How to Speed Up WooCommerce Backend

A large part of running an online store requires managing the backend operations including product updates, order management, and shipment management. These tasks can easily overwhelm your staff and potentially disrupt business operations if the backend of your store becomes slow. The majority of WooCommerce users focus on speeding up the front-end of their store and do not pay attention to the performance of the backend which is equally important for the success of your online business.

In this article, we will highlight the drawbacks of having a slow WooCommerce backend and how they affect the efficiency of your business followed by the possible causes behind a slow WooCommerce backend, and finally, the remedies that are effective in speeding up the backend of your WooCommerce store.

Why is it Important Not to Have a Slow WooCommerce Backend

Your WooCommerce backend is where everything that appears at the front-end of your store is managed. The backend has many moving parts, both automated and manual. Your staff is busy processing the new orders, updating the inventory for new customers, managing shipments, and resolving order complaints. For everything to run smoothly and efficiently, it is crucial to avoid delays at all costs.

A Slow Backend Leads to a Slow Frontend

Both the front-end and back-end of your WooCommerce store draw power from the same server resources. That means when the backend of your WooCommece store becomes slow and clunky it also slows down the front-end of your store. The backend processes could involve many plugins sending concurrent requests back and forth for updating records to fetching large data for reports. All of these tasks are resource-intensive and slow down the WooCommerce backend.

Similarly, uploading new products, updating existing SKUs, filtering through customer’s orders, and generating monthly reports can put a strain on your server resources, ultimately causing slow loading times for both the front-end and back-end of your WooCommerce store. These requests are dynamic and can not be cached, therefore, optimizing them for performance is very important. Other online businesses like membership sites and eLearning sites should also consider optimizing the WordPress backend as users access it frequently for various tasks.

Counter-Productive for Staff

A slow loading WooCommerce backend dashboard can also annoy anybody working on it. It can affect the productivity of your staff who have to wait unnecessarily for a task to be completed before they can jump to another one. This is also not good for business, especially in a busy season where more customer orders need to be processed in a set period of time. A slow WooCommerce backend might not seem like a big issue today but over time it can kill productivity and increase the chances of error.

Less Efficient for the Business

All of the above makes your online business less efficient and less profitable. As a business owner, you should look for ways to make operations run smoother as your revenue depends on it. A slow WooCommerce backend could be your first warning of a slow online store, frustrated staff, and loss of revenue.

What Makes WooCommerce Backend Slow

The first step towards speeding up a WooCommerce backend is to understand the underlying problems that make your WooCommerce backend run slow.

Bloated Database

WooCommerce stores orders and products like posts data which means your database size increases over time and it takes longer to run searches and filters through this large database. This is the reason behind long delays while searching for a customer order from last month or running a search query based on a filter. In some cases, the server simply refuses to fetch results and throws a timeout error instead.

Sometimes, displaying a large number of items in the backend can also cause performance issues. So instead of displaying a list of fifty orders per page, shrink it down to just 20 and use the pagination feature instead. You won’t be working on fifty orders at a time anyway.

Too Many Plugins

Plugins are awesome but too many plugins are not! It is true that there is a plugin for everything but really you do not need to have everything on your WooCommerce store. Plugins are tempting and thousands of them are free to install but they too come with a price that your server pays in precious computing kilobytes currency. Of course, there are good and bad plugins but even the good ones need resources to run, and the bad ones can do a lot more damage.

Plugins that are constantly running in the background, especially the ones that track visitors’ activity and keep updating the database for generating reports or “giving a customized experience” to a user are often the reason behind a slow front-end as well as for cluttering the backend of your WooCommerce store. Plugins when activated can make multiple requests and run several database queries in order to serve their purpose whether you need them or not.

Third-party Services

Nowadays, almost every tool comes with a WordPress integration which is welcomed by its users. These third-party services include tracking services, payment gateways, shipment integrations, chatbots, off-site backups, etc. A common misconception is that these third-party services live outside of the online store, thus, are lightweight and have no impact on the performance. Which is not entirely true. Third-party services do make a lot of external calls and can load tons of client-side code at the expense of your server or user browser. All of that can slow down the backend of your WooCommerce store.

To make things worse, some third-party services are so poorly designed that they do more damage than good. Let me explain that with a real-world example. One of our clients was using an unconventional payment gateway mainly focused on their country. The site barely went live and crashed two times. It turned out that the website for that payment gateway was down and apparently they were using the same server for powering the licensing service inside their plugin. This triggered time-out errors in the licensing service preventing everything else on the page from loading.

Bad Custom Code

WooCommerce allows the flexibility of adding your own custom code to add the desired features. However, if the custom code is not written properly and does not follow the best practices as defined in WordPress codex can add unnecessary complexities that can slow down your WooCommerce backend.

