In WooCommerce, along with security issues, website speed and performance matters so much to Google, visitors, and conversion rates.
As an online store owner, you should know the fact that if it takes too much time to load a web page in your store, visitors will be likely to close your page to find another store with the web pages loading faster. Consequently, you will lose customers. Besides, speed impacts your WooCommerce SEO a lot.
Let’s dive into our article to see what we have mentioned in detail. In particular,
- why we need to optimize WooCommerce speed
- which factor affects the page load time
- how to speed up WooCommerce stores
- Why WooCommerce speed optimization should be a top priority?
- Which factors affect WooCommerce site load time?
- 11 things to do to speed up WooCommerce stores
- Use a good hosting/server
- Select a fast WooCommerce theme
- Limit the number of plugins, extensions, and external resources
- Reduce your database size
- Optimize WooCommerce images and videos
- Use the latest PHP 7.4 version
- Increase WordPress Memory Limit
- Install a cache plugin
- Add a CDN
- Disable cart fragments, styles, and scripts
- Measure your website speed
- For the final word,
Why WooCommerce speed optimization should be a top priority?
Not everyone is aware of the importance of WooCommerce performance and speed. Below are the reasons why optimizing WooCommerce speed is important.
Speed much affects user experience
Users of Industry 4.0 technologies tend to love fast speed. Therefore, when they are not willing to wait a few seconds to load a page. After that, they are also no longer interested in the content on your website.
It is estimated that:
- 47% of users are willing to wait two seconds to access a website
- 40% of users will close the tab if the website takes more than three seconds to load
- 79% of users won’t re-visit a website with poor performance
- 52% of users believe that website speed directly affects their loyalty
- Increase of every one-second in website load will reduce user satisfaction by 16%.
Speed is a key Google ranking factor
Google always finds all ways to improve the user experience. For this reason, a faster site that brings great satisfaction to users also has a chance to achieve higher visibility on search engines. In other words, making WooCommerce faster is also one of the must-take steps during the SEO process if you want your site rank higher on Google.
You may be also interested in Top 10+ Best Free WordPress SEO plugins for WooCommerce store
Speed impacts conversion rates
The conversion rate of a website comes from customers’ meaningful actions such as viewing pictures, clicking on the links on the page, buying goods, and using services.
According to Hubspot research, you run the risk of losing 7% of your successful conversion rates when the website speed is slower than one second. 51% of online users in the US said they wouldn’t want to make a purchase if the page load was too slow.
In short, a poor user experience cannot lead to a good conversion rate.
Which factors affect WooCommerce site load time?
There are dozens of factors leading to slow website loading. But in general, we find that it depends mainly on the five main factors below:
Hosting and server
The quality of hosting directly affects the loading speed of the website. A high-quality hosting will help the website operate stably, offering fast loading time. The server location where the website is hosted also affects the user experience; therefore, it is important to consider selecting a suitable server location.
One way to find a host that will fit your speed needs is to find a WooCommerce website that loads fast, detect what host it uses by using a site like “HoosHosting.com” and just signup to that host. A pretty simple step that could really improve your site speed.
In this case, they are themes, plugins, and WordPress core that play the main role in operating the website. If you use themes and plugins with many errors or heavy code, it will cause the server to consume a lot of resources (RAM, CPU,…), thus slowing down the website.
With WordPress, you don’t need to do much with the configuration that is located in wp-config.php. However, for whatever reason, you customize or add inappropriate parameters, or install conflicting plugins, then this can cause WordPress not to able to operate smoothly.
Another factor that has a strong impact on website speed is the website’s database, including articles, images, videos, and many others. When the database is too large, your site will get slow. Therefore, database optimization is a must. You can often do it easily with plugins.
They include the programs downloaded from outside such as Fonts, Ads, Emojis, and Gravatars, which also significantly increase page load time. To speed up WooCoomerce stores, you need some solutions to reduce the load time of External Scripts.
11 things to do to speed up WooCommerce stores
Use a good hosting/server
Almost all the speed optimization techniques are aimed at reducing database size while not being able to interfere in the physical server. Meanwhile, the slow loading website is mainly due to poor hosting service.
The fact shows that some websites with very powerful physical servers even do not optimize the database, but their pages still have a load time of around 1.2s. That is enough for you to see how the hosting service affects the speed.
As a WooCommerce store owner who wants to approach customers around the world, you are advised to choose a US server because the majority of traffic comes from there. And Cloudways is the hosting you should consider.
Especially if your website has been built for a long time and got a high traffic volume every month, then switching to VPS is the right thing to do. VPS is much more powerful than shared hosting. In the market today, there are a number of affordable options for you to choose from. Here we will suggest some of the typical names, including Hostinger, A2 hosting, and InMotion.
