30 days in the life of a slow WordPress site
So you just bought a theme, configured Woocommerce and host of other plugins, added pages, blog articles and products to your website….all ready to launch. Then you realise it is taking 20 seconds for just your home page to load. Knowing the stat that 1 second = 7% reduction in conversions you are now alarmed at the prospect of spending money on Social Media and Google Adwords if your slow site is going to lose customers at an alarming rate. You try to get support, but your hosting company says its X plugin, you contact X plugin, and they blame Y plugin, Y plugin’s support blames your hosting provider. So now what?
By now you are probably already also over budget and saving what is left for marketing, so spending any money fixing this is something your not keen to do. You google the problem, consider paying for yet another plugin that promises to fix this for you, but you notice someone offering to do this for you on a freelance site for $20 and grab the opportunity.
Seven days later the job is done, your home page is loading in 2 seconds, but your site looks like a disco, images and text are flashing as you scroll through the pages and there are some broken images. You click to a product page only to be disappointed by the same 20 second load time. You ask the freelancer to fix it, another week goes by, and now the site no longer flashes, the broken images are fixed, but your home page load’s in 7 seconds, and the product page still takes 20 seconds.
You now think, well 7 seconds is not so bad I need to get this site live, so you activate your Adwords and social media campaigns. The click-through stats on the Adwords dashboard are flying, but still no orders? What is going on, you look at your Google Analytics stats and see you have an 85% bounce rate. “I will give it a few more days” you think to yourself. A week later your credit card gets billed for the advertising and the stark realisation that you are throwing money at this site with no return hits home. You realise that not fixing that 20 second load time on the product pages was a huge mistake, now your serious.
You buy that expensive plugin that said it would fix all this for you, go to install it to find the freelancer already installed it. You can at least licence it and get updates, which you do. But there is no improvement in site performance.
….more money has gone.
Time to try another freelancer, home page loading in 3 seconds now, looks great but the product pages are still loading in 20 seconds.
It is at about this point that most clients contact me, willing to spend hundreds of dollars fixing the problem because they are desperate to get their site performing and sales coming in.
WordPress and Woocomerce speed optimisation and tuning is not an easy job that any web developer can do. There are thousands of combinations of factors that affect performance, and it requires a very skilled IT professional with years of experience, a high aptitude for debugging and someone who does this daily and knows all the tricks to get it done quickly and professionally.
There are a few of us out there offering such a service. I hope you find one of us and save yourself a lot of money and time by starting with an expert.
There you have it, my 2 cents on the typical story many of my clients have. I had intended this post to be about a quick free DIY page cache trick that small sites with only a few pages and blog posts can use to get some immediate results, but I guess all these client stories were in the back of my mind and I needed to write about them. The DIY post will be coming up in a few days……