The time it takes for a storefront to load in a customer's browser is critical. Delays not only frustrate customers, but they also affect a store's search engine optimization (SEO) health and ranking. Fortunately, there are common culprits behind performance issues and actionable changes that can improve page speed.
Performance tests are completed using a number of online tools, such as PageSpeed Insights and Pingdom. These are useful, but not entirely accurate in their results and recommendations. Gauging a page's speed is challenging since there are many ways customers will access your store (internet speed, device, etc.).
For example, mobile device scores are often determined by testing with a 3G connection, however this would not apply to customers in areas that have 4G coverage.
Confirm the theme version is up-to-date
It is important to update your theme regularly for many reasons, and one of these reasons is page speed. Speed-improving changes are often included in new releases, but also the older code structures may not be optimized with recent platform changes. Conflicts between older theme versions and new platform features can be resolved by updating to the latest available version.
Compare demo results
A reliable way to identify potential page speed issues in the theme is to compare the results from your speed test to a second test done with one of our demos. The demos are examples of the theme without app integrations or modifications to the theme files, so they can serve as a reference for unmodified themes.
Access the demos
- Empire Supply
- Atlantic Modern
- Grid Bright
- Pacific Warm
- Startup Home
- Launch Bold
- Editions Light
- Tailor Cotton
Use the Network tab in the Inspector
Identifying what exactly is pressing the brakes on your site speed can be challenging, but browsers often include a Network tool that can monitor the activity involved in loading a page.
The main categories to look for are Time and Waterfall. The Time column displays the milliseconds or seconds taken to fully load a particular script. The Waterfall column lists the loading sequence of the scripts.
Use the Time column to find any scripts that are above one second. Click on the script to reveal more information about it. If there are any familiar names or titles, compare these to added customizations or apps in your store.
Examine your Apps dashboard
In your Shopify admin, go to Apps to view the installed apps in your store. Apps often rely on added scripts, which can delay a page's loading. This delay is compounded with every additional app, so it is worthwhile to assess which apps are being used and which can be discarded.
Removed apps still displaying in the Network tab
Apps removed from the Apps dashboard may not fully remove the app from the theme. Leftover code changes may still affect page speed, so reach out to the app's developers for full uninstallation instructions.