If you’re a WooCommerce store owner, then chances are you’re focused on growth. More traffic. More products. More customers. More sales. But, success doesn’t just mean growing at the fastest rate possible. You need to grow your store while continuing to deliver a stellar user experience. To do this you need to scale your WooCommerce Store the right way. Now, WooCommerce is equipped for growth. But, you’ll want to make sure that both your host and WooCommerce setup has been configured the right way.
Below we examine a few methods for scaling your WooCommerce store effectively and highlight the technical WooCommerce elements you’ll want to optimize for growth.
What Does “Scaling Your Store” Mean?
Scaling is a rather generic term. Usually, when we think of scale the first thing that comes to people’s minds is traffic.
The more traffic your store has, the better. Right? Well, not exactly.
Getting pageviews is important. But, the total number of pageviews doesn’t always have a direct impact on your bottom line. For example, your traffic could be growing, but these visitors could be disinterested in your products or be from the wrong source.
We can look at scaling revenue growth, which gets us closer. Growing revenue is important, but it’s not something that can be compared across multiple stores.
A more accurate scaling metric could be the total number of orders. If this increases, then we know we’re targeting the right traffic, and people are actually buying.
For proper scaling you’ll want two things working together:
- An increase in traffic from relevant sources
- An increase in order volume
The link between the two of these metrics is your conversion rate or the percentage of traffic that’s actually buying something from your store. Growth without a solid conversion rate isn’t very beneficial.
Keep the above in mind as you’re thinking about scaling your store.
Is It Easy to Scale a WooCommerce Site?
Right out of the box WooCommerce is a very scalable framework. It’s built to handle high volumes of traffic and process a large volume of orders. However, there are some things you’ll need to do to prepare your store. You can’t just go from a hundred hits a day to ten thousand and not experience any growing pains.
The amount to traffic your store can handle will more so relate to your WooCommerce hosting environment, than the configuration of the store. Still, there are certain caching elements you can employ to ensure a smooth growth process.
Finally, don’t forget about speed as you scale.
It’s one of the most important scaling factors you’ll want to think about. Say you experience a huge spike in traffic one day—you’ll want to be able to deliver a seamless browsing and cart experience to every single visitor.
Scaling Your WooCommerce Store the Right Way
Now that you know what to look out for when scaling your store, as well as the proper way to scale your store that maximizes revenue. It’s time to look at the actual WooCommerce elements that need to be addressed to ensure proper site performance, even as your store traffic and order volume continues to grow.
1. Employ Strategic Caching
A lot of store owners stay away from caching entirely. With an eCommerce site, you have to look at caching differently than a standard WordPress site. Usually, caching is one of the best ways to speed up your site. But, when it comes to WooCommerce it can be pretty damaging if it’s not setup the right way.
With your WooCommerce site, you can safely cache certain things like:
- Your product category and catalog pages
- Your customer’s past browsing history for abandoned cart shoppers
But, other store elements you’ll want to stay away from as it can negatively impact the proper functioning of your store.
If you’re still unsure about the right direction to take with caching, WooCommerce has put together a caching guide to help you out.
2. Take a Minimalist Approach to WooCommerce Extensions and Plugins
WooCommerce exists as a WordPress plugin with an entire ecosystem built around it. As a result, it can be quite resource-heavy.
You’ll easily find hundreds of different plugins you can use that integrate with WooCommerce. But, by having too many plugins active on your site you’ll greatly decrease its performance, and increase the chances of running into a plugin conflict.
Adding functionality to your site is important. But, as your store grows you’ll want to keep the number of active plugins to a minimum.
3. Keep Your Site and WordPress Core Up to Date
One simple way to ensure your site stays running in peak condition is to keep your WordPress core, WooCommerce, and any themes, and plugins up to date.
By always running the latest version you’ll ensure your site is always optimized for performance and patched against the latest security vulnerabilities.
4. Use an Integrated CDN
Most premium WooCommerce hosts offer an integrated CDN. With a CDN you’ll have duplicate copies of your site stored on multiple servers across the globe.
Whenever a visitor lands on your site they’ll be served the version of your site that’s closest to their physical location. This will help to reduce your loading speeds across the board, even as your traffic grows.
By using a CDN you’ll also reduce the likelihood that a spike in traffic will bring down your site, as the load can be spread out across multiple servers.
5. Regularly Load Test Your Site
One great way to ensure that your site can handle an increase in the total number of orders, concurrent visitors, and increased traffic is to load test your site.
This way you’ll have verifiable proof that your store can handle greater levels of traffic and customers. Create realistic test cases that mimic the traffic, customer numbers, and actions that your store is growing towards.
6. Choose a Dedicated WooCommerce Host
It seems simple, but choosing a dedicated WooCommerce host will help to mitigate a lot of the issues you’ll face when scaling your store.
A dedicated WooCommerce host will make it easy for you to run a site that’s optimized for performance and can handle peak traffic levels with ease.
If you’re currently attempting to scale your WooCommerce store, we hope you consider Pressable today.
Hopefully, you have a better understanding of the metrics to focus on while scaling your store, as well as a few steps you can take to improve your store’s scalability.
Zach has 12+ years of experience with WordPress, from creating and maintaining client sites, to providing support and developing documentation. A knack for problem-solving and providing solutions led Zach to pursue a job with Automattic providing customer support in 2015 working with WooCommerce support, and now Zach has recently joined our team here at Pressable. Outside of work, Zach enjoys spending time with his family, playing and watching sports, and working on projects around the house.