Red lights. Checkout lines. The spinning wheel of death. No one likes to wait, which is why successful eCommerce businesses understand how to speed up WooCommerce.
How quickly your site loads directly impacts your conversion rate and, ultimately, your bottom line. Keep reading to learn why speed is a top concern for online stores and our top six tips to speed up WooCommerce.
Why Speed Matters for Your WooCommerce Store
Slow websites perform worse than fast ones. Why? It comes down to conversion rates, customer experience, and search engine optimization.
A slow-loading WooCommerce store will tank your conversion rate. Have you ever walked into a busy store during the holiday season and immediately returned to your car after seeing the checkout lines wrapped halfway around the store? The same thing happens online when your site loads slowly. People abandon their carts out of frustration.
Even if someone manages to make it past a slow checkout experience, a slow loading site still leaves them with a negative experience. Between Amazon and national retailers like Target and Walmart, most people can find whatever they need in an app they already use. Within a couple of clicks, they can probably get it delivered or ready for pick up the same or next day. That’s the customer experience your website competes against. Every second your site wastes the customer’s time is an opportunity for them to see if they can get the item elsewhere.
Search Engine Optimization
At this point, it should be clear that people are impatient. It isn’t news, and search engines know it. Search engines rank faster loading sites ahead of slow ones. When your WooCommerce site starts to slow down, you could suddenly find your site on the second, third, or worse page of search results. Optimizing your site for speed is essential to your overall search engine optimization strategy.
How to Measure Site Speed
Savvy store owners regularly monitor their site speeds. Yes, you can get a general idea of how your site loads based on your own usage. But internal traffic isn’t the best judge of a site’s speed. Since you visit the site more regularly, you likely have more data cached than your average customer.
Using an online tool to test your site’s speed gives you a better idea of what your customers experience when visiting your site. The online tools can simulate traffic from different parts of the country or world to see how your site performs globally.
Popular tools for measuring site speed include:
6 Tips to Speed Up WooCommerce
Ready to optimize your WooCommerce site for speed? These six tips are the best place to start. These best practice tips require minimal or no development work. After trying these tips, consider more advanced backend and frontend optimization to increase your site speed more.
1. Clean Up Your Site
Keeping your site clean helps it run faster. There are two types of people in the world: those that strive for “inbox zero,” or keeping as few emails as possible in their inbox, and those who couldn’t care less about the total number of emails left unread in their overflowing inbox. Websites work the same way. Smart WooCommerce users regularly clean up draft posts, deleted products, and other miscellaneous WordPress “junk.” If you don’t, your database queries start to take longer. Like a clean inbox, it’s easier to find what you need when you don’t have to also sort through all the unnecessary stuff.
2. Upgrade Hosting Providers
Your host has a big impact on your website’s speed. In our post on the types of WordPress hosting, we talked about how cheaper shared hosting plans are notoriously slow. Your host can’t solve all the problems with a slow site, but your site loading time starts with that initial server request. You need a host you can trust to have the technology that responds and runs as quickly as possible.
3. Compress Images
Images are a common cause of slow loading WooCommerce sites. If you purchase your inventory from a distributor, many of the product images distributors provide are high resolution. If you’ve uploaded five photos for one product, you’ve added a ton of weight to your product listings. Resize and compress your images for faster loading times. You could also consider using an image optimization plugin or serving images in the lightweight WebP format.
4. Utilize a CDN
A content delivery network speeds up WooCommerce by caching a copy of your site’s static files at a data center closest to the visitor. You can purchase a CDN service and implement it with a plugin. Or, for a hands-off approach, pick a WooCommerce host like Pressable that includes a global CDN with all their plans.
5. Maintain Your Updates
Keeping your WordPress system, plugins, and themes up-to-date is a WordPress security best practice. It also is a best practice for optimizing your site for speed. If you’re not keeping your systems updated, you’re missing out on bug fixes and other enhancements that could speed up your WooCommerce site. One benefit of managed WordPress hosting is that you don’t have to manually update your systems. Your host automates the process for you.
6. Be Selective About Plugins
Pressable: The Fast WooCommerce Host
At Pressable, we love WordPress and WooCommerce. But we love fast-loading WooCommerce sites even more. Our managed WooCommerce hosting platform delivers top-notch performance, security, and ease of use for your WooCommerce store. Schedule a demo today to see how we can help you speed up WooCommerce.
Jessica serves as the Director of Operations for Pressable and spends her days focused on creating the best managed WordPress hosting experience possible. She's been using WordPress since 2008 and has been serving in WordPress-focused roles since 2010. When she's not working, you can find her spending time with her family, serving in her community, watching hilarious dog videos online, or brewing a pitcher of iced tea.