It is important to ensure that the custom code does not use deprecated functions and only requests the database for the information where needed. For example, calling functions inside the init function unnecessarily can cause delays on every page load.

Bad Configurations

Similar to bad custom code, bad configurations, and design strategies can also slow down the WooCommerce backend. For example, one of our clients had an Order Detail page that was taking 30 seconds to load! It turned out that they had a custom field on that page with multiple menu options and the database had to query through thousands of rows just to fetch these few menu options.

Outdated WordPress Core and PHP

Outdated PHP versions and WordPress core are also major reasons behind a slow dashboard. Still, a lot of WooCommerce stores run on PHP 5.x and miss out on the performance gains of switching to PHP 7 and above. The newer PHP versions are leaner, optimized, secure, and provide better compatibility with the rest of the hosting stack. Similarly, updated versions of WordPress and WooCommerce are lightweight and much more efficient than their predecessors. Depreciated functions and inefficient coding practices lead to errors and decrease the performance of the backend.

How to Speed Up WooCommerce Backend

Speeding up a WooCommerce backend is a lot simpler after you have identified the possible causes that slow it down in the first place. The process of speeding up the WooCommerce backend is different from speeding up the WooCommerce front-end. That is because, on the backend, the optimization is more like an elimination process where we shred the extra load and fix bugs in the code. We also need to dig a little deeper with the help of certain tools to find the real culprits behind slowing down the dashboard.

Install Query Monitor

Installing the Query Monitor plugin should be the first step toward speeding up the WooCommerce backend. Query Monitor is a debugging and monitoring tool that gives you visibility of slow database queries, API requests, and AJAX calls that take longer times and make the WooCommerce dashboard slow. WordPress Query Monitor plugin is a great and convenient way of monitoring every transaction that happens between your WooCommerce store and server. It is a tool that helps you make sense of what’s going on and what actions you can take to fix the issues.

Let’s briefly look at the Query Monitor in action.

Inside your WordPress admin, go to Plugins and add a new plugin. Search for Query Monitor, install it, and activate it.

query monitor download

Once the plugin is activated, you will notice a new option at the top bar of your admin panel. These numbers represent Page generation time, Peak PHP memory usage, Database query time, and the number of database queries made. This shows that the Query Monitor plugin has already started working and gathering useful data about your WooCommerce site.

query monitor toolbar

Click on these numbers and a complete Query Monitor dashboard will expand. The complete overview of this dashboard is out of the scope of this article, however, I will walk you through the two important sections that will help you speed up the WooCommerce backend. The first section is Queries which contains a list of all the database queries running on your site. Next to each query you can also see the time it takes to process it and the component requested that query.

query monitor dashboard

You can also filter the types of queries and the components. For example, if you wish to see just the queries made by a suspected plugin, select that plugin from the component’s list. Another useful feature of this plugin to help you speed up the WooCommerce backend is the Scripts feature.

query monitor scripts

This gives you complete visibility of all the scripts running on your site. From this option, you can filter the scripts based on their host and identify third-party scripts. Similarly, you can also filter through the script’s dependencies and the corresponding elements depending on these scripts. This way you can see what features are dependent on what scripts and what will be the outcome of removing that script.

Query Monitor is an effective tool for monitoring database queries and API requests. Install it and start playing with it to understand what each section does and can help you make the right decisions in speeding up the WooCommerce backend.

Remove Unnecessary Plugins

After installing and understanding how Query Monitor works, getting rid of unnecessary and problematic plugins should not be an issue. Based on the Query Monitor’s report, you can identify the plugins that take a longer query time or make an unusual number of requests to your server or to a third-party service. At this point, you can either decide to deactivate them and activate them only when required or replace them with a better WooCommerce plugin or simply uninstall them.

You can skip Query Monitor altogether and simply check the performance of your WooCommerce backend by deactivating and then activating each plugin one by one. Although this method might not give you very useful insights you can still use it to make a quick check especially if you have doubts about a particular plugin that you recently updated or installed.

Monitor Using New Relic

New Relic is a renowned Application Performance Management (APM) tool that gives far more in-depth performance analysis of your WooCommerce store than Query Monitor. It is free to use with 100GB of data and for 1 user which for the majority of small to mid-sized WooCommerce stores is sufficient. Let’s see how you can integrate this useful tool to speed up the backend of your WooCommerce store.

Go to the New Relic WordPress Quickstart website and create your account. Once the account is created, add your data source which is the process of generating a command inside the New Relic dashboard that connects New Relic with your server and your WordPress application. This integration is beyond the scope of this guide as it can vary from host to host. Some hosting providers do not allow root access and you need to contact their support to get New Relic installed on your server.

After getting New Relic, you can begin exploring various features. The tool offers a huge range of options to analyze the performance of your WooCommrce store. The most important feature of New Relic is its Transaction traces feature which gives a detailed snapshot of all the transactions happening on your site. It allows you to filter through slow transactions, database calls, and external resources.

