Insights, Web Development

Why You Shouldn’t Worry About Your Shopify Speed Score

Shopify Speed Score Explained

If you’re a Shopify merchant, you already know speed is essential for your online store. You may have an amazing design, great products, and very successful marketing campaigns directing traffic to your website. However, if your visitors try to browse through your store and it takes forever to load, they will eventually lose interest and leave. According to Google, any website should load in 3 seconds or less as any second more will increase the bounce rates. With this in mind, your Shopify speed score is a number out of 100 that uses different performance metrics and measures how fast your website loads to most visitors. With so much at stake, this sole number can make any Shopify merchant start worrying that their store is performing poorly.

And that’s understandable. However, the Shopify Speed Score is a flawed metric and doesn’t give you a self-explanatory number synonymous with a final diagnosis. In fact, just like lab tests, the speed score might be a basis for a diagnosis, but it can also be a reflection of something else.

So let’s dive deeper into what the Shopify Speed Score actually means and why you shouldn’t worry about it.

What is the Shopify Speed Score?

In 2020 Shopify released the site speed feature that indicates how fast your Shopify store loads from the time a user accesses a page on your store to when it fully loads. Your score is a number up to 100 that Google Lighthouse calculates based on the performance of your top three pages and their contribution to customer experience.

You can access the online speed report by following these steps:

  • Go to your Shopify Admin
  • In the left sidebar, select Analytics
  • Open Reports
  • Under Behavior, select Show all
  • Open Online store speed

Here’s How It’s Calculated

Your Shopify speed score is calculated using a weighted average of the Lighthouse performance scores. These scores include the following:

  • Your store’s homepage Lighthouse performance score
  • The product page with the most traffic over the last 7 days
  • Your collection page with the most traffic over the last 7 days

Basically, when you use Shopify’s Online store speed report, you can learn how your store performs compared to your competitors. And this is a very important nuance because the Shopify speed score is not a measurement of your actual loading speed, but rather a reflection of a number of factors, including loading speed. 

What factors can impact your Shopify Speed Score?

There are several things that may be slowing your Shopify store, some of which you can improve:

  • Apps: When your store grows, it’s only natural to add more apps and expand the site’s functionality. However, adding more apps can also slow down your site speed since some Shopify apps need more time to communicate with Shopify’s API or with slower servers.
  • Images: Browsers take more time to load large and poorly optimized images or a huge number of images.
  • Tracking codes: Using a lot of tags to measure conversions might also slow down the page.
  • Coding errors: Coding errors may cause speed issues as it takes longer for a browser to load elements it can’t reach properly.
  • Theme: When you customize a theme, your online store’s speed can also be affected by file sizes. You can disable theme features that you don’t need, use system fonts, and more.

Other factors, that you can’t control, can also impact your score.

What Does your Score Actually Mean?

A higher Shopify Speed Score means that your store is faster for a wide variety of customers who access it, in comparison to other similar stores. Google Lighthouse compares your online store to all types of websites, many of which don’t even offer the same functionality as you.

So don’t panic if you see a lower number than you expected. The lower score doesn’t measure your speed and how fast can user access it. It only shows your store’s performance against other merchant’s stores.

Why the Shopify Speed Score Isn’t an Indicator for Speed?

Shopify speed score is not a measurement of your actual loading speed. It measures a number of factors, including whether or not your online shop follows the best practices. With this in mind, it’s almost impossible to score 100 and in this section, we’ll explain why this shouldn’t bother you.

Shopify is a fast platform

Shopify websites have a fast loading speed due to the reliable infrastructure and optimized software and hardware. This means that even if your store scores lower in comparison to other similar stores, it’s still way faster than the average online store.

For example, a score of 50 is good, as it means your store performs averagely compared to other Shopify stores, and way better than stores that aren’t powered by Shopify.

Even if you score below 10, you’ll still be fine. Most users use decent internet and will be able to open your page within seconds.

Google Lighthouse measures all sites across the internet

Shopify uses Google Lighthouse to measure the speed of all websites, not just the ones with eCommerce functionality. Since the algorithm takes into consideration a much broader range of websites, online stores will naturally score lower due to being much more complex than the average landing page, for example. Even an empty Shopify theme with no custom code and extensions will score won’t score more than 60-70 due to pre-built eCommerce elements.

Speed test tools that were specifically made to measure the speed of Shopify stores will give you consistently higher results. For example, if you go to TestMy StoreSpeed, the Shopify performance analyzer will give you a significantly higher score compared to Google Lighthouse, since it doesn’t consider simple HTML pages in its algorithm.

You can’t sacrifice functionality for speed

Some of the most important apps and features are proven to bring the Speed Score down. For example, essential eCommerce apps such as the Dynamic Checkout Button, Disputes Automation, Split-Partial Payments, Referral program apps, and other features extremely convenient for your customers are considered heavy and can drop your score significantly. After all, those are the features that make Shopify such a powerful platform for eCommerce, to begin with.

And not just these. Google Analytics is also an essential tool that is proven to lower the Shopify speed score, but no store owner should prioritize speed improvement over analytics.

It takes a few days to get an accurate score

According to Shopify, Lighthouse takes a few days to calculate an accurate score. This means, while you improve code, optimize images and remove apps, you’ll need to wait a while to see if your website performs faster.


To Sum Up

When you wish to measure your website speed, you need only one metric: how many seconds does it take to initially and fully load your site? You can get more objective results for that by using online tools such as GTmetrix. If your initial load speed is under 3 seconds, you’re meeting the Internet standards.

Shopify is a fast platform and chances are, your online store performs way above the average compared to all eCommerce websites.

To make sure your Shopify store performs well, try getting rid of old apps that you don’t need, keep your custom code clean, and make sure you always compress your images.

Just don’t sacrifice important features for a score that doesn’t matter that much.


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