What is Performance?
Performance, also known as “web performance”, “site speed” or “page speed” refers to how fast your customers feel your online store is. Customers love fast websites and will leave any shop that takes longer than what feels normal to load.
How to build a fast online store?
Building a fast online store is easy. What isn’t easy is keeping the online store fast.
Businesses usually start with a nice clean storefront and a well-structured codebase. Over time, as they iterate, in-house and third-party developers continue to add custom code, site administrators add more content and apps load more custom snippets and assets. Some people leave the organization, new people join and context is lost in the process. This is normal but it also makes it difficult to keep the online store well-optimized.
How to keep your online store fast?
To keep your website loading times low and meet your customers expectations, you need to consider the following:
- Understand the impact of site speed on your business
- Understand your current performance metrics
- Get buy-in from your wider organization to invest in performance
- Adopt a strategy to develop with performance in mind
Understand the impact of site speed on your business
There are many articles on the Internet explaining how reducing site speed by milliseconds brought Amazon or another large retailer additional “x” billion dollars of revenue. And while these claims are likely true, it may not necessarily justify why your business should spend a six figure on a new Shopify theme or on migrating from a traditional storefront to a headless Hydrogen one.
Instead, you need to understand the current state of your performance, as well as the impact of saving “x” seconds on your conversion rate and revenue.
Understand your current performance metrics
A number of tools can help with this. Some are free and provide high-level overview of the website performance. Other more advanced tools may require signing up for a paid plan but can offer detailed metrics and analytical data.
In terms of measuring performance, most tools include two types of data:
Synthetic testing involves a web browser emulation to mimic what a customer would experience on different combinations of devices, browsers, locations.
Real-user data collects data from actual visitors on your website.
Get buy-in from your wider organization to invest in performance
Once you have a clear picture of the impact of site speed on your business, as well as the current state of your performance metrics, it’s crucial to communicate the importance of keeping your website fast with everyone in the organization. This is because every time a change is made to the storefront, it can contribute positively or negatively to the load times. Performance should be considered in the decision making process of all internal teams if their work modify the online store in one way or another.
Adopt a strategy to develop with performance in mind
Many businesses think they care deeply about performance and yet they only sporadically dedicate time and attention to it, for example when planning a major redesign or a migration to a new platform or framework.
Performance is not something that is done once. It needs to be continously monitored and examined. This requires:
- Tracking and reviewing key performance metrics
- Considering the impact on speed when shipping new changes to the storefront
- Educating staff members on perfromance best practices
What is Core Web Vitals?
Core Web Vitals or CWV is a set of metrics introduced by Google to help website owners understand and monitor how their site performs over time. CWV are part of a wider group of Web Vitals.
There are 3 Core Web Vital metrics:
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)
- First Input Delay (FID)
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)