Similarly, it also gives a detailed usage breakdown of WordPress themes and plugins. From New Relic’s dashboard, you can see which theme or plugin takes a long time to respond and contributes to a slow WooCommerce backend.

new relic web transactions

WordPress site transactions and their duration. Source: New Relic

27 Must-Have Plugins For Your WooCommerce Website

Starting a WooCommerce website? You’ll probably want a website with lots of useful features that will help attract and keep your customers. While the basic WooCommerce setup is quite handy, there’s a lot more you can do by extending WooCommerce with useful plugins.

There are hundreds of plugins to consider, so you won’t be able to use them all. We’ve done the research, though, to help you pick just the right combination of plugins that will enhance your WooCommerce website without overdoing things.

Before we get into the list, here are a few points to consider when choosing plugins for your WooCommerce website.

How to Choose the Best Plugins for your WooCommerce Website

In theory, all WordPress plugins should work well together--particularly if they have been coded following WordPress best practices. In reality, plugins frequently conflict with each other. Additionally, too many plugins can harm site loading speeds.

So how do you know which ones you need? A useful way to answer this question is by thinking of all the different needs any e-commerce store might have.

These needs can probably be grouped into these five areas:

Marketing Needs

The reason you’re building an e-commerce website is to attract prospects and make sales. There are several plugins for WooCommerce that help with this by supporting lead nurture, improving conversion, and so on.

Security 

If you follow WordPress security best practices, your store should have a higher than average level of security when compared to the average WordPress installation (unfortunately, not everyone follows security best practices).

However, e-commerce stores have more intense security requirements as you will likely be collecting data such as your customers’ credit card information.

Needless to say, data breaches will be a hassle you really don’t want, and you can prevent these simply by using a reliable WordPress security plugin.

Sales Needs

If you’re wondering why Sales is a separate point from marketing, it’s because, while often used interchangeably, they’re really not the same thing.

While marketing plugins will be used to help nurture visitors to your website, sales tools will be used more in the process of managing transactions.

Design Needs

Millions of websites use WooCommerce. This means that while your theme may give you some leeway for creativity, most WooCommerce websites tend to look the same. Design tools will give you more power over your WooCommerce website, allowing you to create a completely custom look.

Performance Needs

E-commerce websites typically have more data than other types of websites. Depending on how large your store is, you may have hundreds to thousands of products, each with its own featured image, and possibly with a gallery too. You’ll need to devote some resources to making sure that all of this weight doesn’t slow your website down or you’ll run the risk of losing some prospects.

The 27 Essential Plugins For Your WooCommerce Website

Now that we’ve covered a few important points to keep in mind as you choose some plugins for your WooCommerce website, we’ll jump into our picks of the most important plugins for any WooCommerce store.

You don’t necessarily have to use all 27 of them, as some will be more or less relevant depending on the nature of your business, the markets you serve, and so on.

That said, here is our list of the top 27 WooCommerce plugins every website should have (in no particular order):

1. WooCommerce PDF Invoices & Packing Slips

WooCommerce PDF Invoices

WooCommerce PDF Invoices & Packing Slips helps to automate invoices once a purchase is made. It also gives you several useful options such as creating and printing packing slips, individually or in bulk. The plugin is fully customizable and available in over 18 languages.

Other great features include the ability to generate sequential invoice numbers, downloadable invoices, email automation, and fully customizable HTML/CSS templates.

WooCommerce PDF Invoices & Packing Slips Pricing

WooCommerce PDF Invoices and Packing Slips is free to download from the WordPress plugin directory.

2. Uncanny Automator

Uncanny Automator

E-commerce sites tend to have a number of tasks that are repetitive by their nature. Uncanny Automator makes it possible to create powerful workflows that automate repetitive tasks, and improves your productivity. It does this primarily by enabling better communication between the various plugins that you have installed.

You can create commands that will execute once an event is triggered either by a user action or by WooCommerce. For example, with Uncanny Automator, you can automatically create a new customer account once someone fills a form on your website. Ordinarily, these would be two separate actions.

Using an automation plugin like Uncanny Automator not only saves you some time, but also offers a better user experience to your customers.

Uncanny Automator Pricing

3. YITH WooCommerce Wishlist

ith WooCommerce Wishlist

Sometimes your customers will love a product but may not be ready to buy just yet. Instead of letting them walk away and potentially forget about it, you can use wish lists to remind them to make that purchase at a later date.

That’s what YITH WooCommerce Wishlist does. Your customers can make wish lists and check back in to find them whenever they are ready to pay. This will likely help improve your store’s conversion rates.

The plugin allows you to customize the wishlist template and show an add-to-wishlist button anywhere on your site. There’s also an option for users to share their wishlists on social media.

