7 Ways to Prepare Your Website for the Holiday Traffic
If you had a brick-and-mortar store of any kind, chances are you would be making preparations for the holidays. As people tend to indulge in shopping during the holidays, you must anticipate more visitors and prepare your store during this season.
This is especially true if your business relies on your website.
Businesses that sell online should also be making necessary preparations to avoid any type of inconvenience to your customers. This includes keeping the website running at its best even amid the holiday rush.
Importance of preparing for holiday traffic
Websites that are left unprepared for the holiday rush can be exposed to several problems that may arise. Not taking the necessary steps to prepare your website might leave you with a bunch of problems, such as:
- Website crashes due to heavy traffic
- Slow page load times which may turn customers away
- Problematic checkout process which may lead to an increased shopping cart abandonment
To keep your website in its best performance during the holiday rush, we thought we’d make a list of simple steps you can take to prepare your website for your expected holiday traffic. Here are seven ways to be ready for the shopping rush during the holidays.
1. Evaluate website performance
Right before the holiday season starts, it’s best to evaluate and review your website and one of the things you should first look at is your actual sales.
Was there a specific demographic or time zone your products appealed to? Knowing this will help you build a plan around it.
You should also check your website for any outdated plugins and extensions you might still be using. These plugins may harm your website’s speed and subsequently interfere with your bottom line.
2. Do updates before the holidays
Any updates you might want to implement should be applied ahead of time. The holiday rush is not the right time to tinker with new extensions or brand new templates.
If you want to change ecommerce providers or migrate to other ecommerce solutions, make sure you do so before the holidays get in high gear.
3. Check for speed
Your website’s page load speed has always been a factor in search. If you want to attract more people by being seen in search results, you must see to it that your website has a fast page load speed.
Once users start browsing through your website, its loading speed can be a deciding factor that could lead them to the end of their purchase journey.
The Financial Times ran tests and discovered that even a 1-second increase in page speed improved engagement by 5%. This shows just how crucial page speed is to the overall ecommerce experience.
4. Make sure the site is mobile-friendly
In this day and age, the importance of mobile devices in the customers’ buying journey couldn’t be emphasized hard enough. Many webmasters these days build their website with a mobile-first mindset as more users opt to browse the internet using mobile devices than desktop computers.
See to it that all of your website’s functionality works well on mobile devices. Moreover, the decision around your website improvement should never be between website design or user experience, they should always be in synergy with each other.
Run necessary diagnostic tests to ensure that your website is mobile-responsive, along with speed tests on mobile browsing.
5. Enhance site security
Ecommerce websites are increasingly becoming exposed to stronger cybersecurity issues. And as more buyers flock online to do their shopping, chances are there will be more culprits taking the holidays as an opportunity to hack and compromise sensitive data to their advantage.
With this, it must be imperative for you to enhance your website’s security. Not taking the necessary precautions to secure your website might leave your customers to feel as is you’re not taking their best interests in priority.
See to it that you only use trusted payment gateways. Using a secured website protocol (https) should also be a standard, in case your website still hasn’t been using this.
6. Enable caching
Although increasing your bandwidth can effectively help your website handle heavier traffic, this might be worthless if your website is not using the right caching techniques.
Caching is the process that websites use to temporarily store data locally for pieces of information that are frequently used by the website visitor, resulting in faster load time.
See to it that your website has a proper caching mechanism to avoid using more bandwidth that may affect your website’s speed and your customer’s browsing convenience.
7. Upgrade your hosting plan
One easy and sure way to upgrade your online store and be fully prepared for the year-end shopping rush is to upgrade your hosting plan.
If you want to set a long-term strategy to grow your business, then it must be time for you to upgrade your hosting plan.
However, the process of doing so can be complicated. This is why you should do this way ahead and be very diligent in choosing your hosting plan.
Make sure to look at thorough posts that compare website hosting. Doing this will allow you to choose the right provider that covers all your needs.
When to start preparing?
Preparing your website for the holiday rush can never be too early. Making these changes as early as possible might just be the best thing to do, as it will give you more time to test out all the changes you intend to make.
Making these improvements will refine your website’s day-to-day performance, help you prepare for unexpected traffic surges, and give you a sense of security knowing that your website can easily handle the holiday rush.