Building seaworthy web apps is a goal for many eCommerce platforms, but how can we measure if our apps’ performance and quality are at their best? Well, one of the most excellent tools for that is Lighthouse. Here’s how to use it for an eCommerce checkup.

The Lighthouse tool

Lighthouse is Google’s tool designed to help developers investigate and improve the quality of their web apps, as well maintain it in the long term. It provides a set of automated tools to audit any web page, public or requiring authentication.

The tool is integrated directly in Chrome DevTools and can be run from the command line, or directly in the browser. Although it’s part of Google’s endorsement of mobile-first standards (just look at mobile-first indexing), Lighthouse audits not only Progressive Web Apps, but also general web best-practices. It checks any web page in 5 areas: PWA, SEO, Performance, Best Practices and Accessibility Ranks.

You can learn more about it at https://developers.google.com/

Auditing eCommerce with Lighthouse

Lighthouse can be run against any web page. That includes all eCommerce platforms, and since the majority of their users moved to mobile devices (we just reached over 2.5 billion smartphones worldwide), it is the ultimate test to check if the online store is ready for them.

When auditing an online store, Lighthouse runs a barrage of tests against the page and then generates a report which will help you to identify and fix common problems that affect your store’s performance, accessibility, and user experience.

Running a Lighthouse audit takes 60-90 seconds and doesn’t have to be run by a developer. You can check your online store here right now.

Checking up eCommerce with the Lighthouse tool - lighthouse overview

Example of a Lighthouse report (source)

The Lighthouse report

When Lighthouse completes the audit of your online store, you will be provided with a detailed report.

The Lighthouse report scores your eCommerce platform in 5 different areas, each on a scale up to 100 points. The higher the score is, the better quality the online store is. Apart from the score and strict store metrics, the Lighthouse audit also presents critical areas of the website to optimize, it’s estimated impact (e.g. potential XX savings from image optimization) and thus, ways to improve the quality of the store.

Performance

Performance refers to the speed with which web pages are downloaded and displayed

on the user’s web browser. This matters a lot, as the longer the loading time, the higher the chances that your user leaves your online store without even seeing your products. The stakes are high as 53% of mobile website visitors will leave if a webpage doesn’t load within three seconds, while the average loading time for mobile pages is 22 seconds (Google).

During performance analysis, Lighthouse runs a speed test and compares your website against others. A score of 50 means the page is faster than 75% of the web. What’s important is that it also scores such elements as images, JavaScripts and CSS. Run it to check what areas you should improve to speed up your eCommerce store.

Performance overview in the Lighthouse test (source)

Best practices

This part of the audit includes 10 elements, such as HTTPS usage, existence of deprecated APIs or avoiding application cache; all are perceived as the web’s best practices.

Again, with the score, you will find hints to improve the security of your online store and this metric.

SEO

There are a lot of things you have to think about in order to work with crawlers. During the SEO audit, Lighthouse focuses on on-page SEO elements, including meta tags, hreflangs, and font sizes.

As a result of this report, you will learn if your online store is optimized for search engines and what you should work on to improve your visibility in search rankings (check a few SEO optimization methods).

Accessibility

During the accessibility test, Lighthouse controls whether websites and web tools are properly designed and coded for people with disabilities to use them. It focuses on such aspects as properly labeled elements.

 

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PWA

Last but not least, Lighthouses’ first intention was to check if the web page meets the requirements of the new PWA standard. During this analysis, Lighthouse focuses on the PWA manifest and runs 11 audits on compliance with the Baseline PWA Checklist. This includes the mobile-friendly approach and usage of service workers.

With a positive score from the PWA audit, you can be sure that your online store provides a super-fast and meaningful user experience on all devices, also in offline mode.

Check how you can implement the PWA standard in your eCommerce.

The Lighthouse audit will provide you with impactful data on your online store. Use them to improve your performance, accessibility, SEO or even enter the PWA standard.

This Google tool also allows for easy comparison with other online stores. We used the Lighthouse tool to examine 10,000 of the most popular eCommerce websites. Run the Lighthouse audit and compare your business’ score with worldwide leaders of eCommerce.

 

Download: State of mobile-first eCommerce