Yith WooCommerce Wishlist Pricing

Yith Woocommerce costs €94.99 per year.

4. WooCommerce Customizer
To make any design changes to your WooCommerce store, you might need to work with custom code, or use a dedicated WooCommerce design plugin like WooCommerce Customizer.

As its name suggests, the plugin provides a few additional WooCommerce features that allow you to customize the design of your e-commerce store without having to write a single line of code.

WooCommerce Customizer Pricing

WooCommerce customizer is free to use.

5. WooCommerce Multilingual

WooCommerce Multilingual

While English remains the world’s most popular language, there is still a huge market to be served in other languages. These days it’s as easy as installing a plugin like WooCommerce Multilingual.

WooCommerce Multilingual leverages the power of WPML. With this plugin installed, all your products, categories and product attributes are easily translated into other languages. The plugin also lets you display prices in different currencies based on users location or language.

WooCommerce Multilingual Pricing:
WooCommerce Multilingual is available for free.

6. Order Delivery Date for WooCommerce

Order Delivery Date for WooCommerce

When people make orders, they typically like to know when to expect the delivery of their package. Tyche Software, the makers of Order Delivery Date for WooCommerce claim that just offering this feature can help halve cart abandonment rates. While this figure cannot be independently verified, it does make sense.

The Order Delivery Date plugin, allows your customers to choose their preferred delivery date and time---you can set the minimum range on the backend, as well as factor in days when you will be away on holiday, and so on.

Order Delivery Date Pricing

7. Booster for WooCommerce

Booster for WooCommerce

Booster for WooCommerce is a multi-purpose WooCommerce plugin with over 100 features. The plugin is designed to provide many of the features you might seek from other plugins all in one place.

This means that you won’t have to install so many plugins that might potentially cause problems. One of the best things about Booster is that you can switch features on or off so your website won’t necessarily carry any unnecessary weight.

Booster includes popular features like wish lists, template editor, custom shipping management features, pdf invoicing, and so much more. For a smaller store, WooCommerce plus a plugin like Booster for WooCommerce might be an ideal combination to take care of most of your WooCommerce needs.

Booster Pricing

8. Advanced Shipment Tracking for WooCommerce

Advanced Shipment Tracking for WooCommerce

Modern e-commerce stores are expected to have some tracking capability. While WooCommerce does offer some inbuilt product tracking, a more robust solution might be preferred.

Advanced Shipment Tracking offers some nice features such as tracking info widgets that allow customers to keep tabs on their delivery, shipment tracking API to allow real-time updates from third party fulfillment providers, and links with over 300 shipping providers.

Advanced Shipment Tracking for WooCommerce Pricing

9. SearchWP

SearchWP

One thing you don’t want is your customers leaving your site after a few minutes because they can’t find the product they’re looking for. Using effective product filters such as SearchWP is a more effective way to do this than relying on the WordPress default search bar.

SearchWP automatically replaces the default search feature on your WooCommerce store. This extension makes it easy for customers to search your online store by relevance, and quickly find the products they would like to search for. One great advantage of using this plug-in is that  you can also get metrics to see what your customers are searching predominantly for, so you can gain insight into new product ideas and boost your conversions.

SearchWP Pricing

The plugin starts at $99 per year.

10. RafflePress

RafflePress - WordPress Giveaway Plugin

RafflePress is the most powerful WordPress giveaway and contests/rewards plug-in in the market. RafflePress helps you turn your visitors into brand ambassadors. As a result of this, you get more website traffic, email subscribers and social media engagement faster without paying for ads.

Here’s some of how it works;

The free gifts being offered on the giveaway captures your visitors attention, visitors use their email addresses to enter your giveaway, hence helping you grow your email list. Visitors are encouraged to share giveaways (to get more entries into the contest) using incentives. This increases your social media engagement, leading to more followers, and eventually, more sales.

RafflePress Pricing

11. WooCommerce Waitlist

WooCommerce Waitlist

As a store owner, running out of stock is inevitable. The problem arises when you begin to lose potential customers to competitors simply because certain products are unavailable at a given time. This occurrence can be minimized by adding a product ‘waitlist’ feature plug-in to your store which will alert customers when wanted items are back in stock.

This simple plug-in also helps you track demand for out-of-stock items so you can prioritize restocking. Users can also review and edit their waitlists if the need arises.

WooCommerce Waitlist Pricing 

The plugin costs $49.00 per year.

12. Beeketing for WooCommerce

Beeketing

Beeketing is an All in One Marketing Automation platform built to integrate seamlessly with WooCommerce. This plug-in has a lot of powerful features (all backed by AI) that help turn visitors into paying customers.

Two of these features include: increasing order value and preventing cart abandonment.

Increasing average order value can be done by showing Best Sellers, Recently Viewed, Who Bought This Also Bought; suggesting more related products at certain pages right before checkout, up selling and cross selling related products.

