Have you ever been waiting to purchase a product at a physical storefront, however the waiting line was so long that you chose to leave instead? This mentality isn’t exclusive to physical retailers, people visiting WooCommerce sites face the same dilemma.

WooCommerce is a free eCommerce plugin built to integrate seamlessly with WordPress. It allows you to sell products and services online from your WordPress site. Made popular by its simplicity to install and customise, it now powers 39% of all online stores.

Did you know a 2-second delay in website load time can increase abandonment rates by up to 87%? This means your WooCommerce website needs to be fast in order to gain as many paying customers as possible.

To help you improve the speed of your WooCommerce site we’ve put together a few tips for optimal performance.

 

Choosing the correct host

The first step in improving the speed of your WooCommerce site is choosing a host that can handle your site. You need to make sure your website loads as fast as possible because first impressions are key to survival on the internet. Choosing a reliable host can keep your site running smoothly; if the hosting service is using old, low quality computer this will affect your website performance.

 

Optimize images to improve load speed

Images that have not been optimized increase page loading times, which can not only frustrate visitors but have an adverse effect on search engine rankings. Optimizing your images will reduce your website page loading times, reduce bandwidth and improve browsing experience for visitors.

You can compress the images for your site quickly, using Photoshop or a web tool like TinyPNG.

 

Make use of a content delivery network

Content delivery networks (CDNs) are also a helpful tool to improve user experience if your customers are both local and international. Although businesses should be hosting their site where their primary target market are, CDN’s are a great way to help reach other target markets. A CDN allows users of your site to download content from a closer source, providing a faster loading time on your website pages.

CDNs like CloudFlare offer free plans ideally for small stores, however paid plans can also be purchased if your store is rapidly growing.

 

Always keep up-to-date

It may seem time-consuming to constantly be updating your WooCommerce site and its extensions, however avoiding the process for too long could put your store at risk.

There are constant improvements being made to enhance speed, as load performance is an area that is of high importance. If you are able to keep all installed extensions up to date, you will reduce the risk of encountering conflicts that could potentially slow down your WooCommerce site.

 

Evaluate new and existing WordPress plugins and WooCommerce extensions

A site’s sluggishness may be related to the plugin load, as different plugins impact your websites load time in different ways. It is important before installing a new plugin to consider if the plugin is necessary for your site, if not it may unnecessarily add to your plugin load and slow your page loading times. To test if a plugin may be affecting the speed of your store, you can temporarily disable all plugins and reactive each one by one until you find a potential cause. Always ensure that you are evaluating plugins before they’re installed to ensure that they are the best solution.

 

A fast store has benefits for everyone. If reading these tips has sparked some question around the speed that your website may be performing at, Italic have a “WordPress Speed Boost” package available.

You can find out more at italiccreative.com/wordpress-speed-boost/.