Customers appreciate a structured and fast website, as slow performance can severely hinder the shopping experience. And Google has also recently declared store performance and thus loading speed to be a ranking factor for usability reasons. So if your online store is too slow, this can have serious consequences. Not only will the patience of your customers decrease and bounce rates increase as a result, but your online store will also move further down in Google's search results.
On the other hand, if you optimize your page speed, chances are you'll become more attractive to customers and search engines, thereby increasing your sales. To this end, Shopify recently introduced its Speed Report, which allows you to test and optimize your website speed. In the article, we'll show you how.
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Website Testing Definition: What is a Pagespeed Test?
Website Pagespeed Testing, also referred to as page load speed testing, refers to the process of evaluating and measuring the loading time and performance of a website. The main goal of pagespeed testing is to analyze the speed and efficiency of the website to ensure that it loads quickly and smoothly to provide an optimal user experience.
Website Pagespeed Testing evaluates various factors, including:
Load time: the time it takes for a web page to fully load.
Server response time: the time it takes for the server to respond to a request
Image and file compression: the efficiency of compressing images and other resources to reduce load times
Caching: the use of caching techniques to speed up repeated page requests
Minimizing HTTP requests: reducing the number of HTTP requests to optimize load times
Pagespeed testing is an important part of website optimization and helps ensure that a website loads quickly and efficiently, which improves the user experience and leads to higher visitor satisfaction. Fast loading time is also a crucial factor for search engine ranking, as search engines like Google prefer fast loading websites and position them better in search results. Through regular pagespeed testing, website operators can identify potential bottlenecks and optimization opportunities to make their website the best it can be.
Loading speed of a website: How important is it?
If it takes quite a long time for a website to load completely, this not only frustrates the customers, but also has a negative impact on the conversion rate and search results. Since potential buyers usually leave the store quickly if they have to wait too long, the loading time of the website is also an important ranking factor. The SEO optimization of a store can therefore be ideal, if the page speed is too slow, the website will still be rated worse by Google and Co.
Reading tip: All eyes on you –Click here for the SEO-Guide for Shopify-Stores.
In addition, the importance of mobile search has also increased the relevance of loading time. Smartphones have long been used not only for shopping on the couch at home, but also at the bus stop or at work. Here, only quite poor mobile connections are usually available. This makes an already slow online store even slower. Shopping has to be faster, especially when time is short on the road. It is therefore essential to optimize the store for mobile use.
On the other hand, speed should not always be the top priority. If, for example, your store offers functions that are very popular with customers but have a slight impact on speed, you should accept the loss of speed instead of doing without important tools.
Pagespeed Test Tools: How to test your website speed
There are various tools to test the speed of your website. If you have a Shopify store, it is best to use the Shopify speed report. In addition, the free tools from Google such as Pagespeed Insights and the Lighthouse plug-in are also well suited.
Shopify Speed Report
The speed report of your Shopify store is based on various tests of your most visited pages and Google Lighthouse speed values. We'll explain the report in more detail in the next chapter.
Google PageSpeed Insights
This tool measures the most important e-commerce KPIs for page speed, calculates the overall value and provides helpful tips for improvement. Pagespeed Insights also differentiates between desktop and mobile values. This allows you to see exactly where you can still optimize. The mobile version of a page is becoming increasingly important, as other factors such as the quality of the mobile network also influence the website loading time. Of course, you cannot actively improve this, but it is important that your website is available quickly.
Google Test My Site
With Test My Site from Google, you can see how the speed of your website has developed over the last few months. Another useful function is the comparison of up to ten domains. Especially if you perform a competitive analysis anyway, you can get more information about your competition here.
Uptrends is a free pagespeed test tool developed by the Uptrends company of the same name. With this tool, website owners can check and analyze the speed and performance of their websites to ensure that they load quickly and efficiently.
The Pagespeed Test tool provides detailed information about how fast a website loads and how long it takes for the various elements of the page to be fully displayed. It also allows identifying areas that can be optimized to reduce loading times and improve the user experience.
Reading tip: Whether selling online in Germany or around the world, a mobile-optimized online store is the be-all and end-all these days. Here you can find out everything you need to know about mobile shopping.
