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How to Optimise Your Shopify Store for Core Web Vitals

Running a Shopify store is a simple and effective way for businesses to reach a wider audience. That said, there is often heavy competition for the top spot in Google’s search pages, and any shortfall in your Shopify operations can lead to your business plummeting down the SERPs. This is why the performance of your Shopify store is paramount. 

Visitors expect seamless and swift experiences, where every click brings instant results. A crucial factor in achieving this is ensuring your Shopify store meets Google’s Core Web Vitals benchmarks. These metrics, specifically designed to measure the user experience on websites, are critical for both SEO and overall user engagement.

As an official Shopify Expert, we understand the intricacies of Shopify and how to tailor our strategies to maximise your store’s performance. Here, we’ll share the lowdown on how to optimise your Shopify store for Core Web Vitals.

Understanding Core Web Vitals

Core Web Vitals are a set of specific factors that Google considers important in a webpage’s overall user experience. They include:

  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): Measures the loading performance of your website. To provide a good user experience, LCP should occur within 2.5 seconds of when the page first starts loading.
  • Interaction to Next Paint (INP): Measures responsive your page is. A good INP is below 200 milliseconds. INP replaced First Input Delay (FID).
  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): Measures the visual stability of your page and whether your site shifts around as it loads. Pages should maintain a CLS of less than 0.1.

Optimising for Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)

To enhance the loading performance of your Shopify store and ensure that key content displays quickly, our team will use the following strategies:

  1. Optimise Images and Videos: Large media files can significantly slow down your site. Compress images using tools like TinyPNG or JPEG-Optimiser without compromising on quality. Implement responsive images and serve them in modern formats like WebP. For videos, consider lazy loading, so they only load when the user scrolls to them.
  2. Implement Lazy Loading: Lazy loading defers the loading of non-critical resources until they are needed. This can drastically reduce initial load times and improve LCP. Shopify supports lazy loading natively, but additional customisations might be necessary for optimal results.
  3. Utilise a Fast Theme: The theme you choose for your Shopify store has a significant impact on your LCP score. Together, we can select a theme that is well-coded and optimised for speed. Avoid themes with excessive animations or large background images.
  4. Minify CSS and JavaScript: Minification removes unnecessary characters from code, reducing its size and improving load times. Shopify allows you to minify CSS and JavaScript through its admin panel or by using apps like Minifier.
  5. Leverage Browser Caching: Browser caching stores static files so that returning visitors don’t have to download them again. Shopify themes automatically support browser caching, but further customisation can enhance its effectiveness.

Optimising for Interaction to Next Paint (INP)

Enhancing your Shopify store’s INP score is crucial for improving user interactivity and overall performance. At Kia Ora Digital, we specialise in optimising this vital metric through a series of strategic processes:

  • Reducing JavaScript execution time: Heavy JavaScript can delay your site’s response to user interactions. Our experts meticulously identify and remove unnecessary JavaScript files, and defer non-critical scripts to ensure they do not block the main thread, thereby enhancing your store’s responsiveness.
  • Improve server response times: Slow server responses can significantly hinder interactivity. We optimise your site speed to make sure your website can handle your traffic demands and leverage content delivery networks (CDNs) to accelerate global content delivery. This ensures your site remains responsive, no matter where your users are located.
  • Optimise third-party scripts, which are often responsible for sluggish interaction times. Our team evaluates the necessity of each script and removes any redundant ones. As an official Shopify Expert, we have extensive experience in managing these scripts effectively to minimise any negative impact on your store’s performance.
  • Implement code splitting: By dividing your code into smaller, more manageable chunks that load as needed, we reduce initial load times and ensure faster interactivity. We tailor this process to fit the specific requirements of your Shopify store, ensuring optimal performance and a seamless user experience.

Optimising for Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)

This involves several targeted strategies: 

  • Specify dimensions for media: By including width and height attributes for images and videos, we help the browser allocate the correct amount of space while the media loads, effectively preventing unexpected layout shifts that can disrupt the user experience.
  • Ensure fonts load efficiently: Loading fonts improperly can cause text to shift, leading to a jarring experience for users. To mitigate this, we implement the font-display swap in your CSS, ensuring that text remains visible during font loading, thereby minimising layout shifts.
  • Preloading important resources: Preloading essential resources such as fonts and key scripts ensures that they are loaded earlier, which reduces layout shifts during the initial rendering of your page. This technique is especially useful for elements critical to your website’s immediate visual presentation.
  • Avoid inserting content above existing content: Adding new content above existing content or dynamically inserting ads and banners can cause unwanted layout shifts. We ensure that new content is inserted below the fold or in dedicated spaces that do not affect the flow of the existing layout, maintaining a smooth and consistent user experience.

Why Choose Kia Ora Digital?

Optimising your Shopify store for Core Web Vitals is a complex task that requires expertise and precision. At Kia Ora Digital, we have a proven track record of delivering exceptional results as Shopify Experts. Contact us to boost your site performance today.

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