Last Updated on January 21, 2022
In an eCommerce store speed is one of the most important factors which can either make your business highly profitable or can dump it. Speed is vital to provide a better user experience, improving SEO, increase the ROI, and satisfy your customers. You can’t expect to run an online business without proper speed.
Do you know that nearly 58% of the users will abandon your site if it takes more than 3 seconds to load? Among which 40% of the customers will never return to your site.
In this article, we will discuss how to speed your WooCommerce store and many other aspects related to it.
How Does Speed Impact The eCommerce Business?
In today’s time, when high-speed internet is available to almost every person a blazing fast speed of a website has become a necessity. With speed, the site is subjected to increased search engine rankings, optimized conversion rates, and improvements in sales. Here are some stats to chew on:
- 73% of the internet users have been on a site which took too much time to load
- A 1-second delay in the website loading can result in a 7% reduction in conversions
- An ecommerce site making $50,000 per day could potentially lose $1.25 million in sales every year from that 1 second extra time in loading
- Conversion rates on your ecommerce store increase by 74% when page load time improves from 8 to 2 seconds
- 73% of customers will not return to your site if it doesn’t load on their mobile device
It is not like that the ecommerce merchants can’t even identify whether the site is slow or not. There are many free tools available which they can use to identify the speed. The common problems for the slower site are these:
- Unoptimized bulky images
- Content served without HTTP compression
- Too many CSS image requests
- No caching information
How To Measure WooCommerce Store Speed?
Do you know that WooCommerce, one of the most popular CMS for developing ecommerce sites has been downloaded more than 88 million times?
And now it is used in more than 5 million eCommerce stores. You don’t have to give any extra fee or commission for using WooCommerce.
If you can’t measure the speed, then you wouldn’t be able to improve. It is essential to know how to gauge the improvements when you are trying to speed up your WooCommerce store.
How To Speed Up WooCommerce?
After getting a speed test report, you will get the potential loopholes and the ways by which they can be fixed for a WooCommerce store. Let’s get started!
1. Start with the Settings in WooCommerce
Let’s begin with the basic settings. Firstly, change the URL of the login page. In WordPress, by default, the site’s login URL is domain.com/wp-admin/. Yes, it is easy to remember, but everyone knows this URL including the hackers.
Changing the default URL to a custom URL will protect you from brute force attacks. It is also great for combat rate-limiting HTTP errors such as too many 429 error requests.
If you have included a blog section in your site then you can also limit the number of blogs listed on the blog listing page. While WordPress has set the default limit of 10 blogs, you can even reduce this. This may initially seem trivial, but it will improve the performance if you are running a high-traffic blog. You can find the option in WordPress Dashboard -> Settings -> Reading
You can also disable the pingbacks on your site. They usually generate worthless spam. If there are a lot of comments on the posts or pages then you can also break them into smaller chunks. You can even disable them by WooCommerce -> Settings.
2. Get a Faster Theme
While deciding the speed of the site WordPress theme, matters a lot. You can find hundreds of thousands of themes for WordPress, hence it is challenging to find the right theme for your WooCommerce store.
For a WooCommerce store, the theme shouldn’t be limited to just its attractiveness but also be compatible with WooCommerce properly and comes with great speed. Some of the popular themes are Divi, Avada, etc. These are ultra-fast, lightweight WooCommerce compatible WordPress themes. Before deciding on a theme, you can list down all the features that you will require in your ecommerce store. Thereafter, start searching for a theme which are satisfying the maximum requirements.
3. Go Easy on Plugins or WooCommerce Extensions
There are more than 54,000 plugins in the WooCommerce repository. You can find a lot of premium plugins that are not free. It is easy to carried away and install dozens of them. However, install maximum plugins doesn’t make your website exciting but can surely reduce the speed of it. There are many plugins that even don’t work with certain hosting environments. Most of these plugins are performance and security related.
When the coding is not properly done a plugin install will cause a performance issue. A few plugins even create conflicts with other plugins. When you have dozens of plugins then there are more chances of conflict between the plugins.
4. Increase the Memory Limit of WordPress
By default, WordPress gives you 32 MB of PHP memory. If it runs into any crunches, it’ll automatically try to increase this limit to 40 MB (for a single site) or 64 MB (for a multisite). Generally, the memory limit is not enough for running a WooCommerce store. An error message can also arise on the dashboard such as:
Allowed memory size of xxxxxx bytes exhausted
It would be better if you increase the memory limit to 256 MB. Take the backup of every file before editing it. So, if something goes wrong you can change the edited file to the original one.
5. Compress Images & Optimize Delivery
The high-quality images are very attractive to the customers however there is a back fall. These images are too much in size and take a lot of memory. If you don’t optimize these images for size & delivery, the images will slow down the site.
HTTPArchive tracks web page size & quantity. While videos are heavier than the images they don’t slow the site as much as the images do because they are loaded on-demand in most cases. As per a report, you can save 545 KB per page by lazy-loading hidden and offscreen images. If you compress the JPEG level to 85 or lower, then you can save 40.3 KB per page. Some of the other methods that you can use to optimize the images are:
- Choose the proper format for images such as JPEG, PNG, etc.
- Use the right tools for compressing images without compromising the quality
- Use responsive images for better experiences across multiple devices
- Lazy-load offscreen and hidden images
Here are some of the plugins that can help you compress and scale images for WooCommerce optimization:
6. Static Resources Delivery via CDN
CDN stands for Content Delivery Network. These are the group of servers that are dispersed demographically across the world. The locations of these servers are known as Points of Presence (PoPs). The main function of the CDN is to cache and deliver static resources to nearby users. This includes images, JS, CSS, etc. Some powerful CDNs are even able to host & deliver dynamic content as well.
