How do you speed up your WooCommerce site? If you ask any brand or business, you’ll know that this question is a shared concern.
A slow-loading WooCommerce site can cost you a lot. This can result in downward pointing business metrics, enhanced cart abandonment, and a noticeable dip in brand loyalty, visitors, and even SERP visibility.
Not one wants to wait in real life or online. In this post, we’ll walk you through everything you need to speed up your eCommerce store and make sure that your store remains an essential component of your online business set-up.
Why Does Speed Matter For Your Online Store?
Speed creates a user’s first impression of your site. According to a survey by Google, 53% of users abandon a site if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. Eventually, your site’s performance plays an impact on SEO aside from the user experience. Google’s ranking algorithm takes both speed and performance into account.
How to Measure Your Site’s Loading Speed
Using a site speed test is one of the best tools that you can use to measure how responsive your WooCommerce store is. If you don’t do this properly, this may slow your site down.
Here are some website speed testing tools that you can use:
Overlooked Things That Slow Down the Speed of Your WooCommerce Store
Let’s run through twelve things that could be slowing up your WooCommerce site.
1. You’re Using a Slow Hosting Provider
Although web hosting isn’t a primary concern early on in your online store, one year in, when your traffic and transactions start to pick up, you have to pay it some attention.
One of the culprits that slow down your WooCommerce site is your hosting provider. If you want pages to load quickly, then you need an excellent hosting service.
Here are some tips:
- Utilize high-quality shared hosting: Because you share server resources with other users, shared hosting plans don’t allocate a lot of bandwidth, disk space, or memory. But the problem with others users using the same bandwidth is that it significantly slows down your site.
- Use managed hosting: While this is more costly, it can be efficient in driving in more traffic.
2. It Lacks Image Optimization
Because you’re an eCommerce store, chances are, you have a lot of product images. Thus, these files need to be as small and load as quickly as possible. When it comes to image optimization, there are several tactics that you can use. One way for you to do that is lazy loading, wherein you prevent images from loading on your site unless needed.
Another is to utilize optimum file formats. You can use adaptive images to enhance the user experience of your WooCommerce store as well.
3. Having Too Many Plug-ins Installed
The thing with every WooCommerce extension and plug-in that you install is that it can slow your site down. But since extensions and plug-ins come in all sizes and shapes, it’s difficult to pinpoint the acceptable number that you should have.
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You can measure the performance of your site before and after adding these new features to your store. That way, you’ll know whether their impact is worth your site speed. Make sure to get rid of any plug-ins or extensions that you’re no longer using.
4. You Don’t Use a Content Delivery Network
Incorporating a content delivery network (CDN) into your site is one of the best ways that you can enhance web performance.
This process allows you to enhance your site performance because the closer your customers are to the server, the faster the site will load on their browser. A CDN is handy, especially if your target audience is located all around the world.
5. Out of Date Configuration
All of the software and themes that you install on your site should be kept out of date. Often these updates have several features. They also have performance-related enhancements like a more effective code.
Moreover, outdated software is one of the most common reasons for security breaches, thus making it vital that you install the newest version. No part of your website should run on older versions.
6. Not Minifying Scripts and Stylesheets
There might be instances wherein, even if you uninstalled unused plug-ins, you’d still have individual stylesheets and scripts queued up. Minifying is a technique that you can use to deal with this issue, integrating scripts and stylesheets. Rather than 5 to 7 stylesheets and 9 to 12 scripts, you’ll have a single file for every type.
After combining, you can compress the files further with gzip compression. This strategy allows you to decrease the number of requests and page size.
7. You’re Facing Database Issues
You’re going to store a lot of information on your site, from products to orders and settings. This isn’t such a big deal from the beginning.
But after several months, this might become an issue. That’s because the size of your database will eventually affect your site performance.
In other words, loading times will be slow because of database issues.
If this is the case, you might have to do some clean-up. You can do this manually, like using your cPanel. However, several WordPress plug-ins make the process easy, allowing you to automate the optimization process.
8. You’re using a poor theme
Choosing a theme for your WooCommerce site isn’t easy. There are a lot of themes available in the market, many of them injecting plenty of code to pages to help you create a particular layout.
There are many things that you need to consider when choosing a theme. One way is to ensure that it’s well coded and it goes with WordPress standards. If it isn’t, then it can significantly slow down your WooCommerce site.
One way that you can do to check if your theme is slowing down your WooCommerce site is to build a backup and then switch it to the default WordPress theme or a Woocommerce-recommended theme.
If your site loads quicker after the switch, you’ll know that there’s an issue with your theme; meanwhile, if your site is still slow, may be due to the plug-ins, you’ve installed.
When choosing a theme for your site, we strongly recommend that you pick one that’s lightweight and optimized for performance. Aside from being highly responsive, the theme should also have a clean codebase that will prioritize speed more than aesthetics.
9. Plenty of externally hosted content
Another issue that can potentially slow down your site is externally hosted content. While this can look harmless at first, your site can be bogged down eventually with its content.
Your site can only be as quick as your external host server and isn’t limited to audio, external videos, and images. Stylesheets and scripts can also be external content because of overused Google Fonts. So, as much as you can, stick with only two font families.
10. You’re using poor plug-ins
Performance issues in your site can also be traced down to your plug-ins.
If you want to know whether or not a specific plug-in is making your WooCommerce site slow, you can deactivate all of your plug-ins. Then, reactivate each one up until you find the cause.
Although there isn’t necessarily a link between the number of plug-ins running on your site and your site speed, it’s so much better to have at least ten well-coded extensions instead of a sea of useless features that bring your site down.
Code quality is important. However, don’t download as many plug-ins on your site. Whenever you can, get rid of the ones that you no longer need.
11. Latest PHP Version on your website is not activated
WordPress is an open-source CMS that’s based on PHP. A server-side scripted language.
Now, tapping into PHP’s latest version can enhance the performance of your store. You can update the PHP version via your web host. Usually, you can find a module on your cPanel. If there isn’t, then you can get in touch with your hosting provider.
Moreover, before you update the PHP version, you can test out the latest version first on a local environment, such as MAMP or WAMP. As soon as you’re done, you can go and make changes to your site.
12. Bad web design
Good site performance always starts with great design. Does your WooCommerce storefront have a huge carousel? Well, the thing is, carousels are virtually useless. Does your WooCommerce site load an HD image or video in the background?
One design agency, Sytian Productions website design Philippines, always tell clients that these design elements directly impact the speed of a WooCommerce store. No one prevents you from integrating these elements into your site. But if site performance is one of your top priorities, you have to make a choice.
Over to You
So there you have it. As you can see, there are plenty of things that can potentially slow down your site. No matter how much time and money you have to invest, there’s always something that you can do to tweak your WooCommerce site, making sure it’s highly optimized.
About our Guest Author: Juliette Anderson is an Outreach Community Specialist who works hand-in-hand with e-commerce stores to achieve optimal sales. Her specialty lies in social media marketing and she has a particular interest in WooCommerce and all things WordPress.
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