Nexcess’ Managed WooCommerce Hosting is designed to make your ecommerce store lightning fast.
Speeding up your WooCommerce store can help prevent customer drop-offs and lost sales —‑ whether you are a store owner on Nexcess’ managed WooCommerce hosting or a WooCommerce store owner not yet ready for a specialized product.
While you might think that improving your user experience comes with collecting more user analytics and including tools like personalization and live chat, these tools and analytics may actually slow your website.
Increasing the speed of your store can positively affect your SEO by improving user experience. In fact, a website that takes longer than 3 seconds to load will be abandoned by 40% of shoppers. A 2 second delay increases bounce rates by 103%. And a delay of even 100-milliseconds impacts conversion rates by 7%. Delayed loading can lead directly to lost revenue, especially during peak times, such as Cyber Monday and Black Friday.
Whether you’re using a shared hosting option, or have not grown to the stage where you require a fully managed option, the 12 powerful changes that we include below can help optimize your WooCommerce site, speed up your store, and improve performance. Best of all, these changes won’t take a lot of time, effort, or cost to implement.
1. Test Your Site’s Current Speed
To speed up your WooCommerce store, you need to test your current speed — and you may need to continue to test the speed as you make changes and optimize your WooCommerce site. By testing the speed, you can be sure that your improvements are working.
If you want a simple approach to testing the speed of webpage, try WebPageTest.
Google’s PageSpeed Insights looks at the content of a page and offers suggestions to make the page faster.
Both of these sites offer more complex metrics and analytics. Google has PageSpeed Tools, which includes protocols and standards as well as performance best practices, and WebPageTest has a tool to capture your user’s visual experience.
2. Make Sure You Have a Fast Theme
Having a visually impressive WooCommerce theme with many built-in features may sound like it will improve user experience. However, these features take time to load. Choosing the fastest WooCommerce theme for your store can be relatively simple.
Before choosing a theme, consider all of the features that you’d like to include in your online store. Write these features down, and rate these features according to necessity. This task will help put you in the place of the user who will come to your store — and help you include only what is necessary for your user to succeed.
Make sure that your theme is fully compatible with WooCommerce — and that it’s a theme that is set up for ecommerce.
The fastest WooCommerce themes are often the lightweight themes, and use a page builder to help you include only the features that you need to speed up your WooCommerce store. You might even do well to start with a free theme. These top WooCommerce themes could work for you.
3. Evaluate Your Existing Plugins, Widgets, and External Resources
Do your existing plugins, widgets, and external resources optimize your site, or do they slow down your WooCommerce store without significantly increasing functionality, optimizing user experience, and ultimately, creating revenue?
To figure out how to speed up your WooCommerce site, take a look at your plugins, widgets, and external resources. Plugins can help improve performance. Widgets and sharing tools can connect your WooCommerce site to social media. External resources might make your site look great, but are they improving user experience?
External resources, such as scripts, style sheets, fonts, or even Google Analytics might seem to help organize your site, however, it’s not always possible to optimize performance for these external resources, and they may slow your site down.
To speed up your WooCommerce store, consider replacing widgets to social media with simple share buttons. These share buttons prevent adding additional HTTP requests and limit internal dependency on DNS queries.
Plugins can be helpful in some areas, but less helpful in others. Consider plugins to compress images, improve checkout and shipping options, reduce cart abandonment, and increase sales. Plugins can also clean up your WooCommerce store database — and a plugin can automate this process. Cleaning up your database may also increase the speed of your site. Check out the WP-Optimize plugin.
Plugins can also slow down your WooCommerce site. Only install the most essential plugins, and remember to check the speed of your plugins.
4. Use Snippets: a Great Way to Make your WooCommerce Store Faster
Code snippets are the foundation of easy, common sense WooCommerce modifications. With the Snippets plugin, you can easily download and install snippets created by others, or author your own. There a number of ways in which snippets can help speed up your WooCommerce store, including adding functionality to your store, or by disabling tasks, areas, or widgets that are not used.
In the examples below, we have removed or disabled items, rather than adding elements to tweak performance. We did this because those tasks take effort, and every unnecessary action that uses backend resources may be impacting the performance of your store.
