With more than 50% of all users browsing online using mobile devices, Google started prioritizing site set up for mobile experiences some time ago. However, it wasn’t until July 1st, 2019, that the search giant officially announced that it would be prioritizing mobile-first indexing for all new websites.
At first glance, it looks like a controversial move. After all, mobile devices have a number of key restrictions:
However, mobile device proliferation is how the industry is moving, with more ecommerce shoppers preferring to use their mobile devices when browsing online stores.
Google’s recent move means that it wants your website to be as efficient and effective as your desktop service. As a result, you’ll need to eliminate separate URLs for your mobile stores, as well as no more dynamic serving or apps. All of these changes cater to a uniform user experience where everyone gets a win-win situation.
When you optimize your strategy for mobile platforms first, it makes for an optimized and responsive design that enhances desktop performance as well. Using systems like PageSpeed Magento will improve your user’s experience, driving conversion rates higher.
Read more: Top Magento challenges and dealing with them
What are the most vital pages for the Magento PageSpeed optimization strategy? Focus on improving the pages in your sales funnel first. You can expect every customer journey to include:
These pages should have your undivided attention when it comes to mobile optimization. But what exact steps do we need to speed up the store? We’ve created a short and hands-on mobile performance optimization guide to get you started.
Looking at desktop and mobile platforms, we find that they both require the same process to increase speed.
Mobile users often lack the necessary bandwidth to quickly and reliably load everything your store has to offer. Some of them live in the countryside, others browse the web in crowded places where there’s not enough capability to serve everyone, others yet sport really old phones that can’t cope well with modern technology. Still, all of these people can convert to paying customers if you play your cards right.
And this is exactly why this battle for speed created a lot of interesting solutions in this area. All of them aim to reduce the amount of data users have to download and display on their devices. The dream is to let users see the store in less than one second, as Google recently stated. But is it possible? Let’s see what data reduction tricks are available for Magento stores.
We are all for saving money but hosting is not the right place to do that. Not for Magento 2, anyways. Magento demands a lot of resources and good knowledge of the server environment to work at the top of its performance capabilities. Our advice here is to forget cheap solutions out there and go straight for the middle.
Provide a sturdy hardware foundation. Working with Magento, it’s paramount to understand that not all optimizations in speed will come from coding efforts. There’s a whole layer of stuff that serves as a foundation on which everything else rests. We are talking about the hardware: actual servers and their supporting infrastructure that provide the necessary bandwidth and machine resources that make up the powerhouse of your store capabilities.
Cheaping out on the actual server hardware is not a good idea in Magento’s case. Magento is an extremely power-hungry platform that does not feel well in the constrictions of a budget server. The primary bottleneck is almost always the CPU followed closely by the RAM amount and storage device speed.
This is what you should aim for when we are talking about foot traffic for a medium store:
Fast servers that aren’t configured right are a waste of money. One more important thing to keep in mind. Don’t hope to find a good solution with a hosting provider who has no expertise in Magento hosting specifically.
You will need a team who have built and maintained Magento-optimized servers – because good server configuration will become the foundation of all your later optimization efforts. In addition to that, an experienced team will know how to help you and where to look if something goes terribly wrong.
However, if all your optimization strategies are similar, then what makes them different? Mobile and desktop platforms aren’t identical in any way visually, with the primary differences being how your customers interact with your e-commerce store pages, and the experience they expect when browsing pages.
Even though mobile devices are trending toward more substantial screens, they still offer significantly less screen real estate than the smallest desktop monitors. There are both advantages and disadvantages involved in screen size limitations on mobile devices like tablets and cellphones.
You can optimize for speed on mobile devices by deferring content from loading immediately by avoiding displaying plenty of content on the first screen. Optimizing for portrait-mode browsing using smaller banners and product images is an ideal method for saving on bandwidth resources.
Other methods you can use to optimize for mobile include:
This strategy might not be the most cost-effective solution for the optimization of your mobile performance. Most users will open less than 10 apps per day, and they don’t install any new apps. Therefore, what makes you think that they’ll download and install your new app?
Unless you’re a store on the level of Amazon or Alibaba, then it’s advisable to optimize for both mobile and desktop users.
And even these giants work hard to offer users as many opportunities to increase user engagement and improve the overall user experience.
In case of Alibaba, the PWA adoption helped them increase customer conversions 76% across all browsers and grow total user base by 14 to 30% (iOS and Android numbers respectively).
In most cases, mobile browsers are powerful enough to provide the same user experience as a native app, but with better affordability and a higher adoption rate.
The majority of Magento optimizations will work on both desktop and mobile store versions. It’s important to note that there is very little difference in the fundamentals of mobile and PC performance.
Alibaba PWA almost completely mimics the desktop store. The team believes in creating the same user experience is the optimal way to success.
Any well-optimized online store will work efficiently and effectively on both of these platforms. However, you’ll see better performance on a desktop due to it being more of a capable device with higher processing power.
Make sure that you audit your mobile and desktop scores, accounting for any discrepancies. Take a look through Google’s suggestions and focus on making changes that have the most significant impact on creating your score.
Key areas to focus on include your contentful paint, path metrics, and interactive times. It’s vital to remember that Google PageSpeed Insights isn’t a tool for optimizing speed; it only offers you tips and suggestions for enhancing any performance issues on the frontend.
Check your analytics for sudden drops in user engagement such as abandoned carts. Reductions in your engagement rates are a clear sign that there are user and performance issues on your pages.
The cart and checkout pages are a common weak point across many mobile stores. Some of the common problems associated with drops in engagement include complex third-party extensions and CPU-heavy JS code.
Some ecommerce marketers might wonder if Magento offers mobile-friendly performance. Magento 2 mobile optimization strategies offer plenty of efficiency and utility for upgrading your site and its pages to mobile-friendly user experience.
Article contributed by: Nikita Rabykin
Nikita has been working with Magento stores for 7 years now. His special interests are mobile UI and UX challenges and Magento mobile optimization. Other than working hard on the next Magento challenge, you can find him taking part in local IT events or building 3D models for fun.
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