Select a fast WooCommerce theme
The newbies to WordPress WooCommerce tend to love free beautiful themes. But later on, these themes will reveal many shortcomings in page loading speed and SEO structure. If you want an optimized website, you will need an SEO-friendly theme that can speed up WooCommerce stores.
We highly recommend Woostify, which provides your store with the best speed and performance optimization. Besides, when you come to the premium version, there are numerous plugins and extensions available that are compatible with each other, thus not impacting the website speed.
Limit the number of plugins, extensions, and external resources
While building an online store, many people refer to many websites to see which plugins should be installed. This results in the case that they install any plugins they see from the referred websites without considering whether those plugins are necessary or not. Consequently, tens of plugins are available on the website. Once activated, they will consume resources from your server. Unless your website has a powerful host, the installation of too many plugins will lead to a slow load.
So how many plugins should you install for your WooCommerce site?
Depending on the unique characteristics of each WooCommerce store, you will choose the right plugins. After working with your WooCommerce site for a while, you will have more experience to decide which plugins are needed for your store. As usual, your site should have the types of plugins below:
- WooCommerce Plugin for SEO support
- WooCommerce Plugin supporting Social Signal
- WooCommerce Plugin supporting data backup
- WooCommerce Plugin for security support
- WooCommerce plugin supporting Contact Form
- WooCommerce Plugin supporting image and content slides
- WooCommerce Plugin supporting Page Builder
- WooCommerce plugin supporting tracking/analytics
- WooCommerce Plugin supporting Shortcodes
- WooCommerce Plugin supporting advertising and marketing
You can refer to Top 10+ Best Free Woocommerce Plugins to get some ideas.
Remove unused plugins
This is one of the important steps while speeding up the WooCommerce backend. If your site has any redundant plugins, deactivate them and make sure to delete it completely from the website database. Otherwise, these deactivated ones still take up a certain amount of data and have the ability to affect the page loading speed or admin area.
Besides, it is noted that you need to update your WooCommerce plugins regularly because the outdated versions also can make your site run slowly.
Reduce your database size
In WooCommerce stores, all the data and information, including product pages, user data, themes, plugins, order details, and payments, will be stored in the database in an organized way.
After a long time, the database will contain more and more data while many of them are no longer in use. The unused data often include draft auto-saved product posts, revisions, articles, cookies, and unused plugins or themes. The heavier your database becomes, the slower the queries will work because it has to detect a large amount of data. Therefore, if you want to speed up WooCommerce stores, it is advisable to clean unnecessary data to reduce your database size.
The fastest and safest way to clean up your database is to install a cleaner plugin like WP-Optimize, Advanced Database Cleaner, WP-DBManager, and WP-Sweep.
Note that don’t forget to back up your website database before optimizing the WooCommerce database.
Optimize WooCommerce images and videos
Resize and compress images
When starting with WooCommerce, many people often miss considering regardless of whether the image is heavy or not. But uploading large images directly to the article can lead to hosting downtime and slow page speed, bringing low user experience.
To speed up WooCommerce stores, you should the two image optimization methods below:
1. Optimize images with Photoshop
- Step 1: Choose File >> Save For Web
- Step 2: Adjust the image quality and resize it to make WooCommerce products’ image size matching the display on the site.
After being optimized with Photoshop, your image can be approximately 100KB. Then, you can save the image and upload it to your WooCommerce.
2. Use image compression plugins
Apart from using Photoshop, you can choose to optimize WooCommerce images with an image compression plugin. Some options for you are Kraken.io, TinyPNG, WP Smush, ShortPixel Image Optimizer, Compress JPEG & PNG images, EWWW Image Optimizer, and reSmush.it.
Compared to optimizing images with Photoshop, these plugins will help you save much time because all of them allow compressing a lot of images at the same time.
For example, below is the interface of Compress JPEG & PNG images by TinyPNG. With the free version, you can optimize up to 100 images each month.
Don’t upload videos directly to your WooCommerce site
Similar to images, you can insert videos to your website through Add Media. However, this action is not highly recommended. Videos, especially uncompressed ones, often consume so much bandwidth. A video is at least a few hundred MB in size. If you save many videos on hosting and post them in the articles, your hosting cannot withstand it, especially when more and more visitors come to the site.
Instead, you should embed them. That means you will upload your videos to a third-party site like Youtube or Vimeo, then link to it.
Use the latest PHP 7.4 version
Another effective way to speed up WooCommerce stores is updating your PHP to version 7.4, which comes with high performance and supports your site in all aspects, including website acceleration.
