Dealing With The “Broken Toolset” Cause For Slow Shopify Stores
There are a number of different causes for a slow Shopify website. One of the most common ones is “broken toolset” — the apps and themes that have code that isn’t working in a performant way. It may add the functionality needed by your visitors, but it slows down your website.
What Could You Do Yourself About Your “Broken Toolset”
Update your theme — Even if you don’t know that’s the cause of your store’s slow down, updating your theme is always a good idea. With every release, theme developers not only aim to add new functionality, but they also fix issues submitted by customers. Some of these improvements may positively impact the speed of your store.
Or get a faster theme — How do you determine the new one is faster than your current one? Test with a synthetic benchmark (GTMetrix or Page Speed Insights) the demo of your existing theme and the demo of the theme you want to get. If the difference is more than 20% in favor of the new theme, switching may help. I say “may”, because you need to be absolutely sure there is a speed issue with your existing theme, not the apps you have on your store.
Get an alternative app — With at least 2 different apps for everything, you always have a choice on the Shopify App Store. You can measure the speed score of your website before and after and determine if the new app worsens it or not.
As you can see, what you can do alone for fixing “broken” theme features and apps for your store is limited. The synthetic benchmarks are not a reliable way to check the performance of your store, so they should be taken with a grain of salt. Determining which component contributes to the slow down is a process that requires development experience.
What You May Need A Speed Optimization Expert To Help You With
Theme updates — If you have modified your theme before, updating to a new version may not go without hiccups. For that you need someone who understands the code conflict and can resolve it, transferring the modifications to the new version of the theme.
Leftover zombie code — Something I’ve seen store owners without development background struggle with is identifying if an app has left code that is still loading on your website.
Choosing apps — A Shopify optimization expert can tell you with higher certainty how does this new app impacts your store and can usually propose alternative solutions. Not all functionality that you get from apps requires a dedicated app. Implementing the same feature in your theme instead can save you money from app subscriptions and speed up your store, as the code is no longer hosted on a different server and could be further optimized.