Tips and tricks for Magento 2 mobile optimization

by Jan Guardian

As per the GSMA Mobile Economy 2020 report, the number of unique mobile users across the globe is set to reach a massive 5.8 billion people by the year 2025. With over two-thirds of the world’s population expected to have access to at least one mobile device by the year 2025, it’s no surprise that Google decided to adopt mobile-first indexing policy for all new websites from July 1st 2019.

As a Magento 2 store owner, you no longer need to worry about having a mobile-friendly store as Magento 2 comes mobile-ready out of the box. However, with store owners and developers adopting Google’s mobile-first ideology when building a website, being mobile-friendly alone isn’t enough to ensure that your website ranks high on search engine results pages. By making sure your website is mobile-friendly and performance-optimized at the same time, you can significantly boost your conversion rates and organic rankings.

This article addresses some essential aspects of Magento 2 mobile optimization that will help you make your website fly on mobile devices.

Top 8 Magento 2 mobile optimization tips 

  • Server environment optimization

It’s no secret that Magento 2 is a CPU hungry content management system. However, ensuring your Magento 2 store has a stable and robust server environment will enable it to operate at peak performance at all times.

The fastest way to check if your server environment is the limiting factor in your store’s performance is to install a new Magento 2 store on a server that matches your live store’s server configuration and testing page load times between the two stores. If the new Magento 2 install loads just as slowly as your live store, there’s a reasonably good chance your server environment is the limiting factor in your store’s performance.

If your server is hurting your store’s performance, increasing the server resources or choosing a managed Magento 2 host will give an instant boost to your website’s page load times, especially on mobile devices.

  • UI/UX design optimization

Having multiple sliders and product carousels spread across your store might seem like the best way of ensuring your customers can view all your product offerings. However, it will hurt your page load times by adding to the number of requests made to the server.

When optimizing a store for a mobile design, the focus needs to be primarily on delivering a light and simple UI and UX with a simple layout that reduces the number of Document Object Model (DOM) elements on the page. By reducing the number of DOM elements, you can help decrease memory usage, decrease Time to First Byte, and reduce your website’s overall parse and render time on mobile devices.

  • Media content optimization

Whether it’s through images or instructional and demonstrative videos, showcasing your products’ best features across your website and on product pages is a proven way of increasing conversions. However, this comes at the cost of increasing your website’s average page size and can hurt your website’s performance on mobile devices with poor network connectivity.

By resizing your images to match their final display size specific to a device and using various online tools to enhance image compression, you can reduce the size of the images on your website and give your page load times a significant boost. When you’re using videos on your website or product pages, hosting the videos along with the images on a Content Delivery Network (CDN) can help reduce the load on your server and free up valuable server resources.

A combination of appropriately resized and compressed images and videos hosted on a CDN will significantly improve your website’s performance on mobile devices.

  • Using HTTP/2

HTTP version 2 (HTTP/2) is the latest hypertext transfer protocol that guarantees your Magento 2 store will receive a performance boost. HTTP/2 uses TCP connections more efficiently than HTTP/1 by reusing the same connection for data transfers, thus significantly reducing the overall protocol overhead.

By reducing the number of connections required to transfer data, you can reduce the number of TLS handshakes needed and reduce the client and server resources load. By utilizing Server Push, a unique feature native to HTTP/2, you can further boost mobile page load times as it allows browsers to download resources before they are needed by the device, speeding up browsing.

  • JavaScript optimization

A significant reason for Magento 2 websites being resource-heavy is the use of JavaScript-heavy code that isn’t optimized. The first and easiest step towards optimizing your website’s JavaScript is using Magento 2’s in-built JavaScript minification. You can do this by heading over to Stores > Configuration > Advanced > Developer and changing Minify JavaScript Files from No to Yes. This setting is only visible in the Developer mode for Magento versions 2.2+, and it only works with websites deployed in the Production mode.

While enabling JavaScript minification, you can also disable JavaScript bundling that is no longer relevant when using HTTP/2 as the number of requests a website makes doesn’t affect performance when HTTP/2 is enabled. Even if you’re using HTTP/1, combining all JavaScript into a single file will significantly increase the file size and hurt the page load time on mobile devices with poor network connectivity. So there’s no valid use case available for using JavaScript bundling on a Magento 2 website.

You can further optimize your website’s JavaScript by removing the JavaScript code out of the <head> and moving it just before the end of the <body> tag to clear up non-essential script execution that would otherwise interfere with page rendering. In situations where moving the code out of the head may not be possible, you could defer the code’s execution, which would otherwise take a heavy toll on mobile devices that usually have fewer CPU resources than desktop computers.

  • Varnish caching

Magento 2 works best when using Varnish cache for full-page caching. Even Adobe recommends using Varnish cache instead of the built-in full-page caching, as Varnish is designed to accelerate HTTP traffic.

By configuring your Magento 2 store to work with Varnish cache, Varnish will sit in front of your web server and start storing (or caching) static assets such as CSS, HTML, JavaScript, and images each time a request is made. It acts like a proxy server for the requests made for static assets by serving static files in cache instantly, saving precious time, and reducing the number of queries your store needs to handle.

  • Third-party extension optimization

Magento 2 is a beast of a platform built with most functionality an ecommerce business could require. However, despite this, many store owners end up seeking additional functionality usually tailored to their industry or audience and opt for inexpensive third-party extensions available online.

Unfortunately, in most cases, these extensions are only built with functionality in mind and end up compromising the performance of websites with poorly written or JavaScript-heavy code that strains both server and client resources and hurts the overall online shopping experience. An alternative to using bloated third-party extensions is approaching an agency skilled in Magento 2 development, that can either build your desired functionality for you or optimize a third-party extension for your store.

By optimizing third-party extensions for your store, you can reduce unwanted bloat and boost your website’s performance, which is more likely to contribute to an increase in online sales. A pretty but slow website will see far fewer sales as compared to a simple yet fast website.

  • Progressive Web Applications

Considered by many as the future of mobile commerce, Progressive Web Applications (PWAs) leverage the latest technologies to create a hybrid application that’s built using web technology yet behaves and performs like a mobile application. PWAs are responsive to adapt to almost any device, work offline, and are installable on mobile devices without needing too much disk space on the mobile device the way mobile apps do.

If your store is running the latest release of Magento 2, you can use Magento PWA Studio to build a PWA for your Magento 2 store. And if you lack development skills or find it intimidating, you can opt for a premade PWA theme or approach an agency to build a PWA version of your existing website for you.

Conclusion

We’ve addressed some of the basics of Magento 2 mobile optimization in this article. However, if you’re still looking for more ways to improve your website’s mobile performance, a great place to start would be by checking Google PageSpeed Insights for your website and optimizing the metrics recommended there.

Google is continuously updating its metrics and algorithms, and keeping track of these changes can help you boost and maintain your website’s SERP rankings. Google has recently started measuring and scoring Cumulative Layout Shifts (CLS) for all websites, as CLS has come forward as a significant factor affecting user experience, especially on mobile devices. Although this isn’t a ranking factor yet, it is expected to become one in 2021, and store owners should start taking steps towards ensuring their website’s CLS scores are below Google’s recommended thresholds.

Staying up to date with the latest trends while ensuring your website performs up to Google’s standards is an easy way to ensure it ranks well and delivers the best shopping experience possible to your customers. If you prefer focusing on growing your business, hiring a qualified team of experts, such as a Magento agency Staylime, is the best and easiest way to achieving a high-performing yet attractive website.

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