Hey. Scott Austin here.
In this episode, I'm going cover page performance for your Shopify store.
The net of this episode is that you should ignore the Shopify Speed Score and not worry too much about page speed in general. Here's my reasoning.
Let me get started by diving into the Online Store Speed functionality that Shopify recently released into the Shopify Admin. It can be found under Sales Channels > Online Store. Simply put, I highly recommend that store owners ignore this metric. There are a number of reasons why I recommend ignoring it including:
So hopefully, I've convinced you that the Shopify Speed Score is not a useful metric. Let me shift gears now and give you some useful ways that you can measure site performance.
The first metric to look at is your store's conversion rate. Now, conversion rate doesn't directly measure page speed or size. But it does measure your customer's response to your site. If you are adding functionality to your store that negatively impacts the speed score, but your store's conversion rate continues to rise, then speed score be damned, you are doing the right things.
Here's a way to think about it. Let's say you sell cars. Now on your car website, you add one of those visualizers that allows people to choose colors and options and see what the car will look like. Now that configuration app is going to load more slowly than a generic product page. But it provides a much richer shopping experience and will improve the conversion rate. In this case, building a slower page actually improves revenue.
And its also important to note, that page speed is more important on your landing pages than it is on the customer's 3rd or 4th pageview in the session. A fast landing page let's the customer know that've landed on a live, functioning site. If you do have pages in your shopping experience that are slower like the car configurator, don't use them as landing pages. And also consider adding a loading graphic, which helps the customer understand that something is happening and they'll just need to wait a moment.
Now this is not to say that page load time will never become an issue. It can. So here's an alternative way to measure page speed. I look a single metric - load time. Note, this is not a score, but the measurement of how many seconds it takes to load a page. The tool I use for this is Pingdom, which I'll link to in the show notes. Unfortunately, Pingdom also provides a grade. I'm going to encourage you to ignore that. Don't think about page speed as something you continuously tweak. Think about it more as a pass/fail. If you pass, great, move on. There are other things that you can work on in your business that will provide a better ROI. So what is passing for load time. I say anything that is 3 seconds or less is passing.
So let's say you are trouble shooting your page that takes 5 seconds to load. If the page size is under 5MB and there's less than 200 requests, then the most likely contributor to the issue is a poor performing app. One common issue is that a single file can take a long time to load. This happens when that file is not stored on a Shopify server and that other server is just slow to respond. Here's how you can check for that. In Chrome, open the DevTools using the F12 key or Control-Shift-I. Then go to the Network tab at the top. Then refresh the web page. You'll see each asset for the page show in a list with a bunch of data about them. Watch the Waterfall column. If you see a row with a relatively longer bar than the other rows, that file may be the culprit. Determine what is calling that file, is it an asset you added. Or from an app?
So let me summarize my recommendations on how to approach page speed for your Shopify store:
That's it on this topic. Thanks for listening.