Regardless of the speed of your server on which your site runs, the speed will be limited by its geographical location. A CDN decreases the distance between the server & the users and thus improves the speed.
It will determine from the request is coming from and then assign the nearest CDN to deliver the data. It will result in a faster site and a better user experience. Some of the popular CDN that you can use are:
7. Strip Unused Scripts & Stylesheets
Generally, most of the WordPress themes and plugins load scripts and stylesheets on the pages of your site. They load these assets even when they are not used on the page.
For e.g. Contact Form loads its scripts or stylesheet on every other page. The forms would be used only on the contact page but the assets get a load on other pages as well which are not even necessary. Stripping these scripts & stylesheets will reduce the bloat and speed up the page times.
Also in the payment mechanism, it is unnecessary to load scripts of payment gateways on the homepage of your site or any other page. You have to restrict these scripts to load only at the checkout and order confirmation pages.
8. HTTP/2 is Highly Required
A few years ago it was mostly termed as “Reduce the number of HTTP Requests”. After so many improvements in the browsers, this need has now become obsolete.
The first major update in the HTTP protocol was HTTP 1.1, in 1997. It is even before social media, video or audio streaming, smartphones, but thereafter we have seen a huge growth in the web. HTTP/2 has been improved upon the HTTP 1.1 protocol in 2015. It was essential to meet the increasing demands from the internet. With this protocol, we get amazing speed, efficiency, and security. There are multiple reasons for this:
- On a single TCP connection, there is better multiplexing and parallelism.
- Huffman coding algorithm for HPACK compression of headers
- ALPN extension for faster encryption
- Proactive server pushes instead of waiting for requests
Hence, switching the site to HTTP/2 will help the WooCommerce store to serve resources such as images, audio, video, with more speed.
9. WooCommerce Cache for More Speed
Caching simply means to temporarily store the resources on the first request so that they can be served quickly on another request. The cache can be stored either on the user’s device or on the server. It is one of the most important one or easiest way of speeding up your WooCommerce store. This is how caching works:
- 1. The user will make a request on the browser for a site.
- 2. The browser will make a request to the browser for serving an HTML Page. A DNS server handles this.
- 3. The webpage will then be returned by an application such as WordPress, Magento, etc. hosted on a web server.
All these steps will take a few seconds. But these steps are for one user. When thousands of users will perform the same step then there will be too much load on the site. This is where caching comes to the rescue. Caching doesn’t only increase the website speed but also reduces the load on the server. Here are some of the caching plugins that can help improve the loading time of your WooCommerce store.
10. Clean Up the Database of Your WooCommerce Store
Ever wondered where all the data of a website gets stored? Well, it is the database. A database in a WooCommerce store includes:
Content of the site such as product pages, categories, users data, tags, reviews, etc.
Transaction data such as order details, payments, stock, etc.
Whenever the users visit your site, they request for the content of your site, which is generally static and doesn’t change a lot. However, while purchasing an item they make dynamic requests. Optimizing the database will quickly serve these requests, else it will lead to a poor user experience. Hence, you must clean up and optimize the database by removing unnecessary junk data. Some of the different ways to clean up the database are:
Old Revisions Deletion
If it has been quite a while since your WooCommerce store has been up, then the pages, posts, and other content must be filled with old revisions. You must clean them.
Limit the storing of revisions
By limiting the storing of revisions you can avoid having a lot of unnecessary revisions of posts and pages. If you’re prone to updating your site content often, this will help you keep revisions from going out of hand.
Ultimately Disabling Revisions
If you don’t require revisions then you can disable them from the site. You just have to add this code to the wp-config.php file. As before, ensure that you add this snippet above the line where ABSPATH is defined.
Clean up Expired Transients
The cached data stored with a custom name and an expired period is called transients. You can find them in the wp_options table in the WordPress database. If you want to get rid of these expired transients then you can use the plugin Delete Expired Transients which is absolutely free.
Database Tables Clearance
The database in the WooCommerce stores almost everything as we mentioned above. But over a period of time, the data gets added, removed, and moved in between the tables, and it becomes inefficient. Hence, it is better to clean unnecessary data by cleaning up your database tables.
You can use one of these WordPress plugins to clean up your database and reach closer to your goal of an optimized WooCommerce store.
11. Optimizing Store for Mobile Devices
Do you know that in today’s time there are more than 4 billion mobile users across the world? And the number can grow up to 5 billion + by 2024. The indication is that there is huge global traffic for mobile devices, and hence your WooCommerce store should be optimized for mobiles, smartphones, or tablets. Surprisingly, the conversion rate from mobile devices is less than half that of desktops. You can use Google Mobile-Friendly Test to know whether your site fulfills the minimum mobile usability standards.
After this test, you will also know, how your website looks on a mobile device. For making your site mobile-friendly, you must use a responsive theme. Remember, mobile users don’t like too strong miles in a page, hence keep it as lean as possible.
12. Disable Get Refreshed Fragments AJAX Request
Whenever a user makes any change in the shopping cart, WooCommerce makes use of Get Refreshed Fragments AJAX request for updating the shopping cart contents dynamically. However, most of the time it slows down the website, mostly those which are hosted on the shared servers. But if you disable this request, then it is recommended to enable an option “Redirect to the cart page after successful addition” in the WooCommerce -> Products settings panel.
In this article, we have learned about different useful strategies that are highly useful to optimize the speed of your WooCommerce store. You can’t just forgo the speed of your website because it is one of the most important user experience points, helps in the SEO of your site, and gives you many other benefits. At Emizentech, the best eCommerce development company in India, we are having expertise in developing WooCommerce stores that are speed optimized and work flawlessly.