As many as 22% of the top one million eCommerce sites use WooCommerce, making this powerful WordPress store plugin one of the most popular eCommerce solutions on the web.
One of the reasons WooCommerce is so well-loved is because of its wide range of attractive online store creation features, including high-res images and videos, VR animations, and much more.
However, the downside is that many of these fancy features hinder your website’s speed. As you probably already know, a quick web page load time is imperative to the success of your website because:
- You’ll provide visitors with a better overall shopping experience, and needless to say, happy shoppers are more likely to return to make repeat purchases.
- You might benefit from a higher AOV/revenue as shoppers can browse more product pages in less time.
- Search engines prioritize quicker sites, which means potentially more exposure to organic traffic.
To boost your WooCommerce performance, there are a couple of things you need to know. First, you need to measure the speed of your WooCommerce website and understand what a good website loading time looks like. You’ll also need to know what to do and where to look to get the results you need. Sometimes, it can take a while to observe improvements.
A developer may already know how to do all these things. But if you’re not an expert, it can be challenging to know where to start. In light of that, this article will discuss why WooCommerce performance is vital for your business. We’ll also walk you through how to improve your website’s performance, as well as the risks and benefits of doing it on your own versus hiring an expert that will properly handle it for you.
Why WordPress Woocommerce Performance Matters
In the intro, we’ve already hinted at the benefits of speed optimization for your website’s overall success. However, SEO is one of the main reasons to care about your WooCommerce site performance.
If your site is too slow, Google may penalize your SEO efforts for the following reasons:
- Technical reasons: Website speed and performance are crucial to search engine ranking algorithms and search engines automatically measure these values.
- User-related reasons: A slow website is more likely to have a higher bounce rate. This bounce rate signals to Google that your website’s offering a poor user experience and, as such, doesn’t deserve to rank as highly.
The result? A slow WordPress or WooCommerce website could risk you losing exposure and organic traffic and, therefore, revenue.
Everything You Need To Know About Your WordPress Speed Rate
So what’s your site’s speed, and how can you measure it?
The average website speed is three seconds, but you have to do better than the industry standard. Two seconds is considered an acceptable rate, but you should always strive for faster loading times. According to a Google study in 2017, a site with a load speed that goes from one second to three seconds could end up with a bounce rate increase of over 32%! Not to mention, a one-second delay can reduce web page views by 11% and customer satisfaction by 16%.
By now, you might be wondering how quickly your own site performs. This is where a speed test comes into play to measure how fast your site loads. After all, you won’t have an accurate benchmark for measuring your improvement without knowing your current speed rate.
Fortunately, there are tons of plugins that can help you with this, including:
- Query Monitor
- Pingdom Tools
- Google PageSpeed Insights
…these are just a few of the many WordPress plugins available that can help you with this.
After You’ve Measured Your WooCommerce Website’s Speed…
Once you know how quick your WooCommerce website is, it’s time to take action to improve that number. To do this, first, you need to identify what’s slowing your site down and then address these root causes one by one.
1. Clean Up Your WooCommerce Site
Unsurprisingly, cluttered websites result in slower loading times, so regularly decluttering your site is imperative. You can do this by:
- Removing or disabling plugins and extensions you no longer use or that are obsolete
- Ensuring the WooCommerce plugins you use are built to work in your chosen WordPress hosting environment and follow good coding practices.
- Checking for unused scripts and stylesheets. WordPress sites tend to load scripts and stylesheets on WooCommerce themes and plugins, even if you don’t use them. This can clutter up your site’s back-end without you even realizing it!
- Limit or disable revisions to your pages. Luckily, WooCommerce does this by default.
- Cut down on widgets, like social media feeds, or external resources like analytics or marketing tools. If a tool isn’t essential to your business, cut it loose.
- Clean up your database. This includes product pages, categories, tags, user data, reviews, etc. You can also clean out old transactional data, like orders, payments, inventory, and more.
2. Improve Your Storefront Design and Theme
Ensuring your web design adheres to best practices is another way to improve your WooCommerce performance while offering a better user experience. For instance, if you’re not already, take this opportunity to streamline lengthy and complicated user journeys.
- Check your WooCommerce frontend and get rid of any superfluous design elements. Simple design is often best, as it makes your site easier to read and navigate.
- Make sure you’re using a lightweight theme. The perfect website template is good-looking, responsive, and boasts clean code. Check for such functionality in a theme’s description before you install.
- Streamline your checkout process by reducing the number of steps needed or consolidate your checkout page.
- Minimize the number of redirects you have.
3. Check and Optimize Your WooCommerce Shop Page Settings
Avoid page settings and elements that aren’t compliant with speed, for instance:
- Check the ‘add to cart behavior’ of your site. You should tick the box titled ‘Enable AJAX Add to Cart Buttons’ rather than redirect users to the cart page every time they add an item to it.
- Ensure the ‘Placeholder Image’ has a unique ID and holds a picture with a small file size that won’t overwork your server.
4. Image Optimization and Image Compression
The images you upload to your website are sometimes surprisingly large file sizes that can significantly slow down your site.
