by William Smith

One of those very first things to think about when setting up your Shopify store is what theme to use. Of course, you want something beautiful, fitting and functional for your products, be it dropshipping electronics, selling your handmade pottery or cute little baby clothes. One sometimes overlooked aspect is just how quick your store will load.

Why does store speed matter?

There are a couple of reasons why a fast loading Shopify store is important for your business. First up, it matters for your SEO. Google and other search engines use page loading times as a ranking factor: better loading times means better placement in search results. For an overall guide to how to get started there, check out our Shopify SEO beginners guide.

Secondly, research suggests that a faster store leads to improved conversions. Having a responsive, professional store with fast loading images and optimized code gives your (potential) customers a nice user experience that translates into more purchases. And more purchases is what we’re all looking for at the end of the day.

Free Shopify Themes — A Speed Assessment

We assessed Shopify’s curated collection of free themes, 10 in total, and tested their default setups in terms of products and front page images. What follows is a brief summary of each theme, its key features and how it performs speed-wise according to gtmetrix.com, a popular online speed assessment tool. You can always run your current store through their tests and see how you compare. Please keep in mind that adding content and apps will have an effect on speed metrics and that this test was carried out using the default demo stores representing each theme.

Brooklyn


themes.shopify.com/themes/brooklyn

“Tailor-made for modern apparel stores”

75% Positive reviews

2 Styles included (Classic and Playful)

Pagespeed score: A / 95%

Yslow score: B / 81%

Fully loaded time: 2.5s

 

 

Simple


themes.shopify.com/themes/simple

“A clean and minimal theme, perfect for showcasing products”

73% Positive reviews

2 Styles included (Light and Beauty)

Pagespeed score: A / 95%

Yslow score: B / 81%

Fully loaded time: 2.1s

 

Minimal


themes.shopify.com/themes/minimal

“A simple, clean design that keeps the focus on your products”

88% Positive reviews

3 Styles included (Vintage, Fashion, and Modern)

Pagespeed score: A / 95%

Yslow score: D/ 69%

Fully loaded time: 2.8s

  

Supply


https://themes.shopify.com/themes/supply

“Easily showcase and filter large inventories”

66% Positive reviews

2 Styles included (Blue and Light)

Pagespeed score: B / 88%

Yslow score: B / 85%

Fully loaded time: 1.7s

 

 

Boundless


themes.shopify.com/themes/boundless

“A minimalist theme that puts your photography front and center”

65% Positive reviews

2 Styles included (Black & white and Vibrant)

Pagespeed score: A / 94%

Yslow score: B / 83%

Fully loaded time: 1.4s

 

Venture


themes.shopify.com/themes/venture

“Ideal for stores with a large number of products”

48% Positive reviews

2 Styles included (Snowboards, Outdoors, and Boxing)

Pagespeed score: B / 83%

Yslow score: B / 85%

Fully loaded time: 2.8s

 

Narrative


themes.shopify.com/themes/narrative

“Designed for brand and product storytelling”

70% Positive reviews

3 Styles included (Warm, Light, and Cold)

Pagespeed score: B / 83%

Yslow score: B / 82%

Fully loaded time: 2.5s

 

Pop


themes.shopify.com/themes/pop

“A clean and minimal theme, perfect for showcasing products”

91% Positive reviews

2 Styles included (Bone and Toy)

Pagespeed score: A / 92%

Yslow score: B / 80%

Fully loaded time: 2.1s

 

Debut


themes.shopify.com/themes/debut

“Designed to beautifully showcase your brand and products”

47% Positive reviews

2 Styles included (Default and Light)

Pagespeed score: B / 85%

Yslow score: B / 83%

Fully loaded time: 2.0s

 

Jumpstart


themes.shopify.com/themes/jumpstart

“Designed for your crowdfunding campaign”

36% Positive reviews

Pagespeed score: A / 95%

Yslow score: B / 86%

Fully loaded time: 3.2s

 

 

 

So, in conclusion, the basic free Shopify themes are quite well optimized out of the box. Where significant speed differences do occur, they are mainly a reflection of design choices (more, larger images, for example.) So, it's a good idea to think of exactly what you DO need to run your store effectively during the theme selection process. 

We'd love to dig even deeper into theme speed comparison in the future so please don't hesitate to let us know if this was useful or if there are any other Shopify speed data that would be interesting to you!

If you’re interested in finding out more about how to optimize the speed of your Shopify store, Plug in Speed offers a complete suite of tools to do exactly that: from image compression to code minification.

 

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