Scaling an Ecommerce website can be a challenging undertaking. You have to factor in a lot of situations like logged-in user accounts, order information, add-to-carts, coupons, pricing variables, etc. These situations need to be dealt with besides common scaling issues such as well-written code, custom database tables, and server infrastructure.
It is important to approach this with great care because delays or breaks can have a direct financial impact. According to Kissmetrics a single-second page delay can potentially cost $2.5 million in lost sales over a year, for a website that brings in $100,000 of business every day. This proves that it’s crucial to have a highly functional and efficient Ecommerce website.
WooCommerce is typically installed over WordPress CMS and the sites running WooCommerce are often customized to fit specific business needs. These customizations can range from something as basic as integrations with external services to custom SQL interfaces that don’t use WooCommerce or WordPress classes. As the number of these customizations increase, so does their difficulty to scale. A majority of customizations are one-off and not made to scale under load. This makes it difficult to approach scaling as a one-size-fits-all solution.
However, this doesn’t imply that scaling is impossible. Some methods work despite a website’s complexity and customizations.
Figure Out The Problem Areas
You can’t fix things you can’t see. So the first plan of action is to find out the problem areas, especially related to sales and incoming revenue.
- Begin with a site audit and gather information about code, the server, services, and integrations.
- Identify the problem areas with the help of this data you can identify the problem areas. For example, issues such as slow query logs in server information may show up.
Run Query Monitor
We suggest you use Query Monitor to identify things that are running slowly on different pages. Notice where the slow-down is occurring. For example, is it happening when you’re adding a product to the cart or when you’re applying a coupon? A quick study of the system process and interactions in checkout can help reveal things that need fixing.
Perform Load Testing
The next step is to perform load testing. Design test cases around different sales activities with a load testing service to analyze the website’s performance when there’s a sudden spike in traffic and activity. Ensure that you’re doing these kinds of tests in staging and not in a live environment. Also perform load tests when you introduce new functionality, integrations, or other changes in your system. You’d want to be double sure as there are new variables in the system.
Keep Databases Separate
WordPress has a single database table for all post types while it stores all post meta content in another table. This can work for small-volume websites but might pose a major problem for larger ecommerce websites. And since all the content is in only two database tables, it causes a performance bottleneck when the volume increases. In that case, user orders might fail or users might find it difficult to add or remove items from the cart. All this will eventually cause your revenue to take a hit.
Consider creating custom database tables based on the bottlenecks you encounter. That way you will be able to store different content in their separate tables. When the post types have separate homes, you can optimize SQL queries for faster load times.
Upgrade Older Code
As WooCommerce has evolved, some older functions and processes have become completely obsolete and hence been replaced with better code. With updated core WooCommerce code Legacy custom websites might not perform as their modern counterparts.
Identify outdated functionality and replace it with newer code from WooCommerce Core or custom code based on the latest practices and standards. To replace the legacy code you must know what it does first. This is where detailed code documentation comes in handy. The better the documentation, the easier it becomes to upgrade.
Find An Alternative To Default WordPress Search
The default search in WordPress is built on a set of queries to the database. This is bad news for complex site searches, filters, or custom content pages. Look for custom search solutions like Elastisearch or Algolia. These alternatives will perform better in complex higher-volume sites than WordPress’ default.
A smooth and flawless user experience is key to customer retention in an Ecommerce business. Scaling the website to match rising traffic is a good problem to have. It can be easily facilitated by strategy, thought, and customization.
You can outsource this important task to an experienced WooCommerce development agency to reinforce your Ecommerce website from the inside out.
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