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Does site speed score really matter? Which is the fastest Shopify theme in 2021?

Recently, Shopify has integrated Google Speed Insight into the admin which can be said as a useful feature and it helps store owners to have an easier view of the speed of the website. There are various comments surrounding this feature, especially the scores shown in the Shopify admin panel. As a theme developer, we recognize that this is a very important issue for us as well as on the client side. Let’s take a look at this under the theme developer’s perspective and our advice around it.

Finding the fastest Shopify themes in 2021 is not easy as themes which are continually optimized, and Shopify itself keeps upgrading its infrastructure. But to understand the essence of page load speed and how to optimize it, any Shopify theme you use will help your store get the fastest loading speeds.

Basically, the speed of your website affects significantly user experience, increases conversion rates and it is good for SEO. So what affects page load speed? Here are the top three factors that affect page load speed, and we’ll keep updating others here.

  1. Apps
  2. Theme features
  3. Images

All of the above factors affect page load speed, there are several things you will need to “trade-off” for speed, then you should consider whether these trade-offs are worthful or not.

A word of caution

There’s one thing I think I will be writing at the end of the post. But I changed this idea. That is changing your thoughts on page load speed which I think this is the most important matter in the post.

If you consider highly on page load as measured by the score, this is inaccurate. Please don’t focus too much on the score, because it just reflects technical speed. There are a lot of customers who annoyed and complaint about low scores, then I always try to explain that rate of actual speed is more important than the score. Take a look at the below breakdown of the download speeds of famous stores around the world.

Store URLMobile scroreDesktop score
https://www.amazon.com/7182
https://www.etsy.com/5394
https://www.mvmt.com/1232
https://www.ebay.com/5067
https://www.fashionnova.com/1136
https://www.apple.com/4679
Speed comparison table of famous websites

You can see that there are some websites having mid and low scores, especially big companies like Amazon having a huge advantage in infrastructure so they can be technically optimal in spite of the stop rate is at average (orange Google speed score). It can be seen that at large companies, speed score is not a priority, just make sure that the load speed is really fast. Now try to analyze the optimal factors for an online store using Shopify.

So we can say, website speed is really important but it does not mean that Google speed score should be more concern.

What can we do to optimize the page load speed?

1. Apps

This is one of the most influential factors, because in the process of setting up an online store, store owners have a habit which is installing a lot of Shopify apps. The Shopify app store is also very diversified with a thousands of apps, overwhelming them and every app wants to use. They are also thinking that all apps will be compatible with the theme.

Shopify apps often add a lot of resources to the Shopify theme, even after uninstalling, the resources remain and it causes the store to load quite slowly. Install only the applications that are really necessary and before you install them, evaluate whether it is suitable or not?

Third-party application resources are the leading cause of increased page load times.

Some themes have integrated some features to help users reduce the number of Shopify app installed in the store. If your Shopify theme already supports those features, then you can use it right away because it also saves you a lot of money during the business development process.

2. Theme features

ThemeForest themes are designed to target a different audience than the themes on Shopify theme store. I will have a separate article explaining the differences between these two types of themes but basically, the themes on ThemeForest are packed with features and they save you a ton of money for using the Shopify apps (I’m sure Shopify app owners don’t like this, jokingly). But there will be a problem, you can’t ask for a powerful theme, 40 demos support and tons of features to save you money but have page load speed as fast as free Shopify theme like Debut. This is quite illogical and in fact, you have to trade it, and the solution is to thoroughly understand the theme you are using, turn off all the features you do not need. This is very important as it will help the theme load a lot faster.

Some features you can disable to optimize speed

For example, with the Kalles theme, you can turn off unnecessary features like top bar or countdown…

You can see them in the General Setting: https://kalles-docs.the4.co/theme-settings/general

As a theme developer, I frankly admit that if you turn on all the features of Kalles it will slow down a bit and that’s undeniable. The feature-rich Shopify theme means a lot of code is written in it, and Shopify will have to read, process, and execute those snippets in order to make the feature work. We’re trying to maximize daily Kalles speed by finding more optimal algorithms that take fewer resources to process, which is a tough job but to be honest, it’s very interesting.

3. Images

Photos and videos are an important factor that affects page loading speed, but it is handled quite easily by doing so

  • Select themes with optimized code during the image loading process like a lazy load.
  • Use a Shopify app that supports image compression.

For the purposes of this article, we have a very good Shopify app that we would recommend you to use. It helps you optimize on-page SEO and compress your store’s photos at zero cost. It helps pre-load your pages and optimize image sizes to bring more wow customer experiences.

AVADA SEO Suite – The most recommend app from The4

Of the three above points, choosing an optimal theme and turning off unused features of the theme is the most important. Developing a Shopify theme isn’t that difficult, but getting an optimal Shopify theme, boosting conversion rates, serious customer behaviour research, and the time investment is difficult. We are working every day to optimize KallesGeckoElessi with the fastest page-load speeds in the market while maintaining user-support features. This sounds very ridiculous, but we believe that the speed will be approximately Debut Shopify theme if it is optimized in all aspects.

Of course, the above result is the theme in ideal conditions, ie not having any third-party apps installed on the store yet but I believe that after installing more apps, it will not slow down much. That is the strength of The4, in addition to providing high- quality products, we also strive to improve it every day, every hour to bring real value to customers.

So please don’t pay attention to the scores, as long as you see your store loads fast … that’s enough, and if you have to trade speed for optimization, cost, good user experience then consider, I think it’s worth for the trade- off.

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