Why is Shopify so Slow?!
I’m David, I’m the founder of Deathground and I also run a handful of e-commerce businesses. These are all in restricted advertising spaces, that means all we can do to win traffic is to get better at SEO. Now, a great part of ranking is of course page performance.
If your page performance is poor – eg: a snail’s pace to load, you’re going to hurt in the rankings.
Google said as much, first in 2010 and again in 2018:
The Search team announced speed would be a ranking signal for desktop searches in 2010 and as of this month (July 2018), page speed will be a ranking factor for mobile searches too.
It’s safe to say then, I am obsessed with page speed. Literally.
It will probably be on my epitath – I don’t like slow sites if Google doesn’t like them. I could carry on drilling this into the blog to explain why it bothers me, but you get the point. I run e-commerce businesses and I need to rank. Therefore we need to focus on fast.
You probably are here reading this guide on how to speed up your Shopify store with the same angst in mind. Everyday hitting Google Page Speed Insights asking yourself ‘Why is Shopify so slow?!’
Well, I promised you a solution and that’s what I am going to give you.
How much it has cost me to Speed up my Shopify store?
This is the toll a slow Shopify site takes on a business owner:
- It has taken the best part of 6 years of double length working weeks (90-100 hours).
- Countless new theme development and purchases to find faster ones.
- Hundreds of disgruntled messages on the Shopify app store to ask for code to be changed.
- Lots of apps ending in the deletion pile as I sacrificed the UX for speed.
- Developers working in relay to find ways to compress code
- Learning CSS and JS to some minor degree to carry on those tasks
- Shopify speed optimisation apps that never lived up to their promise (except one*)
- Aborted attempts to migrate to Magento
- Aborted attempts to migrate to WordPress
- AMP configuration
- AMP dis-configuration
- AMP re-configuration
- Adding Pagebuilders
- Removing Pagebuilders
- Repeating that process again 3 more times
It goes on. The list is almost endless, you’re probably the same if you are here asking how to speed up your Shopify site.
Have you ever had that message back from an app developer from the Shopify slow apps store who says:
But our app runs asynchronously…
Every Shopify App Owner Ever
Yes mate, it does, on EVERY BLOODY PAGE!
I never could quite work out why an email marketing app needed to have it’s scripts called on the homepage (Klaviyo), or why a delivery timer app needed to run on it either. All of this adds up to a burdensome level of script that just slows your Shopify site down.
Only to be met with the suggested Shopify speed optimisation response:
Have you got rid of unused apps?
Every Fiverr Speed Optimisation Freelancer Ever
There comes a stage, when you have a substantial e-commerce business that some apps just can’t leave the roost. Yes we were asking how to speed up a Shopify site, but we aren’t about to get rid of live chat, loyalty apps, review widgets or conversion tools. Some features are a necessity.
Note: If you have a spinning wheel discount app, that CAN go. Same for those who have multiple banners rolling on a loop.
NO ONE – NO ONE – EVER will sit there and wonder what comes up next. You’re just slowing your Shopify site down.
What can you do to speed up your Shopify site?
*Before I do go on, I want to highlight one agency who are good eggs at Shopify Speed Optimisation, SpeedBoostr. They don’t cost the earth and while they can’t move it for you either, they can make a difference.
Also, Stamped Reviews have worked so hard for us to isolate script off of certain pages, and Shop Sheriff AMP, have been tirelessly patient with me. Finally, Virthium feedback rebate reviews have helped massively too.
They represent 4 app companies out of hundreds who just don’t seem to care enough. And no, I wasn’t paid or sponsored by them to say that. Credit, where credit is due.
Back to you – firstly, let’s check the landscape of your site
How do I know if my site is slow?
Everyone thinking ‘How do you speed up your Shopify site’ should know these 3 URLS.
- Okay 2 URLS, no one actually knows the URL for Google Page Speed Insights – Google it
These three sites will tell you what kind of state your Shopify site is in. They will give you an understanding of what the page load speed is, what some obvious technical issues are and the 3rd site will tell you what Google thinks of you.
Let’s be frank, if you want to do well with Google, you want them to like your website. While they won’t speed up your Shopify site, they will give you the roadmap.
So my Shopify store is slow – now what?
Okay you’ve got the news that your site is slower than the average bear. Welcome to the club. In fact don’t lose heart, here is Shopify giant ‘Gymshark’ on Page Insights.
It doesn’t read well – but then they are a global brand where people search out their products and will probably wait a couple of seconds.
Search position to them is probably a little less important. Nonetheless – take heart. Most websites have performance issues. BUT if you are a new business, or an established one trying to get to the next level, wanting to speed up your Shopify site is not only valuable for organic traffic growth – it’s also good for sales conversions.
Pages that load at 2 seconds, convert at nearly twice the rate of those that load in 4
Read our guide on why you’re not getting sales from your online store
If after checking your site on these apps and you can see that for you, Shopify slow loading times are an issue, you’re going to want this super speed optimisation hack. But I am going to suggest a smaller one first.
By the way, there are loads of other Shopify speed optimisation tricks out there, most of which you will already have come across. Converting slider banners into one strong image, compressing files, using Cloudflare CDN to convert images into WebP etc. I am going to assume you have done those.
Do you have a chat app?
Just on the off chance you have seen the value of using a live chat app on your site, you may have noticed that these tools are tremendously heavy on the initial page load. Sometimes, it’s not the size of your page overall that is the problem, it’s the size on first load.
What I mean by this is, how much clutter does Google or Bing have to wade through to get your site loading properly?
Chat apps are massively useful tools for conversion optimisation but carry a performance cost. One trick we have begun to use is to take the app off our site but keep the subscription.
Nearly every chat app has a live chat URL, something we discovered by mistake once when we noticed a chat coming through on what we thought was a defunct app.
This link when embedded into a page object such as a button or anchor text can be set to open a new window off of your site, but still give you the ability to communicate in real-time with your customers.
Granted – it does mean chat triggers can’t be used, but it will take a whole heap of code off of your site and retain a core function. Worth considering. That’s one way how to speed up your Shopify site but it’s not THE way.