Peaks in website traffic is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, they mean more traffic and more opportunities to convert visitors into paying customers. On the other hand, peak traffic can have a detrimental impact on website performance and could even cause downtime that results in the loss of potential customers.
When a business knows that a peak is coming, whether as a result of a promotion or in relation to seasonality or a holiday, there are steps they can take to mitigate the risks. Here are some legit ways to prepare your site for peak traffic,
Have Website Monitoring in Place
The importance of having website monitoring applications in place cannot be overstated. These tools provide valuable insights into what’s causing a problem, as well as triggering an alert when bottlenecks arise and identifying when a problem is imminent.
When searching for a website monitoring provider, look for a company that helps identify the root cause of an issue, and instantly alerts you of the problem the moment it happens, regardless of where you are in the world. Use a tool that provides guidance on correcting the problem and allows you to share your website’s status easily and efficiently.
Test the Traffic
Before you have hundreds or thousands of people crowding your website at the same time, you can simulate the effect and see what will happen to your site. Stress tests are a way to prepare for peak traffic by simulating the effect of a traffic increase and noting the results based on your current set up.
This exercise will identify what needs to be put in place for your website to perform at optimal levels during periods of increased traffic. With enough time and preparation, you’ll also be able to test the alterations you make based on your initial results. This will help you minimize the potential for downtime and ensure that your real visitors have the experience you want them to.
Talk to Your Hosting Provider
Understanding how your hosting plan works is essential in preparing for increased traffic. If you don’t already understand how your plan works or what flexibility you have, take time to have a discussion and explain your concerns. Your host should be able to look at your current plan and determine what you can handle or what extra service you can purchase to handle the influx of traffic.
Fortunately, cloud hosting creates a lot of flexibility in plans. While not all of your website traffic will be directed through your host, having a discussion with your provider can help create a great customer experience for those directed through that point of entry.
Caching is Key
All websites and app developers should use caching to some extent. Caching saves relative data so that it doesn’t need to be reloaded from scratch every time someone visits the site. The idea is that the first visit will have the longest loading period, and subsequent visits will be reliant on cached data that takes less time to load.
Going beyond the website defaults and taking an in-depth look at caching opportunities for both static and dynamic content can help reduce loading and processing time, so that visitors get what they need and leave quickly, making room for more guests.
Understand Your Customer Journey
Even with enough bandwidth, bottlenecks can occur. For example, your website might be able to handle 500 active users at any given time, which works when you have 400 browsing and 100 going through the checkout. However, if there was a shift, and you suddenly had 100 people browsing and 400 people going through the checkout, problems could arise.
To get ahead of bottlenecks, you need to understand your customer journey by looking at your analytics. Take note of the popular points of entry, whether it’s a blog post or your home page. Where do your customers go from there? Are there common crossover points? Where do conversions happen and where do customers bounce the most?
Understanding the customer journey can help you prepare accordingly, and test various routes to help customers get to the check out a little faster. It can also help you allocate bandwidth during peak times throughout the day if necessary.
Work with a Pro
Even with the right tools in place, sometimes people don’t know what they don’t know. Most businesses use their website as a tool while their specialty and knowledge is focused on what they sell. This is why working with a web developer or someone who is experienced in creating a web traffic strategy is a good idea for businesses who know that changes are on the horizon.
Rather than struggling with the concepts above, a web developer will be able to see the bigger picture and put it all together in a way that makes sense for the business. Whether your organization aims to handle the traffic peak itself or work with a consultant, following the tips listed above can help prevent disaster and create ample opportunity for success.
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