So, for all photos on your website:
- Replace images that are too large.
- Check image dimensions and resize or compress if necessary while maintaining their quality. There are plenty of plugins available that can help you with this.
- Use suitable image formats. JPG is best for highlighting details and compressing images to a smaller size. Whereas PNGs can be used for icons and logos, where a transparent background is required. In contrast, use GIFs for animations.
5. WooCommerce Hosting
Your chosen web hosting provider can make all the difference to your WooCommerce website’s speed. Some companies even offer web hosting optimized explicitly for WooCommerce. Choose a hosting company with data centers worldwide and has both CDN and SSD storage and utilizes other performance-friendly technologies.
There are tons of different hosting plans to suit an array of pricing budgets. However, your choice will affect your site speed, so keep in mind the following kinds of hosting as you go about making your decision:
- Managed hosting: Managed hosting is often more expensive but can help you boost your WooCommerce performance with additional services, like backup solutions and access to more flexible CDNs.
- Unmanaged hosting: Unmanaged hosting comes without these additional perks. So you’ll need to find your own solutions for page speed and security.
- VPS: VPS hosting means your site is hosted on a virtual private server with its own allocated bandwidth, CPU, and RAM; as such, it’s an incredibly reliable option both in terms of WooCommerce performance and uptime.
- Cloud Hosting: With cloud hosting, you host your website with a provider that has large, remote servers at their disposal. Cloud hosting services enable you to use as much bandwidth as you need to scale your hosting as your site grows. This makes it easy to flexibly adjust the pricing to handle higher traffic surges.
6. Page Caching
A cache’s primary purpose is to increase data retrieval performance by reducing the need to access slower storage layers. As a result, caching is one of the easiest ways to speed up your WooCommerce store. If you have the right smarts you can handle this yourself. Alternatively, you can download a caching plugin. But, your safest bet if you’re unsure about what you’re doing is to hire a pro.
That said, caches can be stored either on your server or on the user’s device; let’s take a look at both options in turn:
In contrast, a browser cache is stored on the client’s side, enabling your WooCommerce site to load faster during repeated viewings. The user’s browser caches all of your eCommerce store’s static content files, making it quicker to load when the user visits again from the same device and internet browser.
7. Make Your Site Mobile-First
The mobile experience is more crucial than ever, significantly since Google has shifted to mobile-first indexing for over 50% of the sites shown in their SERPs! So, check your WooCommerce store’s mobile-friendliness with Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test Tool to see whether your site passes the minimum mobile usability standards.
You should also ensure your site provides a great mobile experience, like:
- Quick login options – for instance, social logins via Facebook, Google, etc
- A responsive eCommerce site with simple navigation. Avoid dropdown menus and forms with too many fields to fill out.
- A one-page checkout
- A choice of different payment gateways like Stripe, Amazon Pay, PayPal, Bolt, etc. that are accessible via mobile.
8. Core Web Vitals
Finally, you can also speed up your Woocommerce performance by ensuring your site meets Google’s core web vitals. It’s essential to understand how these vitals play a part in the performance of your WooCommerce site. You can read more about this topic in a recent article we wrote about core web vitals.
The Do’s and Don’ts of Optimizing Your Woocommerce Performance
Last but not least, let’s cover a few ‘do’s’ and ‘don’ts’ when optimizing your WooCommerce performance:
- Choose a secure but flexible backup solution. Your WooCommerce site will likely store sensitive data, so having a good backup solution that doesn’t impact your WooCommerce performance is vital. A functionality to look for in a high-quality backup solution is the ability to analyze server resources before saving any backup files locally.
- Perform regular speed checks: Regularly run your WooCommerce store through speed checks to gauge your site’s performance from different locations. Remember, your site will get cluttered again and may slow down over time.
- Invest in Woocommerce site maintenance.
- Put looks before WooCommerce performance. With the help of a great WordPress theme, your site may look amazing, but users won’t hesitate to bounce if it takes too long to access your content. Instead, you need to find a compromise between your website’s appearance and store performance.
- Ignore the customer journey. Understanding how customers use your WooCommerce site is the first step to increasing your conversion rate. A customer journey audit lets you see how users interact with your online store. That way, you can see what works and, more importantly, what needs improvement.
Are You Ready to Speed Up Your WooCommerce Site’s Performance?
Never underestimate the impact of WooCommerce performance on your store’s revenue. While you can quickly check your WooCommerce store’s loading speed on your own, finding the root cause of delays and boosting your website’s performance without risking a misstep is another story. So, only attempt performing your own site optimization if you’re confident in your abilities.
Hiring a professional (agency or freelancer) is your best bet to avoid messing with your WooCommerce store and losing revenue. This is where Codeable comes into its own. Codeable is a platform that connects digital pros and WooCommerce business owners like you with vetted and highly experienced experts. Our matching system ensures you’re only introduced to professionals with the right skills and experience to work on your project when you need them.
So, what are you waiting for? Submit your project on Codeable today with no obligations to get started, and bring your WooCommerce performance up to speed.