Google Lighthouse has emerged as a guiding light for developers seeking to optimize their websites. Through its sophisticated features, detailed metrics and audits, Lighthouse sets the standard for today’s web. However, many are not aware that one of Lighthouse’s main roles is to support the advancement of Progressive Web Apps (PWA). Here is where we are introduced to the Lighthouse PWA Audit.
In this article, we will discuss the features of PWA Audit and what makes it distinct from the other Lighthouse audits. We will also explore 10 ways that this evaluation can help elevate the performance of your ecommerce to drive higher conversions.
What does the PWA Audit consist of?
The Google Lighthouse PWA audit examines critical aspects of your web application (this refers to your ecommerce platform), ensuring it meets the criteria for being a well-functioning Progressive Web App.
The PWA audit checks three main areas in your ecommerce:
Fast and reliable: It ensures your web app performs well even on slower mobile networks. Additionally, it assesses whether your site offers offline functionality, ensuring users can access its content even without an internet connection.
Installable: The audit examines if your web app can be installed on multiple device types, for a seamless experience across various platforms. It also verifies whether your ecommerce site utilizes native app features such as push notifications.
PWA optimized: Lighthouse checks if your web app follows PWA best practices, ensuring it is secure, responsive, and provides a personalized experience.
Unlike the other Lighthouse audits that provide a score from 0-100, the PWA audit assigns your ecommerce one of the PWA badges, based on whether it satisfies the three areas mentioned above.
Additionally, the audit report offers valuable suggestions for improving your overall PWA performance, pinpointing specific issues that need attention. Now, let’s look at the 10 insights that the Lighthouse PWA audit can give you to transform your ecommerce.
This is one of the most obvious benefits: PWAs are designed to be lightweight and optimized for performance. The PWA audit in Lighthouse evaluates various performance metrics, such as first meaningful paint and time to interactive, helping ecommerce websites identify performance bottlenecks and optimize their PWA to provide faster and more responsive experiences to users.
Personalized user experience
The PWA audit helps identify areas where improvements can be made to offer a more personalized user experience. For example, it checks the following:
- Custom splash screen configuration: By setting up a custom splash screen, you can provide your users a more branded, engaging experience.
- Address bar theme color: Theming the browser’s address bar to match the brand colors help provide a more immersive user experience.
- Viewport meta tag: Without this, mobile devices render pages at typical desktop screen widths and then scale the pages down, making them difficult to read.
The checks on these areas ensure that you are taking proactive steps to improve user engagement, directly leading to better conversions.
The Lighthouse PWA audit puts a spotlight on the security of your ecommerce website, ensuring that it transitions from HTTP to HTTPS. By redirecting traffic to HTTPS, your online store is shielded from intruders attempting to tamper with or intercept communications between your site and its users.
Additionally, HTTPS enhances your site’s credibility in the eyes of both users and search engines, as it is now considered a standard security practice. This means that your ecommerce website is not only protected from malicious attacks, but it also gains a competitive advantage in search rankings.
Things to note:
- For more information about why all sites should be protected with HTTPS, read this article.
- To learn how to enable HTTPS on your servers, this information could help.
- If your page is already running on HTTPS but you’re failing this audit, you may have problems with mixed content.
We mentioned above about how sites with greater security play a role in search. PWAs often exhibit better search engine optimization (SEO) performance compared to traditional websites. The PWA audit also evaluates other factors such as loading speeds, responsive design, and offline accessibility that contribute to improved SEO rankings. By complying to PWA standards, your ecommerce can automatically achieve higher visibility and organic traffic.
However it is important to note that the Google Lighthouse SEO audit has a distinct role to that of the PWA audit. To find out more, click here.
Improved mobile accessibility
Related to this is the Google Lighthouse Accessibility metric. To learn more about the Accessibility metric and ways to enhance it for your ecommerce, read this article.
One of the key advantages of PWAs is their ability to work offline or in low-connectivity environments. The PWA audit ensures that a site’s content and functionalities are available to users in such environments. This capability is particularly valuable for ecommerce websites as it allows users to browse products and make purchases even without an internet connection (except of course, up till the final step of payment processing).
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App-Like Feel and Discoverability
Another benefit of having a PWA for your ecommerce is being able to provide an app-like experience without the need for users to download and install a separate application. The PWA audit helps ecommerce websites optimize their PWAs to have an app-like feel in terms of navigation and interactions. Furthermore, PWAs are discoverable by search engines, making it easier for potential customers to find and access your ecommerce website.
Lower Development and Maintenance Costs
By adopting a PWA approach, ecommerce websites not only save users from having to download apps, they also can save costs associated with developing and maintaining separate native apps for different platforms. The PWA audit assists in optimizing an ecommerce platform’s codebase and performance, helping to minimize development and maintenance efforts while still delivering an exceptional user experience.
PWAs are designed to work across different platforms and browsers, eliminating the need to develop separate apps for iOS, Android, or other platforms. The PWA audit ensures that the PWA is compatible with various devices, browsers, and operating systems. In other words, meeting the PWA standards automatically guarantees that your ecommerce provides a consistent experience regardless of the platform being used.
Increased Conversion Rates
PWAs enable faster and more streamlined checkout experiences, reducing friction and increasing the likelihood of conversions. The PWA audit helps optimize the payment process and ensures a smooth transaction flow. Checks for quick page transitions and that each page has a URL, while simple, minimizes the cart abandonment rate, ultimately boosting conversions for ecommerce businesses.
Take action to increase conversions.
While often overlooked, the Lighthouse PWA audit has a significant role to play, especially in the success of ecommerce stores. By leveraging the PWA audit in Lighthouse, online businesses can unlock the benefits of PWAs of creating a seamless, engaging, and high-performing shopping experience for their customers, ultimately driving business growth and success.
Don’t miss out on these transformative opportunities for your online store! Valido Web Scores allows you to perform the PWA audit along with the other Lighthouse audits, as well as obtain practical solutions to improve your scores. Try out the Valido app for free.
Digital UX, writing about the latest ecommerce trends.