Cart abandonment prevention features comprise offering cart level discounts, free shipping, or free gifts if customers complete order. These offers can be limited using countdown timers- customers must check out before time runs out to get the reward.

Beeketing Pricing

13. Stripe for WooCommerce 

Stripe for WooCommerce

WooCommerce comes with a few default payment options, but these do not include Stripe, one of the most popular ones today. This can be fixed by using the WooCommerce Stripe Extension. This plugging also allows you to accept all major credit and debit cards, Google and Apple pay, all in over 135 different currencies.

As a plus, this plugin is made by WooCommerce so you can expect seamless integration with the main WooCommerce plugin.

Stripe for WooCommerce Pricing

Stripe for WooCommerce is free.

14. All in One SEO Plugin

All in One SEO Plugin

Like every other online business, SEO will be a key part in how you find customers for your WooCommerce store. While there are several highly rated SEO plugins for WordPress websites, All in One SEO is our top pick.

The plugin currently has over 3+ million users, and includes local SEO, product image SEO, support for Schema markup, and other features that are particularly useful for e-commerce.

All-in-One-SEO Pricing

5 Pro Tips To Scale WooCommerce for High Volume Ecommerce Stores

These days, it's common to read optimization articles that touch on topics such as caching engines and CDNs that cover sunny day scenarios instead of real life traffic overload situations. Some of these articles assume that you have no working knowledge of optimization. Other articles imply that you have some experience, and you can find your way through the maze that is WordPress page speed optimization.

Well, we're doing things differently this time. In this article, we'll delve into real-world tactics we have seen in action when hosting and scaling WooCommerce sites that have done thousands of orders per hour and hundreds of thousands in revenue per month.

And although we're going to share some technical tips, this article is not meant just for a technical audience. We'll set out to explain technical matters in layman terms, so anybody can understand optimization and apply these tips on their stores and platforms.

Let's get to it, shall we?

The Importance of Monitoring Software - New Relic

Today, every high-performance store is monitored using specialized software to gain visibility to the inner workings of your site. Managing a server platform without monitoring software is like flying a plane without instruments. It can be done, but when something goes wrong, you’ll have no idea about the nature of the issue causing the problem.

Your site may crash or get slow and you won’t know why. This way you’ll only frustrate your customers and lose the opportunity to find out what really caused the failure... Moreover, running a platform without server monitoring software will cost you considerably in terms of performance and availability, and in the end, your sales will suffer too.

Let's see about the technical benefits of using monitoring software:

New Relic offers a simple way for developers and sysadmins to work together, sharing the same monitoring data. It includes application monitoring, log management, error tracking, infrastructure monitoring, network monitoring, browser and mobile observation, and alerts data.

Things you can do with New Relic include:

And when it comes to WordPress, there are other specific datasets you can use to tune your platform.With New Relic you have access to processes data such as:

Screenshot showing New Relic's dashboard where you can track a WooCommerce website's use of resources

However you look at it, New Relic allows you to complete all of your data monitoring tasks in one secure cloud, avoiding data silos and tool sprawling. And all of these data and capacities give you options. They provide a way, a process, to make business decisions that can save you a lot of money.

Let’s consider an example of this for a minute. New Relic gives you access to live WordPress plugins and themes data. From this view, we get a call to a process called wp-external-links which is an external link tracking plugin making 815,000 database calls.

These calls consume traffic and use up database resources. By knowing this, the store WooCommerce store manager can choose to kill the tracking plugin (if it’s not critical) and save money on bandwidth/traffic and potential new hardware expenses.

Evaluate External Integrations

External integrations offer a great way to extend your platform's capabilities and services. They’re great, but the thing is that measuring the performance of external plugins and homemade software can be a nightmare.

You must know that software such as shipping integrations and third-party integrations can slow down your platform independently of how your WooCommerce setup is performing. Moreover, Integrators aren't always available during critical business times, and evaluating an integration performance in your platform can be pretty challenging.

And the responsibility of server performance falls on the lap of the WooCommerce and WordPress management team. This means that the platform, Woo/WP, gets blamed for slow performance, and many times it's not even something in your site that can be slowing you down.

Pro Tip: Take inventory on all 3rd party integration running on your platform and track performance in New Relic. You can also use a tool like GTMetrix to check what external calls are being made by the website and how they affect performance.

But what if external services are taking the most resources? That can happen, especially when under heavy traffic. That is why it’s so important to stress test your servers. Most of the time, you can’t tell when an integration will put your platform under a heavy load.

A quick example comes to mind. A client’s private cloud setup in a local fulfilment warehouse using and off-the-shelf software integration. As a store manager you have to be cautious about this set up. In this case, it was really hard to get visibility into what was slowing down the platform and producing crashes. This lack of visibility could’ve been prevented using New Relic.

