Slow WooCommerce stores may cost you money in a number of different ways, from the rise in cart abandonment to losing customer loyalty. According to Unbounce, almost 70% of consumers say page speed influences their desire to buy from an online store. The problem here is that the speed depends on numerous factors, and its improvement may require lots of time and effort.
According to Portent, website conversion rates decrease by an average of 4.42% for every second that a page takes to load between seconds 0 and 5, with pages with load times between 0 and 2 seconds having the greatest eCommerce conversion rates.
If your website’s loading speed is over 2-3 seconds, this article is what you need. Here, you’ll find several proven tips on measuring and improving eCommerce website performance.
Website speed is a critical element for the success of any online venture, including WooCommerce stores, for several reasons:
Internet users typically have a short attention span. Slow load times can result in visitors bouncing from your website before it even fully loads. A fast website, on the contrary, makes navigation easier, encouraging users to explore more pages and stay longer.
Page speed is one of the most crucial ranking factors for Google. Metrics like Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), First Input Delay (FID), and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) are part of Google’s ranking factors. Faster websites have more chances to rank higher in search engines. With the rise of mobile search, mobile page speed also significantly affects SEO.
Optimized, faster websites generally consume less bandwidth and may result in lower hosting costs. Faster sites also require less time and effort to maintain.
With an increasing number of users accessing sites via mobile devices, where connection speeds may be slower, optimized website speed becomes even more crucial. Slow loading can be even more problematic on mobile devices and lead to higher bounce rates.
Users from different regions with varying internet speeds can have a consistent experience if your website is optimized for speed. Faster websites are beneficial if you’re aiming for a global audience and are using a Content Delivery Network (CDN) to serve localized content.
Before starting the improvement process, you need to determine where you are standing now and find out the current store speed and what issues might slow your site down. Here are some methods and tools you can use to evaluate your WooCommerce site’s speed:
These tools directly test your website’s performance by loading it from different locations around the world, simulating various devices and connection speeds:
These solutions, built into modern browsers, allow developers to inspect, debug, and profile websites:
These tools can help identify server-side issues that might not be evident with frontend testing tools:
Plugins can offer a convenient and powerful way to monitor various aspects of your WooCommerce store’s performance directly from within your WordPress admin area. Here are some popular plugin-based approaches:
Real User Monitoring (RUM) is a performance monitoring approach that captures and analyzes each transaction by users of a website or application. Unlike synthetic monitoring methods, which simulate user behavior, RUM collects data from actual users’ interactions with your site.
Now that you know the current loading speed and what problems are there, you can build an optimization strategy. Mind that you’ll probably need to fix several aspects of the website to achieve great WooCommerce store speed. Also, you’ll need to monitor the speed occasionally, as it may eventually slow down. Here are some advice on how you can boost your site performance:
While the incorrect option may result in dissatisfied clients and lost business, the ideal web hosting service can guarantee flawless performance, fast loading times, and consistent uptime.
Each hosting type may be provided under a variety of plans with various pricing points. Therefore, while looking for a hosting provider within your price range, consider features like server-side caching, adequate bandwidth and RAM for your site’s demands, high-performance SSD storage, and updated software, such as PHP and MySQL.
If you have a shared hosting plan, it means hundreds of websites use the same server and its resources. Select a host that restricts the number of websites allowed on each server, or think about upgrading to a VPS or dedicated plan.
Change the URL of your login page first. The login URL is usually default and known to everyone, including hackers, which makes websites susceptible to attacks.
You may avoid malicious actors’ brute force assaults by changing your login URL to something distinctive. You may also use it to prevent rate-limiting HTTP problems.
If your eCommerce website also has a blog, restrict the amount of entries that appear in your blog feed. If you manage a popular blog, performance savings add up. These adjustments may be made in the WordPress Dashboard’s Reading settings.
Screenshot taken on the official WordPress website
Turn off pingbacks on your website next. Typically, they produce spam. WordPress also provides you the ability to divide large user comments into smaller portions if you have a lot of comments from users on your articles or pages. To reduce the time it takes for your product page to load, maintain this value between 10 and 20.
There are a plethora of plugins for WooCommerce, which provide limitless versatility. This does not imply that you must install each one, though.
It doesn’t matter how many plugins you utilize; what matters is their quality. Choose plugins that can perform numerous tasks, read reviews to learn about performance, confirm that they are updated frequently, and install options from reputable sources.
Quite often, while opting for an eCommerce theme, website designers choose aesthetics without considering how quickly pages load. As a result, the appearance of the frontend frequently takes priority over the page loading speed.
To optimize loading time, choose a WooCommerce theme that is light and performance-optimized. Make sure the theme is responsive and has a clean codebase.
Also, keep in mind that many themes also let you disable elements you’re not using. To determine whether a theme loads quickly, try using the speed tools to test the demo pages or browse the reviews left by users.
It’s essential to downsize your images before posting them to your website since using huge images will dramatically slow down page loading speeds. To scale the images to the right size for your website, utilize software like Photoshop, GIMP, or Figma.
Your photographs’ file sizes can be decreased without losing quality by compression. Select the appropriate format; unless your image has a translucent backdrop, JPEG images, which are smaller, are often the best to upload. Mind the size: uploading a 2000-pixel image won’t fit in a place that is just 500 pixels wide. Compress the image after processing it: image compressors reduce the file size by removing any extraneous data and metadata.
