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If your WooCommerce store is generating $1,000 a day, a 7% loss in conversions caused by a one-second delay could result in $25,000 of lost revenue each year. Don’t just take my word for it, research by Aberdeen Group shows it’s entirely possible.
Slow load times can affect a website in other important ways. Decreased search engine visibility and poor user experience are just a few examples.
However, just because your store is slow now, it doesn’t have to be that way forever. As we’ll cover in this article, there are several easy ways to speed up your slow WooCommerce store, which can be implemented very quickly with the right tools.
Perhaps the most important reason to speed up your WooCommerce store is the impact slow load times have on conversions.
As page load time goes from one second to three, the probability of bounce increases by 53%. It gets even worse the slower your site gets according to Google. There has been other research that backs this up.
If you want more of your visitors to stick around and make a purchase, you must focus on making it as fast as possible.
Another negative impact of a slow site is reduced visibility in search engines. Google has said that they use site speed as a factor when determining where to list a website in its search engine results. If you want to get organic traffic for your store via search engines, site speed must be a part of your SEO strategy.
Finally, slow sites provide a poor user experience. Not only does this contribute to higher bounce rates and reduced conversion rates, but a frustratingly slow shopping experience can also damage your brand.
According to research by Radware, slow load times resulted in a 26% increase in frustration and an 8% decrease in emotional engagement. Moreover, users associated the slow load times with the company and its website, not their internet connection or the device they were using. Radware also found slow load times negatively affected users’ long-term feelings about a company.
Now that you know why site speed is so important, here are five ways to quickly speed up your slow WooCommerce store.
Images have a big impact on site speed.
If the images on your site are too big, both in terms of file size and dimensions, or they’re not saved in the most efficient format, there’s a high chance they’re negatively affecting load times. This can be an even bigger issue for WooCommerce stores as they tend to have lots of product images.
Fixing these problems is known as image optimization, and thankfully, there are several ways you can do this without having to edit each image individually.
1. Image Compression
As part of the image optimization process, your photos and other images must be compressed in a way that reduces their file size without noticeably reducing their quality. While you want them to load quickly, you still want them to look good. Part of this process also involves choosing the most appropriate file formats, such as WebP.
2. Adaptive Image Sizing
Another way that image optimization can deliver faster loading times and a better user experience at your store is by enabling adaptive image sizing. This technique ensures that the images are displayed in the right size, for the browser and device being used by each visitor. You can also deploy preemptive image sizing to speed up rendering when width and height attributes are missing.
3. Image Lazy Loading
Enabling lazy loading is another way to optimize images. When deployed, images on a page aren’t loaded until they’re needed. For example, images below the fold aren’t loaded until just before a visitor scrolls down to that part of the page. The main benefit of this is that the initial page load time is reduced as there’s less content to display. You can find out more about this in our in-depth guide to image lazy loading.
Optimizing your images and how they’re handled at your WooCommerce store is sure to have a positive impact on site speed. If you’re looking for a tool that can do all of the above and more when it comes to image optimization, NitroPack has a comprehensive set of relevant features.
WordPress and WooCommerce are excellent tools for building websites and managing eCommerce stores. However, WordPress dynamically generates your pages each time a visitor accesses them, pulling content from your WordPress database and other sources. While this ensures that your visitors always see the latest version of your content, it can take time for all those elements to load.
A good caching tool will create static versions of your pages so that they load as quickly as possible. A very good caching tool will also keep the cached or static versions of your content up to date to ensure that your visitors still see the latest versions of your pages.
While most WordPress caching plugins will work with sites using WooCommerce, WooCommerce stores have different caching requirements to regular WordPress websites. Some examples include ensuring the product pages and transactional areas of your website, such as the shopping cart and checkout pages, aren’t cached and remain dynamic, rather than static.
If they fail to do this, out-of-date stock level information might be displayed. Even worse, orders might not be processed.
As these are big issues for an eCommerce store, you must choose a caching solution that’s fully optimized for WooCommerce. This will ensure your site loads quickly but doesn’t cause problems for its eCommerce aspects.
The two main options for implementing caching are installing a suitable plugin and using the caching features of your host if it has any. Premium WordPress hosts tend to have their own caching features. However, as WooCommerce has different caching requirements from regular WordPress websites, you’ll probably need to install an additional tool to implement eCommerce-friendly caching at your store.
NitroPack is one such tool. It’s highly WooCommerce-friendly and can be used with some of the best WordPress hosts, including Kinsta, Pagely, and SiteGround, to speed up your slow WooCommerce store. NitroPack will also soon be getting a new feature that enhances how it handles caching for logged-in users and for users that have added items to their cart or wishlist.
Unlike most other caching tools, NitroPack also has a built-in content delivery network (CDN) powered by Cloudflare. Enabling this feature will distribute copies of your website files to multiple server locations around the world. Now, regardless of where your customers are based, they won’t have to wait as long for your website to load.
WordPress websites and WooCommerce stores use CSS to handle formatting and presentation. However, if the CSS itself, and the files that contain it aren’t optimized, then they could be taking longer than necessary to load and slowing down your eCommerce store. The way the files are loaded can also hurt site speed
The right tool can fix many of the issues related to CSS optimization that could be slowing down your store. For example, NitroPack can reduce unused CSS to speed up your store. It can also eliminate render-blocking resources, such as CSS to improve load times as well as use minification and compression to reduce the size of CSS files. It also automatically grabs the CSS needed to visualize above-the-fold content and inlines it.
While CSS takes care of web page presentation, HTML handles page content and describes its structure.
However, although they’re different from each other, similar optimization issues can occur with HTML as they do with CSS. Some examples include bloated files and page elements not loading in the optimal order.
Thankfully, optimization tools, such as NitroPack, can overcome these issues by using minification to strip away dispensable parts from HTML files, such as comments, line breaks, and whitespace. NitroPack is also one of the easiest ways to implement automatic HTML file compression. Both of these approaches reduce the size of HTML files, helping them – and your store -- to load faster.
Once enabled on your site, NitroPack will intelligently combine JS files for quicker delivery, minify code to reduce file sizes, and also compress those files so they take even less time to load. NitroPack will also give priority to the most important scripts, making your content accessible sooner for visitors with slower devices and internet connections. You can easily configure this optimization feature by controlling which scripts are delayed, or just letting NitroPack handle this for you.
While there are lots of ways to enable the above, NitroPack is one option that does all of the above, and more. As it’s fully optimized for WooCommerce stores and works with many other third-party solutions, such as web hosts and other plugins, it should fit right into your stack.
Visit the NitroPack features page to see exactly how this tool can speed up your slow WooCommerce store.
Joe is a freelance writer and blogger who specializes in writing about technology, web design, and online marketing.