Several critical factors contribute to the success of an ecommerce business. But even if you have in-demand products, competitive prices, and outstanding customer support, it’ll be incredibly challenging to gain good patronage if your online store performs poorly in the first place.
If you’re running your online store on WooCommerce, there’s a lot you can do to optimize your site for maximum conversions. By simply making use of a few tried and tested methods WooCommerce plugins and following some ecommerce best practices, you can improve your store’s performance, boost site speed, and make sure everything runs smoothly so visitors are encouraged to buy.
The Value of Optimizing Your WooCommerce Store’s Performance
Your website’s performance directly impacts the success of your business. In general, ecommerce sites are advised to keep their website loading times at three seconds or fewer in order to minimize the risk of losing customers. According to an ecommerce performance report by Retail Systems Research, you lose up to 7% of your conversion rate for every additional second it takes for your site to load. So, every incremental improvement in your web latency could mean a significant increase in your revenues.
But apart from having an online store that provides excellent experiences to your shoppers, ecommerce optimization offers an additional, barely recognized yet equally valuable advantage: SEO. According to the Search Engine Journal , site speed isn’t just one of the most common reasons for a high bounce rate but also a critical factor in Google’s ranking algorithm. So, working on your site’s performance doesn’t just boost your conversion rates but also aids in increasing the number of shoppers you could convert.
5 Best Practices to Boost Conversion for Your WooCommerce Store
Most business owners have become overly preoccupied with aesthetic design and novelty features. While those undoubtedly affect your customer experience, it’s essential to first make sure that your store performs well enough for your visitors to appreciate those extras. Here are five things you can do to optimize your WooCommerce store and help you achieve the best possible conversion rates:
1) Select the Right WordPress Hosting Service
There’s so much advice on getting the best deals for WordPress hosting, but keep in mind that a web host that’s suitable for low-traffic blogs likely won’t be enough for an asset-heavy WooCommerce store. As with any ecommerce site, your WooCommerce store should not just facilitate fast loading speeds but also be able to deal with traffic surges.
Depending on your budget and level of business activity, a Virtual Private Server (VPS) might be your best option. A VPS, such as those provided by KnownHost , gives you dedicated resources, which ultimately gives you better power, performance, and control. But for the average ecommerce store, a suitable shared hosting plan like those offered by SiteGround is enough.
SiteGround offers WordPress-optimized plans and even has Managed WooCommerce Hosting packages. If you often worry about intermittent traffic, you might also consider their Managed Cloud Hosting plans which, apart from dedicated resources, also provide an auto-scale feature that prevents downtime and customer loss that can often be caused by unexpected surges of traffic.
2) Utilize a Content Delivery Network (CDN) Service
The physical distance between your server and your visitor also affects your website’s loading time. Loading will generally be longer when the distance is larger, regardless of internet speed. When you have a local audience, it’s easy enough to select a web host with a nearby server. But when you have an international audience, that’s not really a sensible solution.
Thankfully, there are now services called content delivery networks (CDN) that address this issue. These services use data centers in various parts of the world to store copies of your web pages. Then, the CDN essentially redirects every visitor to the nearest copy, consequently cutting down loading times significantly.
Cloudflare offers one of the most popular CDNs for WooCommerce sites. It is popular not just because it offers a free tier but also because it’s available as a plugin that makes it incredibly easy to set up for any WordPress site. Cloudflare also offers paid plans that come with a variety of features, including lossless image optimization for further improvements in loading speeds.
3) Set Up a Local Caching Solution
Thousands of PHP functions come in to play every time someone—whether a bot or a human being—tries to load your website. Those functions also communicate with your database. All these processes take time and affect your online store’s performance. While CDNs speed up loading times by shortening the distance between your server and your visitor, setting up a local caching solution optimizes your site even further.
Comet Cacheis possibly the most commonly used caching solutions for WooCommerce stores. It is available as a WordPress plugin that makes it unbelievably easy to set up. Plus, it works out of the box for the average ecommerce site and is simple enough to configure if you need certain customizations.
4) Optimize Your Product Images
Images are essential to a modern, visually appealing, and engaging website. For ecommerce stores specifically, both the quality and quantity of images could directly affect your sales. But having multiple high-quality product images could affect your website’s performance significantly. It pays to optimize every image you use to minimize file sizes and improve your overall loading time.
Image compression services like TinyPNG are useful for compressing images without affecting quality. Such services are free but might not be practical for ecommerce sites that need to be constantly updated with new products. For such sites, WordPress plugins like WP Smush are more convenient since image optimization can take place automatically as you upload them.
5) Keep Your Database Clean
Your database stores your entire WooCommerce store. Over time, it can become cluttered as it stores non-essential data like old drafts, deleted posts, spam comments, and similar content. It will also store expired transient options, trackbacks, and pingbacks. Although these might not seem very consequential, every effort to optimize your online store’s performance might make a difference in your sales.
WP-Optimize is among the most useful WordPress plugins to ensure the efficiency of your database at all times. Apart from getting rid of all unnecessary data on a regular basis, it performs other optimization functions like defragmenting MySQL tables. This plugin also has caching and image compression features.
Even a 1-second improvement on your web latency can affect your bottom line significantly. Thankfully, WooCommerce makes it easy to optimize your store to maximize conversions. Start by choosing the right web host in the first place and then taking advantage of services that are available to you. That includes a CDN and a caching solution. Then, make sure all your images are optimized and your database is kept clean.
Through these best practices and the use of selected WooCommerce plugins, you can make the most out of your ecommerce presence on WordPress. You’ll be able to keep your target audiences on your online store and provide an excellent shopping experience that will keep them coming back for more.