WooCommerce store owners or any other online shop holders are always eager for the happiest moment of “proceed to checkout” from customers. To achieve this bottom line, you need to increase positive user experiences, make sure they stay, purchase, and come back to your stores later.
There are a lot of things you can try to improve your site’s speed. You can go easy on removing unnecessary extensions, configuring cache plugins, blocking bad bots, and selecting a lightweight theme.
However, all that effort pleasuring buyers has become in vain due to a customer killer – a slow WooCommerce store. And you know what? Images not optimized properly mainly cause this issue.
That’s why in this post, we will summarize 5 key ways to optimize your WooCommerce product images. Before stepping into the amazing, let’s go through the basics of what WooCommerce optimal load time is. Then, we’ll discuss some reasons why product image optimization is by far the first place to start.
- What Is WooCommerce Ideal Load Time?
- Why Start with Image Optimization to Speed up WooCommerce Stores
- #1 Choose The Right File Format
- #2 Compress Product Images
- #3 Use Responsive Product Images
- #4 Serve Images Through a CDN
- #5 Block Product Image Hotlinking
What Is WooCommerce Ideal Load Time?
WordPress or WooCommerce doesn’t impose a specific load time. This doesn’t mean that your site can be loaded as long as it can be.
Imagine your site takes more than 5 seconds to complete loading? A warning bell starts to ring now. Visitors will abandon your page right away. It’s recommended that the optimum load time for your online store should be between 1 or 2 seconds.
There is a proof from LoadStorm, Econsultancy that among 4 visitors, 1 of them will leave a website which takes over 4 secs to completely load. Plus, a 1-second delay will reduce customer satisfaction by 16%.
More importantly, 64% of customers will choose your competitors if they feel disappointed with your services.
Why Starting with Image Optimization to Speed up WooCommerce Stores
Image optimization is not the only method but the first thing you need to do when it comes to speeding up WooCommerce loading time. Although this is just a small action, it can make a big difference to your stores.
Image optimization proves the simplest thing you can do to reduce your site loading time. Unlike editing the wp-config.php file to increase WordPress memory limit or cleaning the database, this solution is friendly to every store owner, even beginners.
On top of that, images not optimized properly hugely affect your site performance as well as user experience. Not only do they fail to deliver the right message to customers, but also make users misunderstand your ideas.
On average, 40% of web page weight is made up of images, on both desktops and mobile devices. This number is much higher on WooCommerce shops. You have product photos, featured images, and many other files. The more images you have, the longer it takes to load your pages.
After understanding reasons to start with image optimization to speed up your WooCommerce, below are the 6 most important things you can do to optimize your images properly.
#1 Choose The Right File Format
Product image file types decide the quality of your images. Make sure you choose the best file format for your WooCommerce photos. JPEG, JPG, and PNG are the most common ones while GIF should be avoided.
- PNG – comes with a higher quality image but requires more file size.
- JPEG – allows you to bring a good product image quality with suitable file size.
Take Amazon as an example, it accepts only 4 file formats for product images, including TIFF, JPEG, GIF, and PNG.
#2 Compress Product Images
A quality compressed product image with the right size not only quenches the visual thirst of visitors but also improves the page loading time. Compression creates smaller image file sizes which take less of your bandwidth. As a result, it requires less storage space on your server.
However, when compressing product images, you sometimes have to select between quality and file sizes. An image with a low compression rate has a better quality and easier to view but the file size is larger. Images with higher compression rates, meanwhile, deliver terrible quality but they reduce the file size to the lowest number.
To ensure a perfect product photo with the smallest size, you can seek help from image compression plugins such as WP Smush, Imagify, and Short Pixel.
#3 Use Responsive Product Images
People tend to shop online using their phones. Delivering responsive product images for various devices becomes your top priority when building a WooCommerce store.
When uploading a product image to the WordPress media library and adding it to your product page, it might look perfect. However, are you sure that it also performs well on mobile devices or tablets? They might be too large on smartphone screens or don’t display in the correct positions.
To fix this, you can give the RICG responsive images plugin a try. Created by Cris Croyer from CSS-Tricks, the plugin wins other competitors in this niche by bringing automatic default responsive images to WordPress.
#4 Serve Images Through a CDN
You intend to build a multinational WooCommerce store and sell products globally? A Content Delivery Network (CDN) is something you’re looking for. By caching and delivering static resources including images, CDNs help your site run at the fastest speed on every corner of the world.
For example, your WooCommerce store is hosted in the USA. A customer from China has found your site on search engines and opened it. The CDN will get the site information from the China PoP (Points of Presence) to serve him.
You have various trustworthy choices when it comes to CDNs. Simply pick one of these: Cloudflare, Sucuri CDN, Cloudways CDN, StackPath, and KeyCDN.
#5 Block Product Image Hotlinking
Image hotlinking refers to the act of directly linking files from other sites. Instead of uploading images to their WordPress library and adding it to the content, people get your photo’s URL and place it on their product pages.
This results in bandwidth theft. Every time a visitor loads that site, it means that he or she is loading your site and taking your bandwidth. As a consequence, this hurts your SEO as well as slowing down your site.
It’s difficult to realize your product images are hotlinked until you see a reduction in your store speed. A CDN is a powerful tool to prevent image hotlinking. You can also say yes to modifying your .htaccess file (if you’re tech-savvy) or simply get help from a file protection plugin.
Ready to Speed up Your WooCommerce Stores
The long loading time of product pages leads to a series of bad effects. Clients will leave your store right away which will skyrocket your bounce rate. Then, search engines realize your pages are not interesting enough to keep visitors. This causes your high rankings to slip away. At the bottom line, you lose customers and revenue.
Optimizing images is by far the first and the easiest place you should start to increase your WooCommerce site speed. There are numerous things you can do to provide the best product images for your WooCommerce shop. We’ve shown the top 5 things you should apply with effective supporting tools.
Do you have any cool product image optimization tips to share? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.