Pingdom website speed test
The Pingdom Website Speed Test is a popular online tool used by website owners to check the loading times of their websites and analyze performance. Pingdom is a valuable tool for evaluating website performance, identifying bottlenecks and improving the user experience.
Lighthouse Chrome Plug-in
Lighthouse is an open source tool for improving the quality of websites. It was developed by Google and is integrated into the developer tools of Google Chrome. Lighthouse provides comprehensive analytics and reports on website performance, accessibility, Progressive Web App (PWA) capabilities, best practices and SEO optimization.
What is the Shopify speed report?
Shopify's speed reports are tightly integrated with Google Lighthouse. Shopify performs a website speed test on your homepage, as well as your most visited category and product pages, and then combines the Google Lighthouse speed score of each page to give you an overall score. You can check your store's speed at any time in Shopify, including how fast your store is compared to similar online stores.
Reading tip: Do you also want to finally get into e-commerce, but are not sure yet which type of store system is the right choice for you? Then click here to learn how online retailers can choose between on-premise and cloud-based e-commerce platforms.
How is your speed score calculated on Shopify?
The speed score of your online store can reach up to 100 points. Before you take immediate action to improve your score, you should first understand how this value is calculated and how it works for your Shopify store.
Google Lighthouse measures a variety of performance metrics to determine how fast your site feels to most visitors. So your average will fluctuate over time. Also, don't expect a perfect score of 100, especially if you're adding select features or elements to your site to enhance the customer experience (such as images).
Remember, any numerical scores are only to better understand how you score in the eyes of your customers. The results you see in Shopify are based on the following principle: Shopify measures the performance of the top three pages because they contribute the most to your customer experience. It also provides information on how your store compares to similar businesses.
Reading tip: In this post, we reveal 13 ways to increase your average order value (AOV) with Shopify Plus.
How to measure and display your loading speed with Shopify
If you want to see the reports about the speed of your Shopify store, you must have a staff permission for reports. If this is the case, then follow these steps to view your Shopify loading speed:
In your Shopify admin panel, go to Stats > Reports.
In the Behavior section, click Online Store Speed.
The Shopify speed report will open
Reading tip: In this article we tell you how to build multichannel strategy with Shopify.
Website Speed Optimization: Our Tips
There are several factors that can affect the speed of your website. Some of them you can influence and thus optimize your page speed, others unfortunately not.
Factors that you cannot influence
Device, network, and location of the customer: Loading speed can vary depending on where someone is accessing your online store from and what devices they are using. So, for example, if a person generally has a slow Internet connection, there's nothing you can do about the fact that your websites take longer to load.
Your providers infrastructure: You also have limited or no control over your providers infrastructure. Limited if, for example, your hosting provider limits the bandwidth due to outdated servers or similar. Because in this case, you can switch to another provider. Shopify, for example, uses fast, global servers to offer you the best bandwidth at all times.
Reading tip: Freelancer vs. Agency. In this article, we have summarized the respective advantages and give you tips on when you should opt for an agency and when rather for a freelancer.
Factors you can influence: Here's how you can improve your Shopify speed
You can optimize your page speed with the following tips . However, keep in mind that usability comes first in all campaigns. So always weigh your store's performance and speed and ask yourself the following questions:
How can I help my customers make buying decisions in my store?
Which products and features at the top of the store can increase conversion rates?
Which other elements and functions can also be loaded later when scrolling?
Reading tip: Find out what exactly is meant by the term conversion rate some of the factors that influence it, and tips that you can use to optimize your conversions.
If you are clear about these points, you can choose from the following measures those that fit your needs and requirements:
1. Remove unused apps: As a first step, you should review all installed apps and consider whether there are any apps among them that you don't use at all. Before removing an app, you should always consider how much the app will improve your customers' shopping experience or simplify your workflow. When removing, remember to remove the app's code from your design as well. If you need help with this, feel free to contact us.
2. Optimize your theme: investigate if your theme contains codes that drastically slow down your store. Also, remove redundant codes and reduce the theme's file size.
3. Do away with performance-intensive features: Use a heatmap tool to see how often certain features of your website are used. Disable the ones that are not used or used only slightly.
