If your site doesn’t load quickly for visitors, you’re missing out on sales. In fact, your conversion rate can decrease by 7% for every second your site takes to load — that’s a lot of lost customers!
Focusing on website speed is well worth the effort, but it doesn’t have to be time-consuming or difficult. Let’s take a look at a few ways you can optimize your WooCommerce store.
1. Compress your images
Images are some of the “heaviest” website files, so they can have a major impact on site speed. The more you compress your images, the faster your pages will load. But, of course, you also don’t want to sacrifice quality. The key is proper image compression and optimization. Here are a few tips:
- Save images in the correct format. JPEG is usually the way to go!
- Resize images before uploading them to WordPress.
- Compress images before uploading them to WordPress.
For more details, check out this step-by-step guide to image optimization from WooCommerce.
Want to skip over all these steps? Jetpack’s CDN handles image optimization for you, so you can be completely hands-off.
2. Use a content delivery network
A content delivery network (CDN) is a network of servers strategically distributed around the world. It takes the strain off of your host by downloading images, videos, and other assets from your site and serving them through its own network.
This is particularly useful for international stores. Let’s say that your website server is located in Seattle, Washington, but you have customers in England, China, and South Africa. Typically, your host would load your site from Seattle, no matter where shoppers are located. But a CDN loads your store from the server that’s closest to each individual customer. This means that everything loads quickly for all visitors, no matter where they’re located.
3. Implement lazy loading
If a page has a lot of images, a browser typically has to load every single one of them — even those below the visible area on the screen — before a site visitor can view that page. The more images you have, the longer this takes.
Lazy loading speeds things up. With lazy load, images are only loaded when the site visitor scrolls to view them. Customers can view your products and pages a lot faster, and you’ll end up collecting more sales.
Jetpack offers lazy loading images for free and provides a smooth, uninterrupted experience for your customers.
4. Speed up your videos
Video files are even heavier than images. By hosting them with a third party — like YouTube or Vimeo — you can take the weight of those files off of your website. But with those third parties come fees, ads, and competing videos that can drive shoppers to other stores.
But Jetpack video hosting solves all of those problems. Embed high-speed, high-quality videos in your posts and pages without any ads or third-party branding. Now, you can share videos of your products in action without having to worry about slowing down your site.
5. Reduce the number of plugins on your website
The more plugins you have installed, the more you need to worry about security breaches, time-consuming maintenance, and decreased performance.
Each time someone visits your site, a request is sent from their browser to your server, then back to their browser. The more active plugins, the more requests, and the more work the browser has to do before the page loads.
So get rid of any plugins you aren’t using and, whenever possible, choose ones that provide multiple features. Jetpack is a great example of this — it offers security, speed, marketing, and design functionality all in one package!
6. Add caching
Every time someone loads your online store, their browser downloads all of the data from your site, which can take a while. But when you enable caching, their browser will save a copy of your content, so that the next time they visit, your site will load much more quickly.
Many hosting providers offer caching at the server level, but there are also WordPress plugins, like WP Super Cache, that take care of this for you.
7. Speed up search functionality
To keep customers happy, you should make it as easy as possible for them to find what they’re looking for. And the more products you have, the more difficult this can be.
Jetpack Search provides everything you need for fast, effective search functionality. It’s both powerful and flexible, displaying highly-relevant results to your shoppers. They can filter by categories, tags, dates, and more, and get real-time, instant results without having to reload the page. Learn more about site search for eCommerce.
8. Consider a hosting upgrade
The host that you choose plays a big role in how quickly your site loads. For example, when you create a shared hosting account, the resources that you’re allotted (like memory, bandwidth, and RAM) are divided up between all of the sites on the server. If any of those sites have a sudden surge in traffic, they can use up the remaining resources and, consequently, slow down your store.
Choose a host that limits the number of sites they have on each server. Or consider purchasing a VPS plan or dedicated server, where you have access to more resources.
9. Update everything
Updating all aspects of your site isn’t just an important security consideration; it’s also critical for speed. Make sure that WordPress core, along with your theme and plugins, are always updated to their latest version.
To make things easy, you can turn on auto-updates through Jetpack, and you’ll never have to worry about remembering again!
Improve speed, increase sales
Speed is incredibly important for online stores, especially if you attract customers from all over the world. Even the slightest improvement in load time will help you slash bounce rates, boost conversions, and climb the search engine rankings.
But it doesn’t have to be hard. Jetpack provides an entire suite of speed tools that you can activate without the need for complicated code.