Improving Your Shopify Store's Page Load Time

Illustration courtesy icons8
February 8, 2019


Almost daily it seems someone assumes their entire business is on fire because they ran a page load test on GTMatrix, WebSpeedTest or Pingdom.

I beg you to take a deep breath and relax. You're about to find out something amazing... regularly scores an F (today it's a C-), is scoring a D, and the largest brands on Shopify (Kylie Cosmetics and FashionNova) are both scoring an E.

These are some of the highest-earning, most-visited websites in internet history. They're not doing too hot on the page speed test, yet they see millions of orders annually.

Don't beat yourself up over a low score. We can all do better! And with data centers expected to consume 33% of global electricity by 2025, optimizing your store means you're doing your part in striving for lean code that reduces your carbon footprint.

Discovering what is slowing your page load time will likely save you money each month too!

What's slowing down your Shopify store?
1. Apps
Shopify -- bless their Canadian hearts -- is in the business of helping you sell. You pay them a monthly fee, they charge transaction fees, and they earn revenue on Apps that you install from the Shopify App Store.

Shopify has good reason to push apps to merchants. They solve complex business problems, extend the platform, and generally keep the party going.

A major pain point can happen when merchants binge-install or lose track of which apps are totally necessary to their business systems.

Even installing and uninstalling apps can have unintended ramifications and continue slowing down your site even after apps are uninstalled.

For more reading, checkout this case study.

2. Carousels & Sliders
Pre-built themes almost always include a big juicy image slider or carousel.

Often these sliders can be slow and dependent on external libraries which can dramatically delay page load time.

Do we need these carousels in 2019? Probably not. Can we better utilize the most important shopping display for your storefront? Absolutely.

Think freely here about segmentation and personalization...

3. Resource Requests
This one ties into #1. Apps make a ton of network requests and ideally your theme should have 1 CSS file and 1 Javascript file.

This is when having a developer comes in handy for analyzing your theme's network requests. If you don't work with one already, check out my Shopify Theme Audit.

On a budget and want to do it yourself? Here's a great starting point.

4. Oversized Images
This is the low-hanging fruit. Big images will slow your roll and dramatically increase your page size and page load speed. A good goal is to keep each image under 50kb (max ~ 70kb for large images).

Shopify utilizes a CDN (content delivery network), and they do basic image optimization for you, but you've really got to be mindful not to upload non-optimized images if you're looking for a fast site.

Need a Senior Shopify Developer to look at your theme?