Speed is extremely important with anything internet related, and even more so if you have an online store. A slow loading time can cost you sales and a drop in SEO. Because of this, it’s important to check your website’s speed every once in a while to make sure everything runs optimally. Here are some tips to get the fastest WooCommerce store possible.
Check Your Site’s Speed
Several free resources can run a speed test for your website and tell you whether you need to work on smoothing out some rough spots. These include sites such as PageSpeed Insights and the Pingdom Website Speed Test. Visiting these sites provides you with a free data that can help you figure out how quickly your page runs when compared to similar websites, such as those run by your competitors. You can also find out what is causing the lack of speed, and split test different plugins to see which work the best.
Choose a Caching Plugin
Caching allows computers to use memory more efficiently and load sites faster. WordPress offers several useful caching plugins that you should consider looking into. WP Rocket provides fast setup and an intuitive user interface, but some users get intimidated by the number of settings the program offers. W3 Total Cache can be especially useful if you have a lot of images to optimize, but can be complex to setup and run effectively if you don’t have a lot of experience. Comet Cache doesn’t offer as much of a speed boost as these other programs, but does offer a one-click solution to most loading issues.
Pay Attention to WordPress Updates
WordPress updates frequently, and some of these updates can cause issues on your website. The phasing out of certain themes, for example, might cause disruption if you make a change only to find that the theme you want to go back to is now a thing of the past. Watch the WordPress main page and pay attention to make sure that you stay aware of any major system updates.
Update Your Site Regularly
Linked to the advice above, make sure you keep your own website constantly updated with new content and products. By providing a regular stream of content to your website, you can take note of when WordPress makes tweaks that may affect your site in a negative way. In this case, the constant stream of content lets you keep tabs on issues and catch them before your customers do, allowing you to act fast and change things appropriately.
Most WordPress themes only show a limited number of articles until the user scrolls to the bottom of the screen. This is done to keep loading times for large stores and blogs manageable. You can take this philosophy one step further by creating excerpts for your content that require customers to click or tap “read more” to see the whole article, speeding up your site in the process.
Split Reviews into Multiple Pages
Hopefully, your site garners a lot of customer reviews. Unfortunately, every review you have at the bottom of your content slows down the loading time just a little bit. If you restrict the number of reviews that are immediately available and have them broken out in a number of different pages, you can reduce the loading time issues they cause. Don’t worry – customers who want to read the reviews can and will still access them.
Avoid Uploading Videos Directly to WordPress
A lot of different plugins offer you the ability to upload video content directly to your WordPress site. Avoid doing this if you can, as that places the loading burden fully on your server. Using online streaming services like YouTube or Vimeo for video content keeps things moving faster.
Test Different Themes
WordPress has thousands of different themes, and it’s worth keeping an eye on them when new ones come out. While you shouldn’t change your site all that often, checking out new themes gives insight as to how quickly they load compared to what you have now. When in doubt, look to go with the faster theme.
Back Up Your Site
While this isn’t a direct tip, no matter what sort of tricks you use to improve your website’s speed, creating a reliable backup is absolutely essential. Always back your site up before you start tinkering. That way, if the speed boost doesn’t go the way you expected, you can always revert to what worked well.
Speed helps you stay ahead when it comes to both customer engagement and sales. By using the advice provided above, you can shave precious seconds off your loading time and keep customers happier throughout the shopping experience.