Understanding your PageSpeed / Shopify Speed score
Shopify have introduced a Online Store Speed feature which is initially displayed in the themes area of your store admin. You can also access more in-depth data in the reports area. If you want to read what Shopify says about the store speed feature please start with this article on their help centre site.
Please find below some FAQs about this complex subject.
Is my speed score important?
Yes. As stated in the Shopify article linked above, your online store’s speed can impact the shopping experience of your customers, your conversion rate, and your store's discoverability. A faster loading store is undoubtedly preferably to a slower loading store. Search engines also tend to give ranking preference to faster loading sites.
However it's important to state that some of the highest ranked, most successful stores in the world have relatively low page speed scores. A fast loading store does not necessarily mean a successful store. A relatively slower loading store does not mean you will have an unsuccessful store.
You might need to make some speed tradeoffs to build a user experience that leads to more sales. You could create a store that is a single page of text with no images. This would load incredibly fast but would be a poor user experience and likely result in no sales. It's best to take a holistic approach to page loading speeds.
Is my theme making my store slow?
No. It's too simplistic to say your theme is slowing down your store but it could play a part in the overall picture. Your online store is made up of a huge set of assets, such as theme code, scripts, apps, images, videos, carousels, social media feeds, and analytics. Because Shopify is a 'platform' system a lot of different assets are included in your store's code from different parties - such as theme developers, app developers and Shopify itself.
All themes in the Shopify theme store must be optimized and go through rigorous testing to make sure they are as fast as possible. This is an ongoing process and we work hard to improve loading times with each release of our themes. Unfortunately, there's nothing we can do, in the short term, to speed up your store.
In our experience the assets that really impact store speed are Shopify apps. Please read this article for in-depth study on how installing only a few apps can drastically decrease a Google Page Speed score https://speedboostr.com/how-apps-affect-load-speed/
Does this mean you should uninstall all of your apps? Not necessarily. As stated above and in the Shopify documentation 'you might need to make some speed tradeoffs to build a user experience that leads to more sales.'
If you have an app that brings you many conversions but is slow loading, it makes sense to work with the app developer to see if they have plans to improve the loading speed. It doesn't make sense to uninstall a profitable app. The same is true of an app that is essential to other parts of your business like the customization of products. It's probably a good rule of thumb to run your store with as few apps installed as possible, if speed is your priority.
What can I do to improve my score?
We have summarized a list of best practices you can follow to improve your performance. You will find them in the dedicated article here: https://support.maestrooo.com/article/102-best-practices-for-optimal-performance
What are good scores?
It is hard to say what is a good score, as the score will be heavily impacted by the apps, and the content. For instance, if you have a page with a lot of images, videos, high number of sections... it will, of course, have a lower score than a black and white blog post page.
However, as a rule of thumb, here are scores that are good enough to never cause any issue. Ultimately, you should also be pragmatic and try your store by yourself: if it feels fast, then it is most likely fast enough for everybody and not cause any issue. Google and search engines will only penalize stores that are abnormally slow.
If you are using apps: a score between 20-30 on mobile and between 30-40 on desktop is a good score (the more apps you are using, the lower your score will be ; it is not unusual to have a score in the range of 5-10 if you are using a very high number of apps.
If you are not using any apps: a score between 50-70 on mobile and between 45-70 on desktop is a good score.
In conclusion, your page loading speed is important and you should address it. However, it's not the only thing to be concerned with when running your store. It's easy to become too focused in improving your score only to sacrifice time, money and attention that could be used to build your business in other ways.