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23th
Aug

Essential indexes in speed optimisation every Shopify merchants needs to know

By Jane Pham

Fast web speed is one of the crucial elements that leads to success in the E-commerce world. However, speed optimisation is not really an easy task. In order to optimise your website, there are several important indexes that every store owner needs to know. What are those essential indexes? Let’s find out with HappyPoints in the article below.

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As a website’s loading speed is related directly to the user’s experience, web speed is the key to success in the E-commerce world. 

Since today’s customers are impatient, they are likely to exit your website if it takes too long to load. The longer you make your customers wait, the more frustrated and angry they feel. According to Mrs Hong Ta, co-founder of HappyPoints with 10+ years of experience, most users are willing to wait for only about 3 to 5 seconds before moving to another website. 

Because the speed of one website can influence your customers’ buying experience, the role of speed optimisation is undeniably crucial. Knowing the significance of a fast website loading speed, there are many speed optimisation service providers. So what do customers expect from a speed optimisation service provider? Let’s find out with HappyPoints below!            

Speed affects user experience directly

1. When do you need to speed up your site?

Increased bounce rate

Obviously, customers don’t like waiting. They lose patience and become annoyed if they have to wait for a website to load. A second may seem tiny, but in terms of web performance, it can make a huge difference in decreasing the bounce rate. 

“The ideal website loading speed is about 2-3 seconds”

According to a blog published on Section.io, with the average loading time of 2 seconds, the bounce rate is remaining low with more than 9%. As the speed goes up by 5 more seconds, the bounce rate increases significantly to 32.3%. It would be ideal if the loading speed of a website is about 2-3 seconds. Anything beyond 4 seconds might be intolerable for the customers. Therefore, if the speed of your website is not optimised, the bounce rate is likely to continue increasing. This may lead to harmful consequences such as lower conversion rate and little revenue. 

Speed influences the bounce rate significantly

Similarly, speed optimisation in mobile devices is also important for reducing the bounce rate. As reported by a research conducted by Google, 70% of the analyzed websites took almost 7 seconds for the content above the fold to be fully loaded. It also took more than 10 seconds for the visual and content below the fold to load. This slowness absolutely results in an increased bounce rate. 

Google’s research on speed optimisation in mobile devices

Low revenue 

It’s clear that speed means sales. Bad web performance can lead to a drop in revenue. Mrs Hong Ta also said that 1% of revenue will be lost for every 100ms delay in website loading time. In addition, since the customers hate waiting, they won’t hesitate to abandon the shopping cart if the transaction process is too slow. The conversion rate, as well as the revenue,  will be reduced significantly. 

According to a blog on machmetrics.com, nearly 80% of customers feel dissatisfied because of slow speed. They report that they do not buy from any site that has bad web performance. The blog also stated that only 1-second delay will lead to a 7% drop in conversion rate. 

“80% of customers feel dissatisfied because of the slow speed

Web performance impacts, according to dareboost.com

How site speed influences shopping cart abandonment rate

Ineffective SEO 

Web loading time also affects the website ranking with the search engine. This may influence your website’s SEO if the speed is slow. Since the bounce rate is high due to slow site speed, your site will be perceived as low value by Google algorithm. Besides, if your website takes too much time to respond, the bot will manage to index a limited number of page views, affecting badly the chance of your site to get a higher rank.

Moreover, there are also several different factors that influence site speed. For example, large files and images are key elements leading to bad website performance. The larger the images and files, the slower the site speed. In addition, HTML and JavaScript also affect speed. A website with many requests can have adverse effects on the site speed as well. With a lot of complex coding and modifications, optimising speed is not an easy task for store owners. Therefore, there will be a great demand for speed optimise services. 

2. Essential things to do before hiring a speed optimise service.

First of all, you should identify factors that affect your web speed. There are also several important indexes that you need to pay great attention to improving. How to identify these factors and what improvements does your store need? Use Tools!

HappyPoints will help you to select the 3 most effective and popular tools that make speed optimisation task less difficult. These tools not only allow you to identify elements that influence your web but also suggest a few improvements to make it run faster. Let’s check out below!

Check speed by tools 

Before you hire an expert that helps you to optimise your web’s speed, it is necessary for you to check your web performance using free tools. There are several primary tools that store owners can use for site speed checking.

Google Speed Insights

Google speed insights tool for checking website performance

This free tool provided by Google is one of the most popular tools for site speed checking. Google’s Pagespeed insights will measure a website’s performance on both mobile and desktop devices. It gives you the score for your web performance and provides suggestions for speed improvement. When users require analysis on one website, PageSpeed Insights will give them different index related to the performance of that website. The very first index that appears is the speed score. This score is based on a scale of 100, with the purpose of providing users with overall information about how well their websites function. The speed score is calculated based on the LightHouse API system. Each speed range is illustrated in different colours. From 0-49 (slow) is in red, 50-89 (average) is orange and 90-100(fast) is green. After displaying the speed score, Google PageSpeed Insights provides the reasons why your website gets that score. It also recommends what to do to improve your web performance. In general, this is an excellent free tool for checking your site speed. 

Speed score and each score range

Suggestions for improving the site speed

GTmetrix

GTmetrix tool

If you are wondering why your site speed is slow, this tool is for you. GTmetrix will analyse your website and give you a detailed report of your site’s performance score and recommendations to improve it. This tool can get your web’s page load time, total page size and total requests. It helps you to track your performance by providing 3 graphs and statistics regarding page load time, page size & request count, page speed and Yslow scores. GTmetrix will test your website on a schedule and keep track of how it is doing constantly. When your site is slow, it also provides notifications and alerts so you can know what happened and come up with solutions as soon as possible. Therefore, monitoring your website with GTmetrix is really effective. 

