When it comes to your WooCommerce store page load times, every second counts.
With every passing second, the risk of your prospect abandoning your site and going somewhere else becomes higher.
In technical jargon, we call it a high bounce rate and a low conversion rate – two of the most dreaded nightmares for a storeowner.
Slow website speed not only causes low conversions but also has a negative impact on your SEO rankings.
But don’t just believe what I say – look at the numbers. Amazon calculated that a delay of one second led to a loss of $1.6 billion per year in sales, which means a reduction of 7% in conversions!
That’s a good enough reason to fix your WooCommerce store and optimize it to make it load fast.
Here are 7 simple fixes you can do that will make a big difference to your WooCommerce performance.
1. Buy Solid WordPress Hosting
While it’s true that you can get a hosting plan for as low as $2/month, you shouldn’t really do that if you’re serious about uptime and fast page loads.
Shared hosting plans are cheaper but they are only good for small, low traffic sites.
For WooCommerce stores, on the other hand, where you’re putting a lot of effort to attract customers with new promotions and marketing campaigns, you need to make sure your site is geared up to take up that traffic load.
A better option therefore, is managed VPS hosting or managed dedicated server hosting.
VPS and dedicated hosting give you the freedom and privacy of having your own private server. When your business grows, you can easily upgrade and get more resources on your server. And being managed, you don’t have to worry about anything – your host takes care of your website’s performance, speed, and security.
Though the price tag of Managed WordPress hosting is a lot higher than shared hosting, the difference it makes to your bottom line makes it worthwhile.
2. Make Sure The Theme is Well-Optimized
Not all themes tagged with ‘WordPress’ and ‘WooCommerce’ are worth buying.
When buying a WooCommerce theme, most people look at the number of features it offers, often overlooking what’s most important – well-optimized code!
The theme needs to be well-coded and written according to WordPress standards, or else, it will slow down your WooCommerce site.
If your site is slowing down and you’re not sure what’s causing the sluggishness, you can test it using the Pingdom site testing tool.
Pingdom is a free tool that lets you test your website’s speed. If you feel that your theme is to blame, you can test it using the Pingdom tool and note the page load time. Then, switch your website to the official Storefront theme of WooCommerce and test again. If you see a drop in page load time, it means your theme is the culprit.
3. Delete Unnecessary Plugins
A plugin is just a bunch of extra code that you’re plugging into your site. And so, adding plugins will definitely have an impact on your site’s performance.
The first rule of thumb is to keep your store minimal and avoid adding fancy plugins for features that don’t make a difference to your bottom line.
However, if you really need to add some functionality to your store, make sure you buy a well-coded and well-optimized plugin from a reputable developer.
For example, if someone wants to make a WooCommerce B2B store from any renowned b2b ecommerce agency, they will need to install a bunch of plugins to add B2B specific features on their store in order to create a good customer experience and deliver a self-service, consumer like experience their buyers are looking for. In that case, not installing additional plugins isn’t ideal for them. Instead, they need to optimize their site with different techniques, get more server resources, and make sure the plugins are coded well.
Essentially, the number of plugins running on your site doesn’t matter as much – ten well-coded WooCommerce extensions won’t hurt your website as much as a single poorly coded one.
As a best practice, you should always disable and remove the plugins you don’t use anymore.
And if you still feel you have a bad plugin that’s causing your site to slow down, test it out by deactivating all of them and activating them one by one, all the while testing your page load time on Pingdom.
4. Clean up Your Database Regularly
As you might know already, your entire WordPress site is stored in a database. And as you add more content to your site, the size of your database also grows and that becomes a problem in the long run.
To optimize your WooCommerce store, you need to clean up your database on a regular basis and remove things like deleted comments, post drafts, inactive users, trashed pages, etc.
Though you can do the cleaning manually from your cPanel, there are many WordPress plugins like WP Optimize that can help you automate the process.
5. Optimize Your Images
Another important thing that will make a big difference to your site’s performance is image optimization.
All websites these days are image-heavy. But when it comes to an online store, images do a major part of the work of convincing the customer to buy your product. Good, high-quality images are what set you apart from your competitor.
But there is a catch. High resolution images usually have a very big file size, which will overload your site and impact its performance.
First off, you should resize your images before you upload. There is no point in uploading a 2000px image if your site will only show a maximum of 800px.
Then, you should ‘compress’ your product images to reduce the file size even further.
There are many online tools like Tiny PNG that you can use to compress your image files. But if your site has too many images, you can also get an image optimization plugin that will automate the process for you. Some recommendations are WPSmushit and EWWW Image Optimizer.
6. Install a Caching Plugin
Caching is a technique in which the website data is stored in the visitor’s browser so it is served more speedily the next time the visitor lands on your store.
Basically, when the visitor comes again to your store, your site data like product images and product pages don’t have to come all the way from the server – it will be served from the visitor’s browser.
Caching reduces server requests and improves your site’s performance by a great deal.
However, for caching to work properly, you need to understand and configure it correctly – otherwise it will create a poor customer experience.
For example, if you cache your store’s cart and checkout pages, your customers won’t be able to see the products they have added in their cart and they won’t be able to make the payment on checkout!
Some recommendations for caching plugins are W3 Total Cache and WP Rocket.
7. Set up a CDN
CDN or Content Delivery Network is literally a network of servers located all around the world whose job is to store your site’s static files.
By settings up a CDN, you can move your site’s files to a server that is physically closer to your customer. This is especially important if your store targets people from all around the world.
You can buy a CDN plan from services like Cloudflare. However, if you have bought a managed WordPress hosting, your plan would most likely include a CDN.
These are all easy and simple fixes to optimize your WooCommerce store and reduce your page load times. Implement these simple fixes and see the difference!