This is how you get a fast, stable WooCommerce Web Shop during the hustle and bustle of the holidays

Milou de Kleijn, November 8, 2017

Soon, we will be celebrating Saint Nicholas’s birthday and Christmas again. Gift and toy advertisements are popping up more and more in various media. That means that the hustle and bustle of the holidays has begun again. People are looking for gifts. There is a good chance that your WooCommerce web shop will attract more visitors as well. That’s why good preparation is crucial.

Why is a fast web shop so important?

User experience

When the number of web shop visitors increases, this has a negative effect on the load time. To ensure that your visitors have positive user experiences, it is very important to optimise the speed of your website.

When it comes to the load time of your web shop, every second counts. 47% of consumers expect that a webpage loads within two seconds. No less than 40% leave the web shop if it takes more than three seconds before the webpage appears. In short, a fast user experience is certainly important to visitors.

On-line findability

Not only the user experience improves when your web shop is fast. A fast website is positioned higher in search results, making your web shop easier to find.

What can go wrong?

Website downtime is commonly caused by one of two things: the server cannot be accessed, or processing the visits to your web shop takes so long that the server can no longer keep . Therefore, it’s important to choose a hosting provider with an uptime that’s as high as possible. Savvii’s uptime is more than 99,99%.

The latter is something you can do something about. It is possible that the server is no longer able to keep up with the site visits because the database queries have not been optimised. This means that many actions need to be carried out before a certain part of the website is displayed. The more variations or properties you link to a part, the more impact this has on the speed of your database use.

You could compare it to buying a book in a bookstore: if you want to buy a book, you’ll first have to find it. So, you head over to the right genre, then you find the writer you want, and then you search for a specific title. Every book you wish to buy must be found by applying this method all over again and that takes time.

There are times when there are so many people in the bookstore wanting to buy a book that the bookstore becomes overcrowded. The checkout line has become so long that new visitors must wait before they can enter the store. This situation can also occur in your web shop. When the web shop has too many visitors, the load time becomes too high. This results in a time-out: new visitors cannot access the web shop. Only when enough current visitors have left the web shop, can they start making their on-line purchases.

How do I keep my web shop stable and fast during the busy month of December?

To prevent your web shop from become slower, or in the worst case going down, proper preparation is essential. We’ll suggest various options to make sure your web shop keeps performing optimally.

1.      Use Memcached and Varnish Caching

The plug-in allows for optimisation of your database queries. To return to the example of the bookstore: the books that are bought most often are placed on a separate shelf in the front of the store. That way, visitors who want to buy a popular book, will need to spend less time in the store, making it less crowded. Optimisation of the database queries prevents request congestion, which will slow down your web shop. Using Memcached, you move frequently used data in queries to a place where these data can be retrieved quickly. This usually means that they are placed in the RAM memory, thus avoiding delays in the database.

2.      Choose a VPS to host your WooCommerce web shop

A VPS (Virtual Private Server) makes your WooCommerce web shop a whole lot faster. WooCommerce requires more resources than a ‘normal’ WordPress website. Contrary to shared hosting, VPS hosting ensures that your experience is not affected by the presence of other users. This is because you are using your very own slice of the server capacity. Hosting on a VPS makes your WooCommerce web shop fast and keeps it that way.

3.      Keep your database clutter-free

Although it often seems like you simply don’t have the time for it, keeping your database clutter-free will prevent your web shop from slowing down. Force yourself to “tidy up” your database from time to time, so that you can maintain a proper overview. Do you find this difficult? Then try the plug-in WP-Optimize. Unnecessary data will be deleted, and you’ll also see right away which parts of the database contain wasted space. Since you are the one choosing how often your database is decluttered, you always remain in control.

4.      Avoid unnecessary large images

Images often take up unnecessary space. By consistently using smaller images, your web shop will become much faster. Save images in a lower quality. You will hardly notice a difference with the naked eye. The plug-in Shortpixel Image Optimizer can help you with this.

These tips will help you to keep your web shop fast during the busy holidays and will allow the visitors to your web shop to place their orders effortlessly. Would you like to know how you can convince visitors to purchase more? Or do you need help designing marketing campaigns? Then download the white paper ‘Prepare your WooCommerce web shop for the holidays’ and get ready for some profitable holidays!

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