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How to Speed Up Your WooCommerce Store for Better Search Performance

by | Sep 3, 2018 | e-Commerce

If you think speeding up your WooCommerce Store isn’t important, then you need to have a rethink.

Even a one-second delay in page load time causes significant drops in page views, customer satisfaction, and conversions. And that’s expectable, since a slow website irritates visitors and prompts them to try out the competition.

And worse, slow-loading pages annoy the search engines. Of course, you know what that means.

So, if you really want your WooCommerce store to rank better in search results and generate more sales and profits, make it run faster.

Here are six proven tips for speeding up your store without necessarily paying top dollars to a WooCommerce SEO company.

1. Do a site speed audit

You can only solve a problem if you can identify and understand its magnitude. So, before you implement any other tactic to speed up your WooCommerce store, check the page load speed of your site and compare with the competition. This will help you understand how fast or slow your store loads.

You can check your site speed using free tools like GTmetrix and Pingdom. Aside showing your page load time, these tools will accurately reveal what features on your site are slowing it down, and they will give helpful recommendations on how to make your site run faster.

By doing a site speed audit, you’d be able to understand what needs to be done, and you’d be able to map out an accurate plan for your speed enhancement efforts.

2. Keep your store updated

Of course, you need to update your inventory as well as product information pages. But here, we’re more concerned about WordPress, WooCommerce, and the other plugins and extensions that keep your store running smoothly. You need to update each of these whenever a new version is available.

By running the latest version of each software or plugin, you’ll not only protect your store from security threats and vulnerabilities in older versions, but you’ll also benefit from newly-added improvements, which usually include speed and performance enhancements.

3. Clean up your database

As with every other website, your WooCommerce store has a database which holds all the important information that helps the site run smoothly. But as your store expands with time, its database becomes bloated with loads of not-so-important information. And when that happens, your site’s speed is affected.

So, to ensure that your site keeps running at optimal speed, clean up your database regularly. You can easily do this with the help of plugins such as WP-DB Manager, WP-Optimize, and WP Clean Up Optimizer.

It’s strongly recommended, however, that you back up your database before each clean up. This will help you to restore your site easily in case something goes wrong during the cleanup process.

4. Compress all images

An online store inevitably has loads of product images. And if the images on your store are heavy, your pages can take ages to load. So, compressing all images that appear on your WooCommerce store is absolutely essential.

Plugins like WP Smush, EWWW Image Optimizer, and Imagify can automatically compress images on your site, reducing their sizes by as much as 70%, yet maintaining their clarity and quality.

Another option is to lazy-load images. That is, set your pages to load only images that are seen by the customer. So, if the customer stops scrolling down at a certain point on your page, images below that point won’t be loaded, seen they are not seen by the customer. WP Rocket is a good plugin for easily adding the lazy loading feature to your store.

5. Use a caching plugin

A caching plugin stores up a static version of your site and loads this version when a customer visits the site again. This way, your product pages will load faster, creating a fulfilling experience for the customer. And interestingly, the customer won’t have the slightest idea that they’re looking at saved pages.

Examples of good caching plugins that are free include W3 Total Cache, WP Super Cache, and WP Rocket. These plugins work well with all types of WordPress websites, including WooCommerce stores.

However, your user account, shopping cart, and checkout pages need to remain dynamic, so you must exclude them from being cached by your caching plugin. Since these pages are crucial to conversions nonetheless, you still have to speed them up by keeping them as light as possible.

6. Use a CDN

A CDN (content delivery network) works by distributing static versions of your site content across servers located all over the world so that visitors from far geographical distances can load your site quickly.

Just so you know, the geographical distance between a website’s servers and visitors does affect site load speeds. Ordinarily, a site loads fastest for visitors whose locations are closest to the server hosting the site.

So, to prevent your site from loading slowly to visitors from remote geographical locations, a CDN displays your site’s static content that is already stored on the server closest to each visitor’s location. Examples of reputable CDNs include Cloudflare, Amazon CloudFront, and KeyCDN.

Wrapping up

Having a fast-loading WooCommerce store is essential — not just for ranking well on Google and other search engines, but also for increasing sales and profits.

By implementing the few steps explained in this post, you’d be able to increase your store’s load times significantly without having to get your hands dirty with technical coding or hiring experts at huge costs.

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