I should also mention another useful too which is widely used: GT Metrix. The waterfall view of a report lists the all resources that are being pulled by a page, both from the server as well as external sources. It looks like this:

Screenshot of a GT Metrix report showing a waterfall view of a WooCommerce cart page.

This is an example of a WooCommerce cart page and we're looking at the last set of resources from a total of 154. As you can see they are all being executed quickly and concurrently, which is the ideal scenario. The last two, however, refer to Stripe, which is a payment gateway. There is a big delay before they are loaded, which affects the overall page load time. This is an issue worth investigating.

Scheduled Tasks/Cron Jobs

Cron jobs are programmed tasks that take place at a particular time and date. A SysAdmin usually sets up these jobs according to the system load and processes running at different times and the required tasks to be completed.

So, scheduled tasks take memory and CPU resources. If you carelessly program tasks without considering the system's performance, you'll clog the platform with jobs that could complete at other times.

Something like that happened on one of our platforms once. An hourly Cron job processing notes from every order caused the system to spike load at the bottom of every hour. This scheduled task went through every order from the last hour and processed notes for specific tasks. This wasn't a problem during regular sales hours when the Cron job had to look through 10 or 100 notes. But it was a hassle when it came to processing 2,000 notes for a non-mission critical process/function with your server running at 80% capacity.

Can you see how a simple scheduled task can ruin your store's performance and cause spike loads?

Pro Tip: Use WP-Control to adjust time and intervals. Always consider setting up cron jobs/scheduled tasks during low impact times, just when your system isn't running any critical processes.

Black Friday Email Marketing Tips For WooCommerce Stores

WooCommerce is great at a lot of things, but email marketing isn’t one of them. Yes, it can collect email addresses when your customers register an account or create one at checkout. But you really can’t do much with your email list apart from sending them basic transactional emails (e.g. new account, processing order, completed order, refunded order, reset password, etc.).

The good news is that there’s no shortage of email marketing platforms that seamlessly integrate with WooCommerce. Features and pricing vary from one provider to another, but at the very least, choose a platform that offers user segmentation and email automation. Doing so will allow you to send the perfect Black Friday deals to the right group of people!

One such platform is Blue Odin. Designed for WooCommerce sellers, Blue Odin combines user segmentation, email automation, and a user-friendly sales dashboard to help you manage your WooCommerce store. It’s perfect for your flash sales, holiday sales, and Black Friday campaigns – just add your WooCommerce store to Blue Odin and start planning your next campaign!

Screenshot of Blue Odin's homepage hero block

 

Why is it important to prepare for Black Friday RIGHT NOW?

Black Friday falls on 26th November this year. It’s still weeks away, but you need to gear up as early as now.

Here’s why:

If you don’t act now, your competitors will steal your customers – and all your potential profit from the biggest sales event of the year!

Email marketing tips to boost your Black Friday sales

Apply these tips below and watch your WooCommerce profits grow not only during flash sales but year-round as well!

1) Start collecting email addresses ASAP

The old cliché “the money is in the list” is true. According to Campaign Monitor, a $1 investment in email marketing can generate up to $38 in revenue - that’s a mindblowing 3700% ROI!

Once you get people signed up to your list, you can market to them over and over again at no extra cost. You also have full control over the type of content you can send to your subscribers.

But since no one will give up their emails voluntarily, you will need to get creative with your ‘lead magnet’ to convince them. You can use an eBook, a discount code, case studies, trial subscription, etc. as your lead magnet.

Here’s Convesio’s lead magnet, a free trial sign up form:

Screenshot of Convesio's free trial sign up page

 

Remember, the more people you have on your list, the higher your potential profit on mega sales events like Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas, and more.

So, add your email opt-in forms to your sidebar, header, footer, in the middle of your blog posts, and pop-ups, and start collecting those precious email addresses!

7 Ways To Make WooCommerce Faster Before Black Friday

WooCommerce-powered websites have advantages over Shopify and other e-commerce platforms because you can tweak and fine-tune your site to your needs.

Out of the box, your site can run fine. But your website visitors have a high bar for shopping. We know customers expect free, fast shipping and fast page load times, and detailed product photos and videos. We know this because you and everyone else expect the same.

There are seven steps you can do to make your WooCommerce website faster and increase WooCommerce speed:

Measure your site with GTMetrix and Google PageSpeed for more information

Before we get started, head over to GTMetrix.com and Google PageSpeed. Put your domain name in the box and get a free report of how your site performs. Both will give you a letter or number grade. This will tell you a lot of why your pages or WooCommerce are slow to load.

This score is your starting point and can be a great way to find images, scripts, styles, and more that are taking up the most time to load.

Write these scores, their load times, and page size down to compare against later.

