Think of yourself as a shopper looking for chocolates for a gift. When you are on one of the websites, it usually takes forever for the page to load, and it is difficult to find what you are searching for. How do you deal with it? After leaving one store, you go to another.
Speed is an important determinant of the success of an eCommerce site. When customers cannot easily find what they’re looking for within two seconds (if you make it easy to navigate your store), they will go somewhere else. As a result, your products lose potential customers. Why would anyone want that?
This article shows you how to improve the speed of your online store by looking at how quickly your site loads.
#1. Host your site on a high-quality server
It’s crucial to choose a host that is focused on speed since your website relies on it to run well. Feature-rich websites include:
- The server-side caching mechanism
- Resources like bandwidth and RAM are enough to meet your website’s needs
- SSD drives with high performance
- Upgraded software, including PHP and MySQL
If you are using a shared hosting plan, you are often sharing resources with thousands of other users. Choose a hosting company that limits the number of sites per server, or consider upgrading to a VPS or dedicated plan.
#2. Choosing a fast, reliable theme is essential
Obviously, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use a “heavy” theme – you may need the extra functionality or design tools – but looking at both sides is essential. Additionally, many themes give you the option to turn off features you aren’t using, which is an excellent way to balance speed concerns with your site needs.
What does it mean for a theme to be fast? To find out what actual users think, run the demo pages through the speed tools we mentioned earlier. Customer reviews are also available one can check out.
#3. Use a limited number of plugins
WordPress is one of the most flexible platforms due to its plugins. Despite the fact that all of them are good, you don’t necessarily need to install them all.
The impact of plugins on speed can be attributed to:
- The addition of database queries: The front-end of many plugins uses information from your database, which increases server load.
- Hosting resources are being used up: A larger number of plugins means more server resources are consumed. When you exceed the resources on your hosting plan, your loading time will be slower.
The right number of plugins isn’t the only factor to consider – the quality of the plugins is just as important. Consider plugins that perform multiple functions, review the speed and update them regularly, and look for options from reputable sources.
#4. Update WordPress, themes, and plugins
Plugins, themes, and core updates in WordPress are more than just security updates. Their optimized code will often speed up your website.
Make sure you update your software whenever necessary. When it comes to WordPress settings, you can have automatic updates enabled if you don’t want to check often
#5. Image compression
You want your images to be as small as possible because images are some of the heaviest files your server has to handle. The size and quality of the image need to be balanced, however. It’s best not to have blurry product pictures! To get started, follow these steps:
- Select the right format: The best way to upload an image is with a JPEG file, which is smaller than a PNG.
- Ensure that you are using the correct size: Do not upload an image that exceeds 2000 pixels in width if you only have the space to fill with 500 pixels.
- Compress the image: Compressing images lowers their file size by stripping off unnecessary data. The EWWW Image Optimizer and Smush plugins automatically deal with this. Alternatively, you could run your pictures through ImageOptim prior to uploading if you use a Mac.
#6. Load images slowly
Your site may benefit from enabling image lazy loading if it has longer pages or lots of images. A site visitor will be able to view images when they scroll down the page since this functionality automatically delays their loading. As a result, your consumers will not have to wait for your media (or your products) to load before they are able to consume your content!
One of the free features available in Jetpack’s lazy loading feature that can be enabled easily.
#7. Set up a caching plugin
Hosting providers may provide this service on a server level, but plugins such as WP Super Cache may also suffice.
#8. CDN setup
In the case of content delivery networks (CDNs), a network of servers around the world sends information to users. Using its own network, it serves your images, videos, and other assets, reducing strain on your server.
The solution is perfect for stores selling internationally, as well as for stores selling in any country. Suppose your New York servers are visited by someone in India, and it takes them to that New York server to load your site. In contrast, a CDN connects your site to the server closest to the user. All visitors experience the best possible speed through this service.
#9. Be proactive about brute force attacks
Cybercriminals use bots in order to try to gain access to your site using brute force attacks. A minute can be spent testing thousands of username/password combinations!
However, this appears to be a security issue rather than a speed issue.
It certainly impacts security, but when that many attempts are made per minute, it puts enormous stress on the server and can severely slow it down. There is an easy way to protect yourself against brute force attacks. By enabling Jetpack’s free brute force attack protection feature, you can protect yourself from these attacks.
#10. Upgrade PHP and increase memory limits
As you are updating themes or plugins, you are also trying to upgrade your PHP version (the programming language WordPress uses). You can increase the performance of your site with every update.
PHP version is determined by your host, and you can normally change it through your hosting control panel, though your steps might be different. You may also contact customer service to have this done for you.
How about your memory limit?
Your hosting provider allocates your website a certain amount of memory. If you exceed that limit, it will depend on your specific site (WooCommerce recommends at least 128 MB).
Take advantage of every opportunity to sell
Having people who intend to purchase your products lose interest is the last thing you want. It is possible that your website loads too slowly, though.
Optimizing your online store is as simple as a few simple steps. Let’s get started right now before it’s too late!