Importance Of Speed Optimization For Shopify E-commerce Website

Imagine you have everything ready. Brand strategy set, product line-up set, captivating product images set, your web agency is about to launch your new Shopify E-commerce website. You type the website address with bated breaths, click on the enter key like your life depends on it and then you are waiting and waiting and waiting…..

This could be you if you have not streamlined your Shopify website to improve its performance and get rid of what is holding it back or slowing it down. Now, why is it worth concerning ourselves with the speed optimization of your Shopify E-commerce website? While you will wait forever for your website to load, the world will not.

What is speed optimization?

  • Image Optimization 

It is evident that to sell products on your E-commerce website effectively, you need high-quality images that can grab the customer’s attention. A blurry or pixelated image hinders the appeal and makes your E-commerce business look amateur. On the other hand, it is a disaster if the image fails to load altogether. Therefore, image optimisation is all about creating a balance between the size of an image, meeting the ideal proportion where it is sharp and loads quickly. An image is altered regarding its dimensions, resolutions, and even file type (JPG, PNG, SVG etc.) to curtail the time in final loading. Shopify Experts often replace an image with Javascript or CSS code that functions the same, minus the bloat. 

  • Javascript and CSS

As helpful as these two are, they are sometimes the cause of slowdowns. For example, when Javascript is used to power pop-ups or CSS controls the Shopify website appearance, extra lines of code and script errors also increase the time taken by a website to load. 

  • Redirecting and forwarding   

A landing page or any other content that redirects the viewer to a new page will slow down the Shopify website as it will wait for each new URL to respond. 

  • Content Delivery Networks 

In simple terms, Content Delivery Networks or (CDNs) are cached versions of your E-commerce website, stored in numerous locations around the world. So when a potential lead accesses your Shopify E-commerce website, it will load quicker from their nearest location. 

  • Third-party applications

Generally, E-commerce website owners assume that if they have downloaded any third-party application to integrate with their Shopify website, they assume that it must have been already configured to be optimally efficient. Unfortunately, this is a wrong assumption. Every app one installs leaves a trace of code on the website, and if the code is not speed optimized, it can adversely impact the website’s loading speed. 

Importance of speed for E-commerce websites:-

(1) Ranking 

When we say that the paradigm of E-commerce websites has become a race with cut-throat competition, the Google algorithm has taken it quite literally. In July 2019, the search engine giant deployed website speed as one of the factors determining website ranking on mobile search. It is supported by research that shows 53% of the visitors abandon an E-commerce website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. So for a matter of one extra second, you will experience a 7% lesser conversion rate. The longer your website takes to load, the more your search engine ranking, traffic, return on investment and search engine marketing gets compromised. 

This is piloted by Google’s efforts to develop a faster internet based on consumer demand. Since almost half of the retailer website traffic comes from organic search, Google is the uncontested kingmaker of E-commerce. So when Google changes its algorithm regarding speed, you must listen. 

(2) Competitiveness 

Consequently, websites that do not load swiftly will slide down the ranks, clearing the ground for websites with comparatively faster speed to rise on the ranking ladder, which increases their visibility, traffic, conversion and therefore revenue. According to a study, E-commerce websites observe around a 32.1% increase in organic traffic. Since we have already established that most of the traffic is from organic search, this is a tremendous boost. 

(3) Visibility to new customers 

As fiercely Google guards its search ranking policy. As forthcoming it was with penalizing websites that have slow loading speed, as long as the speed is not optimized, E-commerce websites will not remain on the same pedestal irrespective of how optimized they are otherwise. The first five results are reported to receive 67.6% of all the clicks. Therefore the matter of staying close to the top is pressing. If Google has indexed Shopify E-commerce websites, they must cling to the highest order to preserve the ranking and be continually visible to new customers. 

(4) Keeping the cost of advertisement cheap

Faster websites are awarded a higher quality score, which results in lower costs per click. While digital marketing throttles to new levels and ideas, worldwide advertising spending was projected to grow by 4.6% in 2020. After that, companies that will pay less per click will gain a competitive advantage. 

(5) Keeping up with the standards 

When being met for an extended period becomes standard or norm. When talking about longer load time creating fewer conversions, you might think “longer” is a perceptive term, so how can we make a benchmark from it. You are not wrong. “Longer” is a relative term, and no definite comparison can be drawn upon it. However, new technologies like single-page applications, progressive web pages for E-commerce websites and more enables one to build a website that can load in the blink of an eye, becoming a standard for speed every user expects and every E-commerce website must follow today. 

(6) Brand perception 

In the beginning, when you imagined waiting and waiting for your website to load, it would have been more horrifying than watching a horror movie. Now for a user, it is stressful and annoying too, and it is this point that either makes or breaks your brand image in the user’s eyes. In addition, slow load time generates a loss in terms of visits or purchases, which slowly kills sales and hampers the perception of the existing customer base, who will also eventually be forced to move to other E-commerce websites. 

Therefore, it is conclusive that speed optimisation is an aspect that must be critically emphasized upon for a Shopify E-commerce website. That brings us to the next question we will address in this article

How does speed affect the performance of your Shopify E-commerce website?

(i) Prevent losing customers 

Today, when the world is moving at the pace of an instant, waiting for even 5-7 secs for a website to load is frustrating for an individual. This is supported by the research that shows 40% of the customers tend to abandon a website when it takes longer than 3 seconds to load, and 33% leave if it takes longer than 5 seconds. Therefore, if you optimize the speed of your Shopify E-commerce website, customers would visit more pages and therefore increase their chances of purchase. 

(ii) Preserve or improve your SEO ranking

At this point, we know Google penalizes your SEO ranking as per the speed of your website page both on mobile and desktop. Since the SEO giant relies on delivering results that keep users engaged on the website long. Therefore, you have to minimize the bounce rate of your Shopify E-commerce website so that Google ranks you higher on the SERP. 

(iii) Considering mobile users 

Today, there are 5.29 billion mobile users globally, which only proves that today, most of the masses rely on mobile for most of their work, including making purchases. Therefore, if you do not accustom your website as per the mobile user base, which includes speed optimisation, you will never be able to tap into this ceaseless market. Amateur Shopify developers tend to optimize websites for desktop but optimizing the website as per mobile is an afterthought. However, ensure that is not the case with your Shopify E-commerce website. It will be detrimental to your SEO ranking, and you will lose a pool of markets. 

Therefore, we have sufficiently established how important speed optimization is for your Shopify E-commerce website. Adopting the suitable resorts to optimize the loading speed of your website like removing sliders from your homepage, compressing and reducing images, choosing a fast and responsive theme, integrating AMP (Mobile Accelerated Pages) for your website, fixing broken links and diligently analyzing web page performance, can make your business visible, accessible. You can remarkably thrive on the digital map.