Tips For Speeding Up Your E-Commerce Site

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Imagine being in the longest line in a store and the frustration you feel when all you want to do is pay and leave. When you transfer that to an eCommerce store, you’re talking about not just one frustrated, unhappy shopper, but hundreds, maybe thousands.

Google states that increased page load times could mean as much as 20 percent less revenue, according marketing consulting firm MakeThemClick.com. If you want to minimize your losses, there are a few steps you can take.

Cache Your Pages

If you’re getting a significant flow of traffic, that’s great but that puts your site at increased risk of becoming more sluggish, or even crashing. Apart from having a great web host, you may want to consider caching your pages. Because WordPress is so dynamic, every time any page loads, it has to make multiple queries. Multiply that by multiple users and you’ve got a problem. What you can do is use a free plugin such as WP Super Cache or W3 Total Cache to serve static pages to users to reduce the load time.

You could even use a HTTP accelerator like Varnish. That’s what we use here at RefuGeeks, and as you can see, our site is pretty fast. Considering we get around 4,000 unique visits a day, that’s pretty good going.

Optimize Your Database

In addition to caching, you need to figure out how to optimize your database. When dealing with eCommerce for WordPress sites, that means in addition having more static pages, you need to make sure you get rid of any orphaned database information that’s floating around.

Database queries go row by row to get the information needed. When you have multiple rows that are no longer necessary, such as discontinued products or any irrelevant site information, that’s extra work the database doesn’t need to do. There are several plugins you can use to do it for you. However, if you’re hesitant to add another plugin to the fray, you can manually open a session in phpMyAdmin, go into your database, check all rows and select the optimize table option.

Optimize Your Pictures

Your pictures are critical to your product listings but the better the resolution, the heavier the picture. Even if you compress them before you uploaded them. If you have a number of pictures you have on your site means that you’ll need a plugin like WP Smushit. From the minute it’s loaded, it begins making sure that your pictures aren’t negatively affecting your load time. Even if you post new pictures, they will automatically be optimized and ready for both desktop and mobile users.

Do A Plugin Check

If you’ve done all you can for your eCommerce site and still see it’s slow, you may have a plugin that’s too resource intensive. There are two things you should do. You can first take a look at your page speed by checking out Google PageSpeed Insights to see how your site runs on mobile and desktop.

Next, you can use the P3 Profile plugin, that will show you a pie chart of any plugins that are slowing your site down. In many cases, that plugin may not be as necessary as you once thought it was and can be deactivated. Once you do that, you could see load time shaved by 0.3 seconds or maybe even half a second, which will make a significant difference.

The great thing about the P3 Plugin is that you can use the initial scan as a baseline and run it a few times a year especially during the holidays, when you expect even stronger sales.

Do you have any more tips for optimising an e-commerce web site? If so, feel free to leave your nuggets in the comments below.

Tips For Speeding Up Your E-Commerce Site
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