Preparing Your Website for Increased Holiday Traffic

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The holidays are often busy times for businesses, both those that operate in a brick-and-mortar store and those who offer online retailing. For those who offer in-person sales, measures are taken to ensure that there’s adequate inventory and staffing for the increased foot traffic.

The same logic should apply to preparing your website for the holidays. If you aren’t prepared for the increased traffic, your customers will experience slow loading times, errors, and frustration. This all culminates in lost revenue for you. Here’s how you can get your site ready.

Server and Application Monitoring

Having server and application monitoring in place should be a priority year-round. If, however, you’ve somehow managed to do without until now, it’s time to change that. Putting strong server management and application performance monitoring tools in place will help give you an overhead view of any potential pitfalls when traffic increases, and allow you to fix them with minimal downtime.

First, research the environment in which your servers and applications operate. If you run Dell hardware, for example, you’ll want Dell server management tools for seamless integration. Having application monitoring tools in place can tell you what’s going wrong when a problem arises and where on your website users are becoming bottlenecked so you can make changes to your memory allocations.

Consider this: say your website operates well with 100 people browsing at any given time. At least, as long as you have 50 looking through your product offering, 25 browsing through their cart, and 25 in the checkout process. What happens if the traffic breakdown shifts, and you suddenly have 75 people going through the checkout at once?

Without application monitoring, you won’t know that this is going to cause an issue that will potentially lose you a quarter of your potential sales for the day. With those tools in place, you can fix the issue with minimal interruption.

Use Your Google Analytics

While application performance monitoring tools and server management is the most integrative way to prepare for the holidays, Google Analytics is a close second. Use your Google Analytics to collect information from the previous few years so that you can forecast this year’s traffic. By looking at your data history, you’ll be able to determine:

  • what keywords people are using to get to your site;

  • when holiday traffic starts to pick up;

  • what day of the week your customers tend to visit most frequently;

  • what time of day people shop the most;

  • their behavior once they get onto your site;

  • successful sales conversions; and

  • exit pages.

By knowing when people are visiting you the most, you’ll be able to allocate your resources accordingly. Additionally, this information will give you a competitive edge in your marketing efforts, as you can use it to create compelling landing pages and conversions.

Optimize for Mobile

Every year, more consumers are shopping via mobile phones. Stats show that in 2015, one-third of sales made during the holidays took place on a mobile device. Yet, 84% of online consumers have experienced difficulty when trying to complete a transaction via mobile. What does this mean for retailers during the holiday season? You need to put a renewed focus on optimizing your mobile website or application to handle the influx of traffic.

User experience is everything when it comes to using a web application, especially when it pertains to shopping for consumer goods. If you’ve ever doubted the importance of your user experience for online shopping, consider the fact that Amazon once lost $4.8 million in potential revenue when the site went down for 45 minutes.

To adequately prepare your website for the holidays, you need to have strong performance metrics and monitoring protocols in place. Failure to do so means an increase in downtime and a decrease in profits.