There are lots of hosts allowing updating PHP. For example, with the hosting with cPanel, to change the current PHP version, you visit Cpanel and navigate to Select PHP version.
Next, you just need to select PHP 7.4 version and save it.
Besides, for some hosts like Cloudways, PHP 7.4 is also available for you to use. To upgrade PHP, you select Server Management >> Settings & Packages >> PHP >> PHP 7.4.
In case changing to the PHP version brings your website errors and inaccessibility, the reason is that some plugins on the website are not compatible with PHP 7.4. To solve this problem, you need to delete the incompatible plugins.
Increase WordPress Memory Limit
By default, WordPress provides users with a memory limit of 32MB. But it seems too modest to contain all the data of a WooCommerce store. Then, increasing the memory to 256MB is what you need to learn to speed up WooCommerce stores. You can ask the hosting provider to help you with it. Or you can try one of the tips below:
Add the following code at the end of the wp-config.php file.
define ('WP_MEMORY_LIMIT', '256M');
If your server has PHP cache enabled like Zend Opache, you need to clear it for the change to take effect.
If you can edit the server’s php.ini. Find the value memory_limit
memory_limit = 256M; Maximum amount of memory a script may consume (64MB)
Edit the .htaccess file
If you cannot edit php.ini, you can edit the .htaccess file.
php_value memory_limit 256M
No matter which way you choose, keep in mind that you need to create a backup to avoid the possible risk.
Install a cache plugin
To speed up WooCommerce stores and improve their performance, you also should use a cache plugin that is to save the cache for the traffic that has visited your site, thereby helping the page load for the next visit of that person much faster.
The recommended cache plugins are WP Fastest Cache, W3 Total Cache, and WP Rocket.
Of these names, WP Fastest Cache and W3 Total Cache are free plugins that are widely used. Meanwhile, WP Rocket, which is regarded as the best choice, requires payment. Spending from $49, you can use the great features of this plugin.
Add a CDN
Different geographic locations will bring different experiences of page load speed. This is because the location of your web hosting can affect the speed of the page. For example, if a hosting company has servers located in the US, then visitors in that country will gain faster load time than those from other countries.
For visitors from different geographical areas to load the page faster, you are highly recommended to use CDN (Content Delivery Network), which is a network made up of all servers around the world.
To get the best CDN that can speed up WooCommerce stores, you should check out Cloudways CDN, Cloudflare, Sucuri, StackPath, or KeyCDN.
Disable cart fragments, styles, and scripts
Cart fragments, styles, and scripts are the three features that should be disabled in WooCommerce. The most effective way for disabling them is to use perfmatters plugin.
Disable cart fragments with perfmatters
WooCommerce cart fragments feature is used for updating the cart information without having to reload the page. But, it comes with a loss in performance.
To disable WooCommerce carts fragments, you select “Disable Cart Fragmentation” in the WooCommerce optimization area.
Disable WooCommerce scripts and styles with perfmatters
Once you have WooCommerce installed, it will load scripts and styles on all pages of your website by default. This is definitely not good for website performance and speed.
With the perfmatters plugin, you can now disable WooCommerce scripts and styles anywhere except the product page, cart page, and checkout page. Select “Disable Scripts” in the WooCommerce area.
Measure your website speed
Before learning how to optimize or speed up WooCommerce sites, you need to know how to measure the speed. It is recommended to use the following basic methods:
Test the website speed without a tool
It is so simple to use this method. What you need to do is put yourself in users’ shoes. Typing in the domain name to see the speed of the website. If you feel satisfied with that speed, then your customers who visit your website will have the same feeling.
To check the website speed most accurately, users need to follow the steps below:
- Clear your cache and cookies before conducting the test on a new browser
- Right-click and choose F12 or choose Inspect Element
- Reload the website page
Then, you will see the number of visits and total website loading time. Through these statistics, you can easily assess the website speed and give timely solutions. This measurement is highly accurate while not taking much time and effort. However, it is only applicable to visitors located in the same country.
Use a tool to test website speed
If you want to test your website speed in many different countries, you need to use specialized tools. The three fastest and most accurate tools for checking your website speed are Google PageSpeed Insights, Pingdom, GTmetrix, WebPagetest, and Dareboost.
For the final word,
Speed is in association with user experience, Google ranking, and brand reputation. A WooCommerce site with good speed and performance will bring a lot of benefits to your business.
Thanks for reading our article. Hope that the above tips will help improve your website speed, thereby attracting more visitors and boosting your sales. If you are using any other tips that still help speed up WooCommerce stores, please share them with us!