June 13, 2019

How Cranbourne Music Almost Halved Site Loading Speed (And Four Tips to Help You Speed Up Your WooCommerce Site)

By Campbell Angus

How long does your website take to load? It’s an important question because a slow website costs you conversions. Here, we look at a client who struggled with a slow site and some things that you can do to improve yours.

People won’t sit around and wait for your website to load anymore.

In the age of high-speed internet, even ten seconds is too long to wait for the average user.

If you don’t believe us, there are plenty of stats that bear this out.

People spend 70% more time on websites that take five seconds or less to load. And according to Google, your conversion rate drops by 12% for every single second that your site takes to load.

But here’s the worst one of all. Nearly 80% of people say that they won’t come back to a site that has performance issues related to slow loading. If you run an e-commerce store, that’s a lot of potential business that a slow website forces you to leave on the table.

The issue is that many business owners aren’t aware of the problem. They see that their sites have high bounce rates and that people spend barely any time on them. But they don’t know about the underlying cause that they could fix with the right WooCommerce developer.

You need some WooCommerce support to help you to overcome these issues. That’s exactly what Cranbourne Music decided too. They came to our WooCommerce development team with some interesting challenges.

Cranbourne Music – Halving Page Loading Speeds With Clever Site Optimization

Cranbourne Music is a music lover’s paradise. They operate an online store that offers a huge range of instruments from major brands, such as Fender. They also provide plenty of accessories so that players can find the exact sound that they’re looking for.

Beyond the website, they also operate two stores in Melbourne. And they’ve built the business since 1989, when the family behind it opened the first store in Cranbourne, Australia.

But it was the addition of their e-commerce store that saw the brand move into the 21st century. Now, anybody in Australia can order the instrument they want from the company.

Or that was the plan, at least. Cranbourne Music came to our WooCommerce development team with a challenge.

The Challenge

The company has worked with a WooCommerce developer to create their existing site. That developer did a great job too. The site looked the part and highlighted what made the company so special.
However, our client found that they’d started pushing the developer beyond their capabilities. Simply put, they’d outgrown their WooCommerce developer.

They now needed to work with a team who could help them to solve the more complex issues that the site experienced. Key among those was their load times.

After examining the site, we discovered that an overcomplicated hosting set-up was the chief cause of their issues. Our WooCommerce development team got to work on fixing the issue.

The Solution

As part of our development process, we’ve created a staging site for Cranbourne Music. This is essentially a test website that allows us to iron out any bugs before we make a change live.

We found that our staging site had much faster loading times than the live website.

So our WooCommerce development team started digging and found that the existing hosting setup had an array of issues.

The site went down on a regular basis despite not being a high traffic site. Their previous developer set up load balancers to try to counter the issue. Behind those balancers lay several other web servers. Plus, they had separate servers for reading and writing to the website database.

All of these extra layers add complexity where it wasn’t needed.

Our solution was pretty simple. We transferred their hosting to our own WordPress hosting servers and the client saw three immediate results:

  1. Load times improved by 60%. They went from a huge average of 11.8 seconds down to a more manageable 6.7 seconds.
    We chopped their server connection time in half and improved the server response time by 90.9%. The latter went from an average of 5.2 seconds to 2.47 seconds.
    The time it took to download a page also improved. It went from 0.24 seconds to 0.09 seconds. That may not seem like a huge amount but it makes a massive difference to overall load times.
  2. Beyond that, they also enjoyed a couple of other benefits. For one, their costs of maintaining their servers dropped drastically. That’s because they no longer had to spend money on several servers and load balancers.
  3. And finally, they handed all of the server maintenance work over to us. As a result, they don’t need to worry about putting out website-related fires.
    In the end, Cranbourne Music came away with a faster website thanks to our in-depth WooCommerce support.

How Can You Improve Your Site Loading Times?

Think back to the stats that we shared at the beginning of the article.

Cranbourne Music’s faster website means they’re more likely to keep the traffic that they attract. Plus, it makes it more likely that people will buy from them and come back for more later on.

You could do the same if you focus on optimizing your WooCommerce website. Here are four tips that can help.

Tip #1 – Use Quality Hosting

We’ve covered the issues related to a complex server setup already so we’ll keep this brief.

The more hurdles your website has to jump through to send and receive information, the longer it takes to load.

Speak to your WooCommerce developer and ask them about the server hosting. If they’re not focusing on simplifying wherever possible, they’re doing your website a disservice.

If that’s the case, you need to search for a better hosting solution. You’ve already seen the massive improvements that a simple switch can make. Blaze Online’s hosting performance is one of the industry leaders (and here’s the data to prove it).

Tip #2 – Optimize (And Compress) Your Images

Now, let’s look at a few other tasks that can give your site a good speed boost.

Images are a key point of focus, especially for an e-commerce store. You might have hundreds of products, each of which has several images.

In fact, images may make up about half of your entire website. So it should come as no surprise that they’re responsible for 51% of your load time.

A large image file will take longer to load. Unfortunately, your WooCommerce developer may just upload images you give them. In doing so, they may not give much thought to the size. If you’ve provided high-quality, catalog-ready images, they may end up slowing things down too much.

Compression comes in here. A service like Shortpixel can help you to shrink the file size without losing image quality. Even Microsoft Paint could prove to be a useful tool for this.

It also helps to shrink the size. If the image is only displaying in a 450×450 pixel box, you don’t need to upload a file that’s 2500×2500. That just adds time to the loading process unnecessarily.

You could also ask your WooCommerce development team to enable lazy loading. This technique only loads images when they come into view rather than loading them all at once.

Tip #3 – Clean Your WordPress Database

WordPress is the content management system (CMS) that underpins your WooCommerce website.

Your site maintains a database that contains several things. These include comments, draft pages, and even plugins.

The larger that database gets, the longer it may take to load your website.

Scrubbing that database clean can help you to speed things up. Have a WooCommerce developer examine your database to find the stuff you don’t need to have in it. For example, they might scrub any spam or fake comments that take time to load. Your developer may also be able to get rid of plugins that you don’t use or recommend more optimized options.

Finally, delete any draft pages that you know you aren’t going to use.

Tip #4 – Update Whenever Possible

Both WordPress and WooCommerce receive regular updates from their communities. You may hesitate to implement those updates because you’re worried that they may cause website issues.

However, these updates tend to fix performance issues with old versions of the platforms. Often, they provide several speed enhancements that you’re not taking advantage of.

As a WooCommerce developer, we can help you to implement updates safely.

As an added bonus, updated websites are also safer websites. In many cases, developers patch out bugs and exploits that could provide a backdoor for hackers.

Speed Up Your Site Today

Cranbourne Music got to the bottom of their site speed issues with our help. The complicated server setup that their previous WooCommerce developer made was the source of their issues.

You may have a similar problem. And if not, it’s likely that you can still take several steps to improve your website’s loading times.

We can help.

Blaze Online provides WooCommerce hosting, support and development services. With us, you can optimize your website to ensure you keep visitors for longer.

That means you have more of a chance of turning your visitors into paying customers.

Would you like to find out more?

Call the Blaze Online team today at 1300 155 435 or send us a message via the website to get started.