Time Is Money: Speed Up A WordPress Ecommerce Website

Let’s talk a bit about WooCommerce. This awesome plugin makes building an ecommerce website easier than ever. We can add, change, and delete thousands of items in a minute. However, do you notice that the loading time decreases somewhat?

Loading time is always an important matter to keep your customers coming back to your website. It’s even more significant to those who is running an ecommerce website. Would you like to speed up your website even just a bit? Follow me, I’ll show you how.

1. Remove the unnecessary

It means deactivated plugins, themes, WordPress revisions or even JavaScript code. If you don’t need them, just delete them to prevent further access that potentially makes your website slower.

One small tip related to this one is turning off the revision function of WordPress. Go to wp-config.php in your WordPress folder and add this line:

define('WP_POST_REVISIONS',FALSE);

2. Optimize your database

With the action of adding, removing or changing your items in WooCommerce, your database sometimes stores unnecessary information. Once in a while you should check if there is any.

One effective plugin I would like to introduce is WP-Optimize. It is an extensive WordPress database cleanup and optimization tool. It doesn’t require PhpMyAdmin to clean and optimize your database tables. You can also try others; they all help clean up your WordPress database.

3. Check your theme and code

Sometimes an error in your theme doesn’t shut the whole website down, but it does make your website slow. Go to http://validator.w3.org/. This website is extremely useful. It digs deep in your website and points out any errors in any lines of your code (both themes and plugins). You may be surprised that even a premium theme has errors.

Pingdom is a great tool to see how fast your website loads. It shows every external source that has to be downloaded, such as JavaScripts, CSS files, etc. You can even see the speed of your server if it is the factor that makes your website slow.

4. Find your slow pages

Google Analytics has a function to analyze your page speed called Page Speed (of course). You can see which pages need improving individually.

Insert your URL and here comes the result.

5. Reduce the file size

Consider hosting your images elsewhere, or at least reduce their size. The most common reason for slow loading is because of the file sizes. This is crucial for slow connections or when your customers browse on a mobile device.

One recommended solution is using lazy loading. Lazy loading makes your site load faster and saves bandwidth. This kind of plugins replaces all your post images, post thumbnails, gravatar images and content iframes with a placeholder and loads the content as it gets close to enter the browser window when the visitor scrolls the page. You may try BJ Lazy Load or Unveil Lazy Load.

6. Use cache

It really speeds up the loading time because your customers don’t have to load everything from the beginning. As some may be concerned about privacy, make sure that you let them know your website is using caching.

I recommend W3 Cache to do this job; it’s free and great.

7. Change your host

By using Pingdom as I mentioned above, you can see if hosting is what slows your website. It may be either the hosting itself or because you store too much data on it; then it’s time to upgrade your hosting plan.

If you plan to change your host, WPEngine and Synthesis are two of the fastest hostings for WordPress now. However, please consider your users’ location to choose the most suitable hosting. For instance, if majority of your customers come from Europe, better to not choose a server in Australia.

8. Make a simple website

If none of those above tips works, you should see whether your website is way too complicated. Too many functions, too many columns, blocks, images, etc., could be the reason. A simple website is not ugly! It is sometimes a better choice to make your customers’ experience more enjoyable, because who likes to shop in a maze?

Wrapping Up

There are several factors that could slow your website: hosting, files, code, etc. Speeding up your website is not a one-hour job. It takes many analyses and tweaks, but you can see the result after each step. In order to prevent that from the beginning, be smart with your website building plan.

Have any tips to share? Comment below!

by Chau Cao

Chau is an ordinary person who occasionally has extraordinary thoughts. People often find her innovative, helpful and knowledgeable but most of the time, weird. Deep down she is just an introvert sarcastic foodaholic with a big heart (and stomach) and an open mind. Chau loves writing as much as spending a rainy afternoon with her cat and a cup of tea.

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