4. Simplify your code: There are several ways to write your code. Some of them are more effective than others. Try to simplify complex operations to reduce code rendering time.
5. Delete unnecessary files: Images, especially videos, take up storage space. Go through your data store and delete any unused files that affect loading times.
6. Reduce the size of very large files: Image and video files in the online store should be compressed. For example, make sure to output images in 72 dpi and use an appropriate format.
7. Use system fonts: Avoid using special fonts. Any fonts that are not on the visitor's device must be downloaded first.
9. Avoid redirect chains: You should also pay attention to redirect chains, as a series of multiple redirects can severely affect the loading speed. Depending on how often you change domains, you may end up with many redirects
Expamle: From website.de/blog to blog.website.de and back to website.de/blog
Redirect chains can be bypassed by using a link to the current link. To do this, backlinks to each previous URL should be retained and the URL should point directly to the current link.
10. Page speed optimization through content delivery network (CDN): Content delivery networks (CDN) can be used to load website elements such as scripts, images and CSS via HTTP requests without the need for a dedicated server. This method has the advantage that fewer requests are sent to the company's own server. In addition, the CDN works regionally, i.e. if a customer opens the elements from Germany, they are also loaded in Germany, not in the USA, for example. Regional access improves loading speed. When choosing a CDN provider, whether for smaller or larger web projects, you have a variety of options, for example, the Google Cloud CDN is very popular.
Reading tip: Do you already know these 12 subpages that every e-commerce website needs?
Every optimization step mentioned above pays off, because the faster your store is, the more sales you can generate. If only because Google rewards your efforts with better rankings. So what are you waiting for? Optimize your pagespeed and give your customers a smooth customer journey and the best possible shopping experience!
If you need assistance with pagespeed optimization, contact us and we'll be happy to help. Contact us now
Frequently asked questions about Shopify website speed test.
How can I test the page speed?
There are some free tools from Google which are suitable to test the speed of your website. Shopify customers can also take a closer look at the Shopify speed report.
How fast should a website be?
Basically, a website should load in less than two seconds so as not to harm the user experience. Because otherwise, there is a risk that customers will bounce. If a website loads faster than 1 second, the pagespeed is very good.
How can I test the speed in the Shopify admin area?
In the admin area, click on Statistics > Reports.
Then in the Behavior section click on Onlineshop Speed.
This will open the Shopify speed report.
How can I test my website speed on Google?
You can use the Google PageSpeed Test tool (also known as Google PageSpeed Insights) by entering your URL and clicking Analyze. PageSpeed Insights will then show you various values and offer direct solutions to the problems.
What influences the loading time of a website?
The pagespeed of a website depends on various factors. One crucial aspect is the size of the website and the associated amount of data that has to be transferred. The latency of the web server is also important and refers to the delay time without data being transferred. Additionally, proper caching plays a significant role in calculating pagespeed.
How do I make my website faster?
To speed up your website and improve loading times, there are several actions you can take:
Minimize HTTP requests
Content Delivery Network (CDN)
Ensure sufficient server performance
Check your website for errors
Simplify the structure of the website
What does website testing mean?
Website speed tests are used to measure and evaluate the loading times and performance of a website. They help to find out how fast or slow a website loads on different devices and in different regions. Speed tests provide important information about a website's performance, which is vital for user experience and search engine rankings.
How can I test how my website looks on other devices?
To check how your website looks on other devices, you have several methods at your disposal:
Browser developer tools
Emulators and testing tools
How can I test whether my website has cookies?
Use browser developer tools
Use browser extensions, e.g. EditThisCookie
Use online tools, e.g. Cookiebot or Cookie-checker
Check the source code
How can I test links from my website?
To test the links on your website, you can take various approaches, such as using the Google Search Console or similar online tools.
Why is it important that my site loads quickly?
The speed of a website is a crucial factor for the user experience and has an impact on various aspects, including customer satisfaction, SEO ranking and conversion rate.
Which tools can I use to perform a website speed test?
In addition to Google Pagespeed Insights, you can use tools such as the Shopify Speed Report, Google Test My Site or the Chrome plugin Lighthouse.