Is your WooCommerce store a bit sluggish? If you’ve noticed your site loading speed slowing down to a crawl, you’re probably hoping for a quick fix. Unfortunately, there is not a site setting to change from slow to fast. But in this guide on how to speed up your WooCommerce website, we’ll offer our six best tips for optimizing your website’s speed.
Why Speed Matters
Your site speed is one of the most vital metrics of your website’s health and performance. A slow load time could kill your business. Slow WooCommerce sites can negatively impact your site’s conversion rate and search engine performance.
Impact of Site Speed on Conversions
Your customers are impatient. The slower your site is, the more likely customers are to leave before making a purchase.
Next time you’re at the grocery store, watch people as they approach the check-out lines. They scan each lane and try to pick the one they think is moving fastest. The same is true when people are shopping online. The only difference is, instead of getting in a different line, they’ll leave your site and go to another online store.
The key to improving your customer experience and conversion rate is to reduce friction as much as possible. Slow loading sites create unnecessary friction.
How Site Speed Influences Search Results
Search engines, like Google, understand that consumers have short attention spans and will bounce from a site if it’s too slow. Search engines prioritize faster loading sites to ensure their search results are providing the best experience. The slower your site is, the lower it will rank in search results.
7 Tips for How to Speed Up Your WooCommerce Website
Now that you understand a couple of essential reasons a slow-loading site is problematic, here are six tips for how to speed up your WooCommerce Website.
1. Keep It Simple
Most WooCommerce sites experience slowdowns because of all of the bells and whistles on them. These features may allow customers to login from 50 social networks, get highly customized dynamic discounts, and send 32 pre- and post-order notifications, but you don’t necessarily need them all. Is it worth slowing down your site for features you don’t even use? If you are selling three products and haven’t even launched yet, will these features actually increase your sales?
If you cannot clearly state how you plan to use the feature to increase conversion or sales, you probably should remove it. Don’t risk slowing down your site for something you don’t use.
2. Optimize and Compress Images
Loading too many or inappropriately sized images can quickly slow down your site. Image optimization is vital for a WooCommerce site since you’ll likely load several product images on a single page.
To ensure faster loading times, you can:
- Use a photo editor to resize and optimize images before uploading them to your site.
- Use an image serving plugin to resize and compress images automatically.
- Serve images in NextGen formats like WebP. Check out our guide on how to serve images in NextGen formats for details on how to serve WebP images in WordPress.
3. Optimize Scripts and CSS
Loading unnecessary scripts or CSS for your site wastes resources and can cause your site to slow down significantly. This slowdown is especially true for theme-based systems like WordPress and WooCommerce. If you’re not using all of the options or features in your theme, you’re likely loading extraneous CSS or scripts on most pages. For help removing unused CSS, check out our post on eliminating unnecessary CSS from your WordPress site.
4. Check Plugins and Themes
Keep your site’s themes, plugins, WordPress, and WooCommerce up to date to ensure your site runs smoothly. Also, if you’re no longer using a theme or plugin, remove it from your site. If you noticed your site speed decreased after installing a new plugin, try removing it to see if it’s the culprit.
5. Use a Content Delivery Network
A Content Delivery Network allows you to store your website files on servers across the globe. When a user loads your site, the CDN loads content from the server closest to the user, making the load time faster. Your web host sometimes offers CDNs, but in other cases, you’ll purchase a CDN plan from a third party and use a plugin to integrate it with your site.
6. Cache for Scale, Not for Speed
People often treat caching as a magic wand for fixing slow-loading sites. But caching doesn’t make a slow site fast.
First, if you’re not familiar with caching, it refers to temporarily storing a copy of a resource like a page, image, or script instead of making a new request and loading it every time.
Caching won’t significantly impact your site speed if you don’t take the other steps to optimize your site.
When caching can help is when you’re trying to scale your site. Your server can likely handle one server request. But what happens when you get a thousand or a million? By utilizing caching, you can rely on a cache-stored version of a resource and decrease the number of new server requests you make at once.
7. Choose a Reputable Host
Understandably, many business owners look for savings when launching an ecommerce site. But a bargain web host could come back to haunt you. You won’t likely have problems at first because your site won’t get too much traffic. But as your business and traffic grow, the limits of cheaper web hosts become painfully obvious. Your site will start loading slower, or you could get upcharges for going over on your allotted usage.
Investing in a quality hosting provider ensures your servers can handle traffic spikes. If you’re at the point where you’re rapidly growing, consider checking out our Managed WooCommerce Cloud solutions.
How Mindsize can Help Speed Up a WooCommerce Site
If you’re interested in learning more about how to speed up your WooCommerce site, the team at Mindsize is ready to help. We’ve built our business around helping companies make sure their sites function as best they can for customers. Contact us today or schedule a call to learn more about how we can help with your WooCommerce site or other website improvements.