Shopify has become one of the most popular ecommerce software solutions for many online retailers, and customers have come to expect extremely fast load times that create smooth and easy shopping experiences. When everything is running perfectly, you won’t hear anything from online buyers, but if your site is running slowly, it’s likely that you will. Additionally, because customers want fast load times, if your site isn’t optimized they are likely to look elsewhere for their products. If your Shopify website load times are less than optimum, you need to speed things up. There are three easy things you can do to get up to speed. First though, you need to understand why fast load times are so important.
If you have any type of website, optimization is important, but even more so for ecommerce sites because it can directly affect sales. In fact, in a Kissmetrics report, it was found that as many as 40 percent of online shoppers will leave a website that takes longer than three seconds to load. It was also found that the acceptable wait time for a page to load is two seconds. Anything longer than that, and customers describe it as a negative experience. It's a good idea to test your pages to see how quickly they load. Improving load time, even by one second, can make a huge difference to your customers’ experiences and your sales conversions. There are some useful online tools that will test your site speed for you (including mobile friendly tests). Try these:
These tools will allow you to see your site’s performance and the areas for which optimization is recommended. However, those improvements may necessitate a change in code. If you are knowledgeable in coding or hire someone who is, the recommendations will be very helpful. If you are not experienced with coding, don’t despair. There following are three easy fixes that will speed up the load time of your Shopify store, without changing any code.
The images that you display on your Shopify site make up the bulk of each page’s size. As the quality of screens has improved, websites have had to keep up by using images with higher resolutions so that they look appealing on bigger, better screens. Higher resolutions of images have larger file sizes that can negatively impact the speed that pages load, especially on mobile devices like phones and tablets. In those situations, the page may take longer to load the higher resolution pictures when lower resolutions would have worked well with the smaller screens. There are online tools available that will reduce file sizes and compress your images without losing quality (one such tool is ImageOptim). Just remember that you have to optimize your photos before you upload them to Shopify.
Another tool is ImageRecycle, an app that can be integrated with Shopify and will automatically optimizes photos and PDFs on your Shopify website. Once the app is installed, it will compress all new images that you upload as well as your existing photos.
The next thing you can so to speed up your Shopify site is to delete any apps that you have installed but are inactive or unused. Applications can add a lot of extra weight to your website. This may be especially true if you have had your site for an extended period of time, or if you have tried many different apps to find what works best for you. Sometimes those apps create requests while each page is loading – even when you’re not actively using them. Set a reminder to periodically check which apps you have installed and which ones you can get rid of. Every six months or so is a good time frame to inventory your apps.
Another easy fix is to make your website device-friendly. If you have had your Shopify store for a while, you may not have updated it to load quickly when viewed on a mobile device. Shopify offers a selection of responsive themes that will adjust the elements on your website based on the size of the device being used to access it. That means that it will automatically optimize images for the user.
A slow website can negatively impact the customer’s experience, which can prevent them from buying from you, affecting your bottom line. A quick check of your store’s performance will help you determine whether you need to address load times. If you are computer savvy and know coding, you can make adjustments yourself, otherwise use the three tips above and retest to see the difference. If your site is still loading slowly, you may want to invest in hiring a professional to take a look and direct you on how to proceed. It’s an expense that will pay off in the long run.
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