Shopify Speed Optimization: Tips to Speed Up Your Shopify Store

Shopify Speed Optimization: Tips to Speed Up Your Shopify Store
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Shopify speed optimization is a sure way to improve your store’s performance and quality.

Don’t overlook it! 

As you improve your Shopify speed test result, you will unlock conversion rate and organic traffic growth, exceptional user experience and satisfaction.

We compiled 9 actionable tips on how to speed up Shopify website as well as bonus technical store speed solutions. Some tips can become quick wins and require almost no effort on your part, others include coding and might call for help from professional developers.

Let’s tackle this together, shall we?

Why does Shopify speed score matter?

Shopify speed score is a direct representation of how well Google and, most importantly, your customers experience your store.

How does that work?

  • Shopify store speed report is directly based on Google Lighthouse metrics, meaning it gives you a good idea where you website speed stands in the eyes of Google.
  • 60% of Shopify sales are made on mobile devices, so the reports are run on mobile versions of your store’s pages. So, the score is a direct indication of how well your Shopify store is optimized for mobile.
  • High Shopify speed score means that all customers, no matter the device or internet connection quality, can access your store in a reasonable timeframe.
  • If your store loads fast enough - you won't lose potential customers, which means you have a better chance of generating Shopify sales.

Remember that Shopify speed score gets recalculated daily, so it might not immediately reflect the performance improvements you make.

Main reasons for a slow Shopify website

Now let’s do a little troubleshooting and find out what we’re getting ourselves into.

Here are the main reasons responsible for the majority of slow Shopify websites:

  • Many unoptimized images and videos. We cannot stress this enough - if you don’t take care of your image size and amount of videos you use, your store speed will suffer vastly.
  • Unnecessary or unused apps. Every single app has an impact on your store speed, so you have to be mindful of the ones you’re not using and uninstall them.
  • Heavy Shopify themes and fonts. Loading your website becomes a slow task every time the user’s browser has to tackle a lot of complex code or custom fonts.

In the next section we will focus on fixing these and other Shopify speed issues with actionable solutions and examples.

How to speed up your Shopify store?

Shopify store speed is one of the technical Shopify SEO aspects you should take care of.

As we want to focus on what’s in your control, here is a rundown list of tips to speed up Shopify site.

  1. Choose a lightweight and fast theme
  2. Compress images
  3. Choose system fonts
  4. Use Shopify apps effectively
  5. Choose Hero layout over carousels and sliders
  6. Fix redirects and broken links
  7. Lazy load images below the fold
  8. Host videos externally
  9. Replace GIFs with static images

As a bonus, we’ll also look into technical site speed issues as well as what Shopify takes care of for you.

1. Choose a lightweight and fast theme

When in doubt about how to prioritize when choosing a Shopify theme, prioritize website speed. To speed up your store, you want to choose a Shopify theme that is highly optimized. However, many Shopify themes contain code, CSS files or Javascript that are simply dead weight. 

We recommend going with Booster, our number one option in the fastest Shopify themes list. It’s custom-coded from scratch to be the optimal solution for Shopify stores interested in top-notch site speed.

Looking for more options? Look over guide to best-converting Shopify themes - every one of them stands out as exceptionally fast.

2. Optimize Shopify image size

Good-looking images do justice to your products. And yet, images are among the main reasons for slow Shopify websites.

So how do you ensure your customers are looking at the best presentation of your product without sacrificing website speed?

Shopify does a big part for you by serving WebP images to all shoppers whenever their browsers support it. However, Shopify image optimization should still be at the forefront of your effort to improve store performance. 

Get image dimensions right with appropriate Shopify image sizes, optimize file size with image compression and enjoy a fast store with stunning visuals.

Do you want to compress images without sacrificing their quality? TinyIMG is your one-stop-shop for all Shopify image optimization

Get TinyIMG now

3. Choose system fonts

Sometimes Shopify merchants love to get creative with custom-designed fonts. However, the truth is they can hinder website load times because browsers will need to download them.

System fonts, also known as web safe fonts, are pre-installed on most computers so they can be displayed without downloading them. And there are plenty of them, so you can get just as creative!

Explore the system font list, pick main and backup options that go well with your brand from our Shopify font guide and speed up Shopify site in minutes.

4. Use Shopify apps effectively

You need a Shopify app to optimize SEO, implement push notification, set up email marketing campaigns, manage inventory, run discounts, view reports… The list is never-ending.

Don’t fall into the trap of getting a specialized app for every aspect of your store that needs improvement. Choose Shopify apps that are multifunctional, empower your store and solve problems on many levels, like the ones on our handpicked best Shopify apps list.

Not only will fewer Shopify apps make it easier for you to manage your store, it will benefit the speed of the website. How?

Every app you install adds scripts to your website. Those scripts are necessary to run the app’s features, however, they come at a performance cost. Fewer apps mean fewer scripts to load, aim for that.

Install TinyIMG and determine which app loads on which page using script control

Try TinyIMG today

5. Choose Hero layout over carousels and sliders

If your homage boasts numerous features, chances are you display a slider or a carousel. While initially it might seem like an attractive solution to showcase numerous products and save space on the homepage, the reality is somewhat different.

This is why you should avoid carousels and sliders:

  • Sliders and carousels have low click-through rates
  • Transitions and numerous images increase loading times
  • They cause issues with responsive mobile design

Choose static Hero image layout instead. One high-resolution image with a dedicated CTA instead of a slider will speed up the load times of your homepage and might even convert better.