Clean up your WooCommerce database, fragments, styles, and scripts

Most WordPress sites use WooCommerce in addition to all the other pages, blog posts, contact forms, return policies, and information your site needs to host. WooCommerce’s cart fragments are a small snippet of code that activates site-wide to keep the cart updated. This is handy because it does it through AJAX, meaning it doesn’t need to refresh the whole page. The downside is it loads on every single page. A person reading a blog post or your homepage probably doesn’t have anything to add to their cart. The cart fragments can add up to about 500KB or 1MB per page of bandwidth.

You can safely disable cart fragments by adding this function to your functions.php file:


/** Disable Ajax Call from WooCommerce */
add_action( 'wp_enqueue_scripts', 'dequeue_woocommerce_cart_fragments', 11);
function dequeue_woocommerce_cart_fragments() { if (is_front_page()) wp_dequeue_script('wc-cart-fragments'); }

You should consider doing this if:

You can go further by adding this script to your functions.php file to prevent WooCommerce’s 3 default stylesheets from loading on non-WooCommerce pages:


if ( function_exists( 'is_woocommerce' ) ) {
if ( ! is_woocommerce() && ! is_cart() && ! is_checkout() ) {
remove_action('wp_enqueue_scripts', [WC_Frontend_Scripts::class, 'load_scripts']);
remove_action('wp_print_scripts', [WC_Frontend_Scripts::class, 'localize_printed_scripts'], 5);
remove_action('wp_print_footer_scripts', [WC_Frontend_Scripts::class, 'localize_printed_scripts'], 5);
}
}
add_action('wp_enqueue_scripts','wpb_load_woocommerce');
function wpb_load_woocommerce() {
if( is_page(array( 'shop', 'cart', 'checkout' ) ) or 'product' == get_post_type() ) {
wp_enqueue_style( 'wpb-woo', get_stylesheet_directory_uri() . '/css/woocommerce.css', ”, '3′, 'all');
}
}add_action( 'wp_enqueue_scripts', 'wp_enqueue_woocommerce_style' );
function wp_enqueue_woocommerce_style(){
wp_register_style( 'mytheme-woocommerce', get_stylesheet_directory_uri() . '/css/woocommerce.css' );
if ( class_exists( 'woocommerce' ) ) {
wp_enqueue_style( 'mytheme-woocommerce' );
}
}
// Remove each style one by one
add_filter( 'woocommerce_enqueue_styles', 'jk_dequeue_styles' );
function jk_dequeue_styles( $enqueue_styles ) {
unset( $enqueue_styles['woocommerce-general'] ); // Remove the gloss
unset( $enqueue_styles['woocommerce-layout'] ); // Remove the layout
unset( $enqueue_styles['woocommerce-smallscreen'] ); // Remove the smallscreen optimisation
return $enqueue_styles;
}
// Or just remove them all in one line
add_filter( 'woocommerce_enqueue_styles', '__return_false' );

You can also disable WooCommerce scripts, which includes a lot of jQuery elements, by using this script:


/**
* Optimize WooCommerce Scripts
* Remove WooCommerce Generator tag, styles, and scripts from non WooCommerce pages.
*/
add_action( 'wp_enqueue_scripts', 'child_manage_woocommerce_styles', 99 );
function child_manage_woocommerce_styles() {
//remove generator meta tag
remove_action( 'wp_head', array( $GLOBALS['woocommerce'], 'generator' ) );
//first check that woo exists to prevent fatal errors
if ( function_exists( 'is_woocommerce' ) ) {
//dequeue scripts and styles
if ( ! is_woocommerce() && ! is_cart() && ! is_checkout() ) {
wp_dequeue_style( 'woocommerce_frontend_styles' );
wp_dequeue_style( 'woocommerce_fancybox_styles' );
wp_dequeue_style( 'woocommerce_chosen_styles' );
wp_dequeue_style( 'woocommerce_prettyPhoto_css' );
wp_dequeue_script( 'wc_price_slider' );
wp_dequeue_script( 'wc-single-product' );
wp_dequeue_script( 'wc-add-to-cart' );
wp_dequeue_script( 'wc-cart-fragments' );
wp_dequeue_script( 'wc-checkout' );
wp_dequeue_script( 'wc-add-to-cart-variation' );
wp_dequeue_script( 'wc-single-product' );
wp_dequeue_script( 'wc-cart' );
wp_dequeue_script( 'wc-chosen' );
wp_dequeue_script( 'woocommerce' );
wp_dequeue_script( 'prettyPhoto' );
wp_dequeue_script( 'prettyPhoto-init' );
wp_dequeue_script( 'jquery-blockui' );
wp_dequeue_script( 'jquery-placeholder' );
wp_dequeue_script( 'fancybox' );
wp_dequeue_script( 'jqueryui' );
}
}
}

Optimize your product images

This is widely known to every website manager who runs an online store. You can’t just upload photos straight off your phone or DSLR camera. The images are too big. For a WooCommerce store, images will always be among the most bandwidth-gobbling parts of the page.