A feature known as lazy loading prevents pictures from loading until a site visitor scrolls down to where they appear on the page. As a result, your clients won’t have to wait around while your media loads for them to view your content. If your website has a lot of pictures, this strategy can greatly reduce the loading times for the store.
You may install lazy loading on your WooCommerce store by using WordPress plugins. The plugins shorten the time it takes for your website to open initially.
Even if your website is hosted on a very fast server, its location will still have an impact. Network latency and time to first byte (TTFB) are both decreased due to CDN, which shortens the distance between each user and the site’s resources.
It automatically chooses the closest CDN PoP to provide the cached resources based on the request’s origin. Many CDNs offer additional performance-improving capabilities in addition to caching, like greater on-the-fly image compression, HTTP/3 support, hotlink prevention, and increased security.
The majority of WordPress plugins and themes load scripts and stylesheets on each page of your website. Even when they aren’t needed on the page, they nonetheless load these items.
By removing these unnecessary elements from websites, you may decrease page bloat and speed up WooCommerce page loading, which can save you time setting up new sites and assigning staff. WooCommerce is vulnerable to this problem, as are its extensions.
Look at the waterfall chart in your website speed test result to determine what to remove. It will help you identify any superfluous assets.
To get rid of scripts and styles you don’t need, utilize the wp_dequeue_script and wp_dequeue_style. Asset CleanUp: Page Speed Booster is among the plugins that make it simple to accomplish the same goal.
Screenshot taken on the official WordPress website
Caching is the temporary storage of resources from one request so that future requests may be processed fast. Both the server and the user’s device are capable of holding the cache.
When a user makes a request for a website, the DNS server obtains the webpage from the hosting server, and the app on the web server runs scripts, searches the database, and produces the webpage, which is then rendered and shown to the user by the browser. The server is put under a tremendous amount of strain when thousands of visitors make several requests at once, which causes the page to load slowly.
Caching comes into play in this situation. It lessens the effort necessary to produce a pageview, decreasing WordPress’ reliance on PHP and a database. WordPress operates almost as quickly as static web pages, if not exactly.
Server-side caching and browser caching are the two main categories of online caching, each having a variety of subcategories.
WooCommerce provides a standard revision check on product pages that lets you go back and see changes made to the pages. Although modifications may appear advantageous, they might sometimes cause WooCommerce performance issues.
For illustration, suppose you create a page and edit it multiple times, adding or removing one element each time. You have as many duplicates of your original page as you made changes, even though the alteration is modest. The performance of WooCommerce may ultimately suffer from this and gradually deteriorate.
You need to make certain adjustments to the wp-config.php file at the website’s root in order to restrict/disable revisions.
Every time a user enters your website, they request the content of your website, which is largely static. However, they make a dynamic request when they place an order.
If your store’s database is not optimized, dealing with these queries can take too long. A sluggish server response time ultimately results in a slow website. As a result, you must eliminate pointless trash to clean up and optimize the database.
There are several approaches to database optimization:
Screenshot taken on the official WordPress website
According to Oberlo, 60% of shoppers say that the option of shopping via mobile is an important criterion in brand selection. Hence, mobile optimization is absolutely vital.
Using a responsive theme is the simplest approach to adapting your WordPress website for mobile devices. Keep your store pages as simple as you can because mobile customers don’t like scrolling endlessly. Do not overwhelm them with information.
If your business has a lot of items displayed, make it simpler for mobile customers to search for them by providing live product filters. Consider installing the WooCommerce Product Search plugin.
Use Chrome’s Lighthouse tool or Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool to see if your website satisfies the required mobile usability guidelines.
The server records every click on a link to a page on your store as a redirect. In essence, the server must direct users to the proper page. Although it just takes a few seconds, customers may perceive it as a long time, directly affecting your store’s bounce rate.
If your website has a lot of redirects, you are using up server resources and extending the time it takes to reach the final page. As a result, cutting down on redirection will result in a noticeable increase in page load time as it is a tried-and-true WooCommerce optimization approach.
Each PHP update is quicker than the previous versions. Your host determines the PHP version you use, and you can often alter it in your hosting control panel. However, the specific procedure may vary depending on your provider. Alternatively, you may just ask customer service to do it for you. Before updating your PHP version, create a complete website backup, then test everything to ensure it functions correctly.
Your hosting company has allotted a particular amount of memory to your website. However, you could go above that cap based on your particular site. You can always contact your hosting company if your hosting control panel does not allow you to alter the limit. PHP receives a 32 MB memory allotment from WordPress by default. It will automatically try to raise this limit to 40 MB or 64 MB if it encounters any problems. This limit often won’t be sufficient for a WooCommerce site. It is advised to raise this cap to 256 MB.
With the methods provided above, you can dramatically improve the speed of your WooCommerce store, covering the gamut from basic settings adjustments to advanced server-side solutions. These techniques are there to improve your website’s speed and should form part of an ongoing strategy to not just improve but also maintain site performance.
Ultimately, speed optimization is not a one-time task but an ongoing commitment. Regularly monitoring your website’s speed using the various tools and methods discussed can provide valuable insights into how well your WooCommerce optimization efforts are working.