A big part of any shopper’s journey is browsing through your product pages, and nothing ruins that customer experience as much as landing on 404 pages. Plus, broken links, redirects (and especially redirect loops) significantly delay the load time of the page.

If you removed multiple pages from your website but didn’t set up redirects or remove links to the old pages, chances are your store needs some work. 

This is how you fix broken links and redirects:

  1. Find store pages that link to a broken URL or a redirected page
  2. Remove those links or replace them with like to live pages
  3. Enjoy improved user experience and store speed

Let us find all broken links for you. Get TinyIMG and keep your store speed at max level!

Find broken links now

7. Lazy load images below the fold

If you sense that there is more you could be doing to optimize your store’s visuals, you’re right. On top of image size compression, you can introduce Shopify lazy loading to speed up Shopify site.

To put it simply, lazy loading ensures your shoppers are looking only at what they want to see at that moment and getting to it as quickly as possible.

A popular way to implement lazy loading is to load very low-quality images below the fold. As the person scrolls, the image gets replaced with its higher-quality counterpart.

8. Host videos externally

Are you fond of showcasing your product from every single angle? If so, you must have a fair share of videos on your Shopify store.

Putting every single video directly on your website is detrimental to your store speed because essentially the customers are loading videos directly from your website server.

Do your store a favor and host all of your Shopify product videos externally. YouTube or any alternative video hosting platform, such as Vimeo, will do just great. Upload your video there, embed it on your Shopify store page, and enjoy a dynamic Shopify store that loads fast.

Tip: Don’t go for the obvious option. YouTube runs a lot of ads and actively collects user data, all of which causes page speed disadvantages. Make an informed decision whether you want to prioritize brand over efficiency.

9. Replace GIFs with static images

One last Shopify speed optimization tip related to visuals - avoid GIFs. GIFs might seem like an innocent and fun addition to a product or informational page for improved customer experience. And indeed, they can be responsible for landing page conversions and in general give a more dynamic appearance to any page.

However, if not optimized correctly, GIFs can be detrimental for store speed. You have several options here:

  • Compress GIFs using lossy compression (yes, lossy. GIFs cannot be compressed using lossless compression because they contain graphical data).
  • Convert them to HTML5 or MP4 files.
  • Replace them with static images.

Unless GIFs are an irreplaceable part of your Shopify store’s identity, we highly suggest eliminating them and saving yourself some headache. If you have numerous GIFs across your store, replacing them with static PNG images will bring noticeable Shopify page speed improvements.

Technical improvements for a faster Shopify store

Ready to take on a more technical Shopify speed improvement challenge? 

Implement more nuanced and technical solutions to Shopify speed optimization:

  • Consider using AMP pages. Accelerated Mobile Pages are great to improve mobile usability and load times, but keep in mind that moving an eCommerce website to AMP can be complicated and your store design will take a hit.
  • Minify use of Javascript and other assets. Have professional developers revise your Javascript, CSS and HTML and remove unnecessary parts of the code.
  • Check for unnecessary page elements. Monitor on-page activity to see if users are scrolling down to see images/videos at the bottom of the page or whether they are using "Quick preview" function. If not, remove them.
  • Reduce the number of HTTP requests. Every single file on your website is an HTTP request. Remove unnecessary elements, especially images, to avoid excessive amounts of HTTP requests. 
  • Eliminate render-blocking JavaScript and CSS. Prioritize script loading order correctly to ensure HTML is loaded before JavaScript and CSS files.
  • Use Google Tag Manager. Every app you install adds tags to track actions that happen on your Shopify store. Those tags really add up and can slow down your store. Migrating tracking code to Google Tag Manager will optimize the process.

Shopify site speed factors you can't control

Let’s establish that you can’t fix everything. Here are a few factors that affect Shopify store speed you have no control over:

  • Your customer’s device and internet connection. Sadly, there isn’t much you can do about that.
  • CDN (Content Delivery Network). Thankfully, Shopify uses CDN powered by Fastly and it’s exceptional. You can check the status of Shopify's CDN on the Fastly status page
  • Local and server-side cache. 

You can look at it as downsides. You can also see this as just three more reasons to do your best when it comes to Shopify store optimization tasks you can do.

Final thoughts on improving Shopify speed

Optimizing Shopify store speed should be among your priority tasks. Most of it comes down to optimizing visuals, fixing redirects and using Shopify apps effectively, all of which you can accomplish using TinyIMG.

Implement the tips we provided and we assure you that you will see improvements in your Shopify store speed.

Frequently asked questions

Anything above 50 is considered a good Shopify speed score, but for a truly optimized Shopify website you should aim for 70 and above.

You can improve Shopify store speed by optimizing images and third-party app usage with TinyIMG app. If you wish to go the extra mile, look into more technical solutions, such as minifying JavaScript or reducing the HTTP requests.

If your Shopify store is running slow, chances are you picked a heavy theme, have a lot of unused apps or unoptimized images. Use our article to troubleshoot and find solutions.

If your desktop version is well-optimized, Shopify takes care of store speed on mobile very well. If you want to go an extra step, you can consider AMP pages, but implementing them on an eCommerce store comes with challenges.

No, Shopify Plus doesn’t have any features or benefits that would additionally speed up Shopify stores. However, remember that Shopify in general is a very optimized and fast eCommerce platform.

About the author
Vita Klimaite
Vita believes that every great product must be supported by an even better marketing strategy. Armed with SEO and Content Marketing experience, Vita is dedicated to helping website and eCommerce store owners unlock the power of search engines and scale their businesses. A big fan of remote work, she is always on the road, so you can also hear some exciting travel stories from her.