How do I improve page speed and performance issues?

The time it takes for a storefront to load in a customer's browser is critical. Delays not only frustrate customers, but they also affect a store's search engine optimization (SEO) health and ranking. Fortunately, there are common culprits behind performance issues and actionable changes that can improve page speed.

Update to the latest version, minimize your apps, fine-tune your images, simplify above-the-fold content, decrease dynamic homepage displays and tie up loose ends with your links.

Update to the latest version

Support agents may sound like broken records when it comes to updating themes, but for good reason. Updating to the latest version ensures that you are working with the most refined version of the theme. Whether the latest version includes speed-specific enhancements or not, keeping up with the latest release is the best foundation for accelerating page speed.

Minimize your apps

Adding an app offered in the BigCommerce App Store is easier than ever before. Removing an app is not as simple a task, however, and leftover code changes can impact a store's performance. It is always advised to weigh the benefits and costs of an app before adding it to your dashboard. 

Fine-tune your images

Images are generally the most information heavy item on a page. Resizing images and making sure the images have a low byte size will increase the speed of the page. BigCommerce utilizes Responsive Images to help offload some of this work by automatically optimizing images. 

See this our article on optimizing your images for more details on how to adjust images.

Simplify above-the-fold content

'Above-the-fold' refers to the area immediately visible upon page load. This often includes the header (with logo, navigation, etc.) and content added for the page's introduction. Many themes include sophisticated features for this area, most notably slideshows, but with more features come more delay in the page's loading time.

Consider simplifying your above-the-fold content by disabling your slideshow and replacing it with other image-based sections. We have included on certain themes the Storyboard mode. This distributes your hero images and messages throughout the home page, breaking up content and giving more visibility to each individual item. Alternatively, limiting the slideshow to a single slide can have a positive impact on page speed. 

Some themes include lazy loading options, which load the content within view first to balance content and speed. Positioning fewer features to load in this initial viewpoint will increase page speed.

Decrease dynamic homepage displays

BigCommerce allows you to control how many featured, new, and top selling items on the home page. Decreasing the number to around 5 or fewer dynamic products will help alleviate the page load time. Product previews are dynamically generated.

Tie up loose ends with your links

Avoid broken links (leading nowhere) and redirects (leading to one page, then another) as much as possible. These can impact a store's performance and customer experience.

Test your store's links manually to confirm their accuracy. You can also use tools like Online Broken Link Checker for this task.

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