Note that each of our snippets in this example is tagged. Tagging your snippets makes it easy to stay organized around the changes you make that impact your admin area, WooCommerce, widgets, or your dashboard.
5. Check Out Little Bizzy Plugins
Plugins created by Little Bizzy exist to optimize your WooCommerce store in tiny, meaningful ways. They will disable AJAX cart fragments to help with load times and disable internal and external embeds to speed up page rendering. Again, we are looking to trim excess in order to speed up your WooCommerce store.
6. Take a Look at WP Disable
Optimization.io offers WP Disable, a plugin option that allows you a great deal of flexibility, while being easy to use. Installing the plugin adds an Optimization.iolink to your admin menu, which takes you right into the modification area.
One of the amazing components of WP Disable is the ability to focus on your WooCommerce store specifically, while making overall improvements to other areas of your site with a few clicks. Talk about an easy way to make your WooCommerce store faster!
Let’s look at some examples on the Requests tab, under the aptly titled Remove Excess Bloat section.
7. “Clean” Your Store
Revision checks can slow down your WooCommerce store if you added extensions and created a default revision check on product pages.
Extensions can help, but consider evaluating the performance of your extensions to ensure that they’re relevant and necessary. You might be able to speed up your WooCommerce site by replacing some of extensions with equivalent code. Replacing extensions with equivalent code can also increase performance.
Revision checks on WooCommerce sites are a good place to start. Revision checks allow you to go back and view changes to the product pages. While revision checks can be great, if you’re only making minor changes, such as changing a word or two, those revised copies of your original product page add up and slow down WooCommerce performance. Consider disabling or limiting the number of revisions.
8. Disable Unnecessary Elements
Emojis can be a lot of fun, but they can slow down your WooCommerce site. Unless you specifically want emoji use to be available, they are unnecessary and can be removed as an option just by clicking the Disable Emojis slider.
If you have ever run a GTMetrix or Pingdom performance test on your store you may have seen a suggestion to “remove query strings from static resources.” This is because some servers and proxy servers are unable to cache query strings, and removing them can make your WooCommerce store faster.
9. Host Affiliated Ads and Products
For ads, consider using a single network — or hosting the images yourself. By hosting the images yourself, you have control over ad placement, can optimize the images, and can reduce the DNS queries.
10. Compress Your Images
Images can be a key part of an ecommerce site, but images can significantly slow your site.
Images are a place where plugins can help, however avoid image compression plugins when you can. WordPress offers a link to a plugin that will compress JPGs and PNGs, and with a single API key, you can get up to 100 free image compressions per month.
Consider compressing your images before you upload them to your site. Use JPG format for photos and high-resolution images where you need a lot of detail. Use PNGs for icons, logos, illustrations, and transparent images — basically, most images that that aren’t or don’t need to be JPGs.
GIFS work well for animations. While GIFs can be used for small images, PNGs usually work better.
11. Use DNS Prefetch
DNS Prefetch is an option that lets your site pre-resolve domains for faster load times. When enabling DNS Prefetch you’ll provide a list of domains you commonly link or redirect to. After those domains have resolved, delays in resolving them again are eliminated.
12. Choose Platform Options that Make your WooCommerce Store Faster
All of the tweaks we just discussed have the potential to make your WooCommerce Store faster, but what about WooCommerce itself?
It’s not likely that you need WooCommerce CSS or scripts to run on pages that don’t have WooCommerce elements. Once again, we can disable something unnecessary and gain a lot in performance because your backend doesn’t have to work to load things that are not needed.
The same concept applies to Reviews and Cart Fragments. For each item, all you have to do is click the slider and then save your changes.
Your store may not be hosted on a Managed WooCommerce Hosting platform, but that doesn’t mean you can’t benefit from some of the same options that we use every day. From code snippets to plugins, we believe these tried and true methods can make your WooCommerce store faster.
We Can Take Care of This for You!
When you’re ready for us to take care of these things for you, check out Nexcess’ Managed WooCommerce Hosting.
This blog was originally published in March 2018. It has since been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.