WooCommerce preview images are almost always square. 1200x1200px is perfectly adequate for most stores. Taking an image straight off your phone is likely 3x larger than they need to be. This doesn’t improve anything for the customer. It just slows them down. And mobile users will eat through their data plans loading images that are 3-4MB when they could be under 1MB. That’s not just bad for customers, it’s also rude and costs you and customers money!

You can automatically optimize your images using a service like ShortPixel. It’s not free, but it’s worth the price. For most stores, $10 will get you enough credits to fix all of your images.

As a bonus, it’ll optimize every image in your WordPress media library, not just store photos. Enable the “make .webp” (pronounced like “weppy”) and all of your JPGs will become this new format. As of 2020, every major desktop and mobile browser supports .webp. They’re indiscernible from JPGs, have a smaller file size, and a single checkbox in ShortPixel’s settings will convert almost all of your images automatically.

Increase or improve your website’s server resources

If you’re using a shared hosting provider with legacy technology, like GoDaddy or Hostgator, you should move. The prices are cheap for a reason. The single best money you can spend is on solid WordPress hosting. Better hosting and hosting plans mean everything loads faster.

Modern next-generation hosting providers like Convesio can improve a website’s performance by doing almost no other work by 150%. Hosting with Convesio also opens up our new Pro Services. Meaning we can migrate your site, measure the results before and after, and help you optimize your site using the items shared in this guide, all automatically.

Convesio’s platform scales automatically, so you don’t need to mess with memory limits, storage, or other arbitrary technical measures. Hosting with Convesio is as straightforward as publishing a blog post or new product to your WooCommerce site.

Short of that, if you want to free up some database resources head into Your WooCommerce Settings > Tools > and “Clear customer sessions”. Do this before the holiday rush. Likewise, clear the WooCommerce Transients and Expired Transients cache, too. This will flush out old carts that have expired and customer sessions that never converted into paying customers.

Take a hard look at your website’s third-party scripts

We see this a lot when clients ask about improving website speed. A glance at GTMetrix or Google PageSpeed shows dismal scores. Often the top suggestion is “Remove third-party scripts”.

Those third-party scripts include Google Analytics, the Facebook Pixel, ad networks, and ad trackers, Twitter widgets, Facebook widgets, and other social media add-ons.

The truth is almost no one clicks on those “Share this page” widgets. You can verify this yourself using services like HotJar (temporarily, since it’s also a third-party script) to record users anonymously. Twitter streams, Facebook “Like this page” boxes, and other widgets add a lot of bloats. If you want to encourage users to Follow or Like you, consider a simple widget or block that uses an image, some CSS, and a little text with a link to your profile.

If you’re not using the Facebook Pixel, maybe because you tried it once and haven’t come back to it since, consider removing it. You can always add it back later.

Google Analytics is likely still important to your business, but if you’re not using Google Tag Manager to install the script, you should. The new method promises reduced script usage and improved load times.

Your internal plugins may also be running heavy scripts that do nothing but slow sites down. Some common ones include:

Use a solid site and platform caching plugin

Your website host may already have built-in caching. Convesio does and the performance gains can be as much as 2-3x faster. But you can also run a local caching plugin like WP Fastest Cache or WP Rocket. WP Rocket is $49, but it’s well worth it and we often include it as part of our Pro Services optimizations (free of charge).

Configuring WP Rocket is almost automatic during setup. Just be sure to test your site before, during, and after setting up in a private window so you see your site how users are likely to see it. Things like “defer Javascript” and “Minify scripts” can cause your site to break.

How to Load Test WooCommerce For Black Friday

Black Friday is coming up and you need to act now to make sure your store can handle the rush. Web developers tend to focus on page load speeds using tools like Google PageSpeed Insights or GTmetrix but rarely do they test for concurrency. Don’t let your WooCommerce store turn your black ink red during the busiest shopping day of the year. Prepare your site now.

In this blog post, we’re going to explore the ways you can speed up WooCommerce for Black Friday and survive the Shark Tank Effect:

Let’s start with how to load test WooCommerce store with Supervisor.com.

Meet Supervisor.com: AI-powered load testing for eCommerce and SaaS

We picked Supervisor.com because it’s easy to use and it’s based on bots using real browsers to simulate users. The use of real browsers creates a test environment that’s very similar to the loads created by concurrent real-world users on your site. The AI ensures that the simulation is realistic and not just a script being run to replicate the same behaviors over and over again.

The process

Go to Supervisor.com’s website and start off with the free test on offer, so you will familiarize yourself with the process. Before doing so, there’s a little prep to go through:

Understanding the results

As an example, we’ve looked at the results of a WooCommerce site in the marine tech space.

WooCommerce Load test

Here’s a breakdown of what you see in the graph: