Most people claim that you can’t scale WooCommerce, which is not true. WooCommerce offers flexibility and can be easily scaled to accommodate any number of products. As a result, you can build online stores of all sizes using WooCommerce.
Scaling your WooCommerce store should not compromise either the user experience or performance.
This post will walk you through how to scale your WooCommerce site, but before that, let’s look at the three factors that you should consider while scaling your WooCommerce store.
Factors That Influence the Scaling of a Woocommerce Store
WooCommerce stores can be scaled, but before you start scaling it, below are a few factors that affect the scaling of your WooCommerce store.
Traffic is perhaps the most significant factor that affects the performance of online stores. For instance, if you have popular hot-selling products at your store, you should consider optimizing the product pages for increased traffic.
One of the mistakes WooCommerce store owners make is choosing the wrong hosting provider. In order to have a smooth scaling of your WooCommerce store, choose a hosting solution that offers essential performance-oriented features such as SSL certificate, caches, and support for a CDN.
Your WooCommerce store will only run (and scale) efficiently if you regularly update your WooCommerce plugins. Always check your WordPress admin area to see if there are any new updates for themes and plugins.
The Metric of Scale: Add to Carts per Minute
Start by tracking your current volume and then try to estimate the growth in this area. In this analysis, make sure you use data from sales to get a proper picture of the metric. Remember to be consistent in monitoring the Add to Cart numbers on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis, particularly during product launch days and regular sales days.
Choose the Right Hosting Provider
Managed WooCommerce Hosting is critical to the success of your WooCommerce store. The hosting server stores all the files (code and images) and makes your site available for all visitors.
This is quite important, and that is why you need to make sure that you’re choosing the right hosting provider. You need to make sure that your hosting provider offers the following capabilities.
Your small online store will grow over time and require more server resources. So, right now, you need to think of expansion.
When choosing a hosting provider for your WooCommerce store, always check that the solution provider allows you to add server resources or switch up the packages.
In this context, cloud hosting solutions are the best bet because of the flexible resource allocation capability.
2. Uptime Assurance and Security
Uptime and security of your WooCommerce site are equally critical considerations.
Uptime is the time a website remains up and running. There are always cases when a site can go down, but this should be a rare thing. Always look for hosting that has above 99 percent uptime.
To ensure that there’s top-notch security, get an SSL certificate that will help protect users making online payments from your store.
Apart from the security and uptime of your online store, there are also a few factors you need to consider. Many of these are taken care of by your hosting provider if you’ve taken hosting from a reputed company
- Software Security – Always update your MySQL and PHP versions to avoid any security breach.
- Malware Scanning – Apart from having website malware scans, you also need to run the server checks to know if there is a hack.
- A Firewall – Helps in protecting your data and files. In other words, it acts as a barrier between hackers and your servers.
3. Support and Maintenance
Many times, people are tempted to purchase the cheapest hosting. However, they forget that cheap things come with their disadvantages, one of them being poor services. The level of support you get from your service provider will depend on the pricing. And like they say, cheap things are expensive.
Before choosing a hosting company, please do an in-depth analysis of its reviews, especially their customer support. Ensure that customer support is reliable and offers support via phone, live chat, or email. Most importantly, these services should be available 24/7.
4. Leveraging Load Balancing
Load balancing is the distribution of traffic to one IP across numerous servers using various protocols. In other words, it means that you can share the processing loads across different nodes instead of limiting it to one server.
Why and When to use Load Balancing
Load balancing can help keep your online store up and running when there is a spike in traffic and grow with you as your WooCommerce store becomes more popular. Below are the two main uses of load balancing:
- Minimizes Failure Failover and redundancy: You increase your uptime when you minimize your chances of failure. That means you can always transfer the traffic to the other nodes if one of the nodes fails.
- Load Distribution: Once your site has gained popularity, you will need to migrate from a single server to a dual server to allow for your online store’s continuous growth.
5. Leveraging a Content Delivery Network (CDN)
Most hosting companies offer site content to all their users, regardless of their location. Contrary to CDN, the network is strategically distributed worldwide, saving your server the hassle of downloading assets, images, videos, and CSS from your website. Not only that, but users are also served through its network. As a result, your site encounters high uptime, as well as faster deliveries of assets.
Who Needs a Content Delivery Network?
1. You Have a Global Audience:
It makes quite some sense to host your online store in the United States because most of the traffic comes from there. However, if most of your traffic comes from Europe, Oceania, or Asia, you will need to have a CDN to improve your load times.
2. You Have a Ton of Files
JetPack might play a role in enhancing the speed of your online store. However, its efficiency cannot be compared to that of a CDN. A CDN will help with automatically resizing your images and files to enhance mobile responsiveness.
Phones are prone to slow internet connections, which means users may find it hard to load images and files from their phones. A CDN automatically resizes these files to load faster on mobile devices.
3. You’re Preparing for an Increased Traffic
There’s every reason to get a CDN, especially when preparing for a spike in traffic. Maybe you just got an interview on TV, and there’s every likelihood that your traffic will increase after that interview. In this case, you need a CDN to help handle the spike in traffic.
Performance testing leverages how a WooCommerce store performs under normal circumstances. How quickly do the pages load? How much time does it take to display the shopping cart upon clicking the checkout button? Performance testing offers a foundation for answering such questions.
1. You Will Get Even Traffic Every Day
Don’t over approximate the traffic you will get. Sure, it could be that you will get, say, 50,000 orders in a day, but will that traffic be even daily?
2. Performance Challenge Relates to the Shopping Cart
It’s no secret that people perceive an eCommerce site’s real performance as a shopping cart or checkout. They assume that the rest of the website is cached when that isn’t the case. Often, websites that encounter massive visits are less cacheable.
3. No Return Customers
It’s easier to think that customers will pick a single product to cart and proceed to the checkout area without thinking of purchasing any other item.
The truth is that you can suggest additional products once a customer has shipped for one item or provide a link to customers to keep on shopping.
Load testing looks forward to addressing the performance of your WooCommerce under pressure. For example, it addresses the questions, such as how many users can your online store accommodate before it can start experiencing slow performances? That said, below are five considerations that will help you scale your WooCommerce site:
1. Test Cases Should Mirror User Navigation
Your test cases need to be realistic because customers aren’t perfect, after all. Customers will navigate different products before coming across a product of a different category, then end up buying another product in the long run. That is why you need to make sure that your test cases mirror the user’s navigation.
2. Your Hosting Company Should Know of Your Testing
Most reputable hosting companies will protect your WooCommerce store against high traffic. Therefore, it is vital that you work together with your hosting provider to help manage exceptions limiting your load testing tool.
3. The Environment Must Match Production
A couple of hosting providers will support testing, though you will have to work on your online store for hours. However, others don’t support testing but will help by configuring duplicate environments using the same servers.
4. Refrain From Testing From the Front End
Focusing on the front end of your site may not mirror the reality because customers, administrators, and order processors will be logging into the site, as well. Therefore, create tests that will accommodate these circumstances.
5. Ensure the Tests Are Working
Load testing on a regular website will be easy as there are not many logged-in users. However, WooCommerce has many users logged in. That means that recording session data without using it appropriately could affect the number of orders you receive daily.
Examples of Some Large Scale Woocommerce Stores
Inter-Shop takes pride as one of the best electronic stores that imports and sells a wide variety of Greek products. According to WhoIsHostingThis, Inter Shop incorporates Cloudflare, which is responsible for its speed and functionality. As such, you can quickly scale your WooCommerce store when you opt for the right web performance company.
ShoppersPk.com is an e-commerce store based in Pakistan, built using WooCommerce plugin dealing in a wide range of products – from home appliances, baby care items, hardware tools to computers and accessories. They have more than 25,000 products in their arsenal. Their website is built using the Flatsome child theme together with the WooCommerce plugin, as said earlier.
3. Soul Brother
Soul Brother is a London based online store that deals in t-shirts and music items for Pop, singles, and Jazz. They ship products throughout the world. Soul Brother website is built using the WooCommerce plugin and the Canvas WordPress theme, according to WpThemeDetector.
Tarox.co.uk is a Great Britain-based company dealing in automobile parts with over 40,000 items in their stores. They are one of the largest automobile parts suppliers globally, supplying nearly all the world’s large countries. Shipping fees vary from country to country, and you can check that on their website. Payments are processed through SagePay, a reliable payment gateway.
WooCommerce can be very useful in the eCommerce industry when adequately scaled as compared to other eCommerce platforms. It’s cost-efficient and highly flexible when it comes to customization. WooCommerce is an excellent option for a business startup, especially when you have low investment money. Also, there are tons of benefits that come with WooCommerce, which you can’t afford to lose.
Disclaimer: This is a guest contributed by Rithesh Raghavan, Director at Acodez.
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Danial Ashrafi is a digital marketer at Cloudways - A Managed WordPress and WooCommerce Hosting Platform. Danial creates the buzz around managed WordPress hosting and actively educates users about the latest WordPress, WooCommerce, and DM trends. In his free time, he likes to play cricket and discuss new stuff discovered on the Internet.