Summarized report by GTmetrix

WebPageTest

WebPageTest tool

This tool is another free one that allows you to analyse your website performance. It helps to record the loading speed of each file and index on your site. You can easily identify what factors slow down your site speed and how to fix the problems. This tool also gives you a full report of all the information related to site speed. Store owners can refer to the report to keep track of their web performance. They can also export the report and download it for the purpose of later reference. 

 

Performance results of WebPageTest

Find out more about important indexes

It is necessary to check important indexes before you hire a speed optimisation service. Based on the results of Google’s PageSpeed Insights, there are several important indexes that store owners should explore carefully.

Important indexes

First contentful paint (FCP)

This index measures the time from navigation to the time when users see the first content of a website. This is an important milestone for users because it provides feedback that the page is actually loading. The faster the FCP, the more likely the customers stay longer on your site. According to Google’s PageSpeed Insights, there are 3 time measurement levels, as follows:

  • Fast: Time FCP mobile < 1.6s and desktop < 1s
  • Average: Time FCP mobile < 3.0s and desktop < 2.1s
  • Slow: Time FCP mobile > 3.0s and desktop > 2.1s

In general, it is a time when users see a “satisfactory” content displayed on a website. Something different from a blank page. It can be anything from the first frame, logo, colour, text,… this is one of the most important indexes that store owners should pay great attention to optimising it.

First Input Delay (FID)

FID measures the time from when users first interacted with your website to the time the browser is actually responding to that interaction. The interaction might include clicking on the link, on the button or a JavaScript-powered control. As customers try to interact, they will feel annoyed and frustrated when nothing happens. That is why FID is another important index that impacts directly the user experience.  

In general, FID occurs because the main thread is busy doing something else. It is dealing with other requests, so it cannot respond to the users yet. A primary reason for this is the browser is busy processing a large JavaScript file loaded by your app. During the time when the main thread is busy, there will likely be a delay between when the click happens and when the main thread is able to respond.

First input delay

First meaningful paint (FMP)

FMP measures the time when a website’s primary content appeared on the screen. The primary content will depend on different pages. 

For example, if it is a product page, the first meaningful paint requires the images to be visible. For the blog section, the FMP should be the blog’s headline and above-the-fold text. The only page header, navigation bar or icons are not first meaningful paint. 

As FMP displays the primary content of a website, the users certainly want it to appear as soon as possible. Therefore, the faster the first meaningful paint, the more satisfied users may feel. Optimising this index will improve the customers experience significantly. 

Time to Interactive(TTI)

This index measures the time when a website becomes interactive. TTI highlights the time when the main thread is idle for a number of seconds. As the main thread is not busy dealing with anything else, users can interact with a website easily. 

If store owners want to optimise their site speed, optimising TTI is an important task. Since most users are impatient, they hate waiting too long until they can interact with a site. Even when the website appears to be ready, the visitors try to interact with it but nothing happens. This can create frustration, leading to a higher bounce rate for your website. Therefore, TTI is another important index that can affect site speed significantly.

3. What to expect from a speed optimise service provider?

Commitment and enthusiasm

The very first thing that customers expect is the commitment and enthusiasm that come from a speed optimise service provider. When service providers take the case from customers, they must commit their time and effort to make their service trustworthy. In addition, they should also guarantee to make the customers’ site lighter and safer. If the service providers fail to do so, they should refund their customers. Besides, during the working process, the customers will be very satisfied if the service providers express enthusiasm. If the customers see that you are happy to help them, they are more likely to use your service again. As a speed optimise service provider, you need to commit your time and effort to increase Google’s score for your customers’ website. Customers really need experts that can give them useful consultation regarding web performance.

Technical skills and knowledge

It is obvious that the customers often come to a service provider who acquires in-depth knowledge about the technical aspect related to optimising site speed. When it comes to speed optimisation, there are a lot of technical factors that affect the performance of a website. 

According to Mrs Hong Ta of HappyPoints, there are 4 primary elements that influence site speed, which are images, CSS files, javascript and DOM (HTML). Regarding images, the store owners often use large and high-quality images for their website to look eye-catching and attractive. Optimizing images is one of the most crucial tasks to improve web performance. Besides, a speed optimise service provider needs to fully understand how CSS and Javascript work in order to minify them. In fact, javascript is the main factor that affects the site speed and is the most complicated one to fix. Therefore, having a certain amount of knowledge related to the technical aspect is required. In addition, the service provider needs to know how to remove unnecessary codes and apps in order to make the site speed faster.

E-commerce platforms understanding

As each platform has its own advantages and limitations, it is necessary for a speed to optimise service provider to have an understanding of E-commerce platforms. By doing so, the service provider can give the customers advice related to how to fix their web performance problems. 

For example, Shopify is one of the most dominant E-commerce platforms nowadays. Many websites are built based on Shopify foundation. As a speed optimisation service provider, knowledge related to how Shopify functions are demanded. The service providers must know what Shopify gives for customers and what limitations it has. Besides, the ability to present solutions regarding apps is also necessary. Since apps bring about a lot of benefits for your Shopify store, it also slows down your site speed.  Installing various unnecessary apps will lengthen the website loading time. Even when Shopify store owners have already deactivated unused apps, there are still remained codes in the server. How to remove and optimise apps on websites is a commonly asked question that any speed optimise service provider should know the answers to. 

Overall, the importance of speed optimisation is obvious. It helps to increase revenue and conversion rate, as well as reducing the bounce rate. Because of the significance of speed optimisation, there is plenty of speed optimise service providers nowadays. In this blog article, we have mentioned the qualifications that a typical speed optimisation service provider should possess. Based on these qualifications, HappyPoints will deliver high-quality service regarding web performance for you and it is totally FREE. Visit our free speed optimisation service here!

 

 

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