted through other third parties like YouTube, Vimeo, Wistia or anything like that, but they are directly on your website for product demonstrations, whatever the case, you want to make sure that once you get those videos back from your videographer that they’re optimized for your website and make sure that they’re optimized in a way that it doesn’t affect the quality of the video itself.

So your videographer can compress the files so that it doesn’t reduce the quality of the video itself. But once it’s compressed, it will be easier for your website to load onto the site so that your visitors don’t have to wait for a video to fully load to see your product.

So definitely make sure that they’re optimized.

Reduce Site Redirects

And then the next point is to make sure that you reduce any redirect that you have on your store.

So redirects can happen when, for example, say, you had a product that you used to sell, but you don’t sell it anymore. And so you don’t want to have people going to some blank page. And so you redirected to another product. Maybe it’s a similar product or it’s something completely different. You want to reduce the amount of time that you do that, because websites, once they are doing a lot of redirects, have to think about like, oh, this URL used to be this and now with this.

And so it can impact the page speed and load times of your website. So make sure that you are reducing any type of redirects that you might have and that can help you improve the overall site speed of your store.

Quick Recap

OK, so let’s quickly recap so that you can make sure you grabbed all of these. So the first thing you want to do is make sure that you’re using a really good Shopify theme that is structured right.

I recommend getting your Shopify themes directly from Shopify or an authorized Shopify development theme, development business or company.

Then you want to make sure that your theme is properly coded, whether you are getting an off the shelf theme or you are working with a studio to build you a custom from scratch theme and just really having great conversation and communication around how your theme is to be coded for your store.

You also want to look at how many apps that you’re using, making sure that you’re only using the necessary apps that you need to effectively run your store if you don’t need any of the apps that you are no longer actively using.

Just make sure that you properly uninstall them according to the developer’s instructions. If you have questions about how to do that, reach out to developers.

They should be able to give you the instructions on how to properly do that.

The next thing is you want to look at your images, making sure that once you upload your images that they are optimized for your site, compress them down without reducing the quality.

And I will link some additional resources on tools that you can use in the show notes of this episode. So check that out and then also optimize your videos. Work with your videographer to make sure that you’re getting optimized videos that don’t affect the quality. So that your visitors can really see the views of your product.

So this is great. If you’re hosting the videos on your website and not using third parties like Vimeo or Wistia or anything like that.

And then also, if you’re going to have any redirects, make sure you reduce the amount of redirects that you have on your site so that your website doesn’t have to think about, oh, my gosh, that doesn’t exist.

Let me redirect them to this URL and that should help you increase or improve the page speed of your store or the site speed of your store.

And then also check out that resource that I mentioned earlier. GTmetrix so you can see how quickly your store is loading. 

I’d love to hear your thoughts on today’s topic. So do me a favor and leave a comment below with your feedback or questions!

karen-founder-tmc 3

Thank you for listening! I'm Karen the founder + strategist/Shopify expert behind The May Creative. I help growing luxury brand owners craft a premium eCommerce website experience through Shopify. So they can scale their business. Stay for a while and check out the other episodes below. Read the blog and check out the signature service.

Karen

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