This may be common knowledge that I have mentioned many a time before, but how fast your website works directly affects how much money you make. Let me summarize with one sentence…
A simple 0.1 second reduction in page load speed earns eCommerce stores, on average, an 8.4% increase in conversion rates with an increase of average order value of around 9.2%. - Source
If that hasn’t got your attention then I don’t know what will.
So how can a WooCommerce user take advantage of this. First of all, head over to Google PageSpeed Insights to get a benchmark for where you already are so you can measure any improvements. This tool, in of itself, is also a great resource of suggestions to speed up your site so maybe take some notes (and actions) from it too.
Now let's have a look at some more WooCommerce specific methods to shave some time off page load…
Think of this as your WordPress’s equivalent to your computer’s RAM. Everyone knows that the less RAM a computer has, the more it will start to come to a crawl as you open more programs or tabs. Upgrading with more RAM is a quick way of making your computer feel more capable and snappy, especially when it comes to multitasking.
Now consider that every visitor on your site makes requests and every request requires WordPress to use more memory, and the size of those requests depends on what the person is requesting. A simple text based web page - small. A product page with high quality images and a self hosted video? Much larger.
As more visitors make more requests, your WordPress install eats up more RAM to get the jobs done and this can cause a slowdown or even a critical error, accompanied with a page advertising your sites failure to function to all of your visitors if you do hit your limit.
Fortunately, this limit is only software imposed, not hardware. Which means upgrading it doesn’t require someone opening up a computer and slotting in circuitry. A simple change of some config file or a conversation with your hosting provider should sort this out.
Check out this official WooCommerce article on how to increase your WordPress memory limit, detailing several methods of achieving this.
WooCommerce uses AJAX scripts to automatically update your customers shopping cart in real time, no need to refresh or load another page to see the change. Fair enough, this is a pretty nifty feature and gives your site more of a slick feeling.
As shiny as this feature is though, it can be pretty resource heavy. For this reason, we recommend testing your page load speed with it turned off compared to turned on and decide whether the cost outweighs the benefits on this one.
To do this we recommend running a Google PageSpeed Insights test on several pages of your site, from homepage to product pages, to get a benchmark before turning it off to test again for both speed and experience. We also recommend clicking around the site yourself while it is still on and using the cart fragments feature yourself to see how smooth it runs and how significant the feature is to your visitors.
Next we recommend testing page speed again on all the same pages as before to see if there is a noticeable difference in performance score as well as simulating how a user would engage with your site and seeing if the lack of AJAX cart fragments has a noticeably detrimental effect on end user shopping experience (perhaps even breaking it) that is worth factoring in.
Then, after all that, you have to decide whether to keep it on or off. Truth is, what plugins you use, what theme you use and how well the AJAX script gels with your caching system will give widely varying results so there is no generic answer for whether you should keep or disable this feature. I also don’t know of any data regarding the effects of using this feature on conversion rates, but I do know the effects of page load speed on the bottom line, so as long as store functionality isn’t hugely hindered or broken by it’s removal and doing so does see an improvement on page load performance score, then I am probably gonna remove it.
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