This article will focus on the importance of download speed. Is speed really important? And is it worth spending so much time improving PageSpeed Insights score?
You've probably read articles about the importance of speed. And almost every article that deals with the impact of speed refers to Google data. This huge corporation sets the standards for web pages. Since it is in their best interest that the sites load quickly. Google benefits from showing fast and convenient sites. Therefore, they will continue to conduct research proving the importance of download speed.
And we, like you, have to follow Google's standards. Bring them to life. Shopify even implemented Google Lighthouse in the "Online Store" section to clearly show what the current rating is at the moment. This assessment will constantly annoy your eyes until you yourself begin to be interested in this topic. Then you will not understand how you will become obsessed with this rating.
The reality is that it is not necessary to raise this assessment to the absolute. It is necessary to definitely improve the rating if it is too low, but it is also necessary to stop when necessary. In this article, we wrote about how to improve the score and the sacrifices you will have to make to improve the same score. And these sacrifices are not always justified. That is, by chasing the score, you can miss or delete really important resources. It's not worth it.
Let's make the web faster - this was the beginning of the download speed story in 2009. It was a Google initiative.
Browsing the web should be as fast as turning the pages of a magazine to enable the next generation of rich web applications. - Larry Page
"Low download speed is a negative ranking factor in Google" - so we were afraid of Google. But in fact, it turned out that the download speed indicator affects the output of less than 1% of Google search results.
This is confirmed by Google itself in its official blog. It also confirms that chasing too high a download speed doesn't make sense.
WP Faster: "Download speed is not one of the top eight indicators of site performance."
Many web developers who are engaged in site optimization, focus not on speed, but on a comfortable user experience. Google web performance engineer Ilya Grigorik also confirms this: "Load time is a poor performance metric. Modern websites need to be designed to deliver high-quality progressive rendering".
User Interface Engineering: "If users complain about the download speed, then in fact the problem is different."
This is the unexpected conclusion that the researchers from the site User Interface Engineering came to. Experts have found that there is no correlation between the actual download speed of the website and the way it is perceived by users. As it turned out, if the site doesn't meet their needs, if they can't find what they're looking for on it, they will perceive the session as a waste of time. And the download speed will seem slower to them than it actually is.
There are a lot of quite popular sites that do not meet the requirements of Google. We made a special measurement via PageSpeed to show it clearly. Low ratings did not affect their ranking in any way. Of course, you should not compare them with your store. We used this as an example to show that speed is not always an important indicator.
Is download speed really that important?
Answer: Yes and No at the same time.
Each site user perceives speed differently. For someone, the time of full loading is important. Someone will just be happy if the content is rendered quickly. And someone will not care about the download speed, because for him, the information provided by the site is a priority. Such visitors are unlikely to stop the long loading of the site.
If you are interested in our opinion, then we believe that the download speed is the fast rendering of content with a quick response. So that the user can interact quickly. It is worth noting that fast rendering creates a feeling of fast loading of the site. And don't get too hung up on the full download speed. Shopify sites in mobile devices load on average in 10s. This is because applications and various 3rd party resources will be installed, which will add 200-500ms, or even more time to the mainstream. Therefore, it will be necessary to carefully monitor these resources.
Speed is an important indicator, but even more important is whether your shop meets the needs of the client. Whether it is comfortable enough to use your store. If the site is quickly rendered and ready to interact, then this creates the best conditions for surfing in your store. If the customer is satisfied, he will not pay attention to the speed. But this does not mean that the shop should not be productive. We need to find a balance.
The conclusion can be made as follows: do the optimization of the store. Get rid of everything superfluous, so that there is no garbage. Pay more attention to the mobile version. Improve your PageSpeed score, but don't cling to that score. User comfort is more than just download speed.