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How to Keep Your Website Running Through High Traffic Holidays

How to Keep Your Website Running Through High Traffic Holidays Here we discuss how to keep your site from crashing during high traffic spikes, like Black Friday shopping. Click here to learn how to prepare your servers.

Last holiday season, e-commerce sales saw a 16.4% increase from the previous year. Online shopping has become the preferred method of gift-buying around the globe. In order to take advantage of this holiday season, online retails must be prepared to handle immense traffic.

If your website isn't backed up with reliable servers and scalability, you could be leaving money on the table. If you need to know how to get your website ready for high traffic spikes this year, this guide will help get you in the right direction.

We've gathered all the top dos and don'ts when it comes to running holiday sales and participating in the holiday rush. Make sure your website is ready to perform this holiday season by following these tips.

Season of Hackers

More traffic during peak seasons means more attempts to defraud, steal, or hack your website. You need to be prepared for all manner of cybercrime tactics. This includes XSS and SQL injections, which, according to the Trustwave Global Security Report, accounts for about 23% of all attacks.

You need to make sure you have: a malware scanner, an SSL certificate, and a web application firewall. These are three basic facets of security that cannot be compromised. Automatic site backups should be turned on and the data recovery process should be tested before it is needed.

A security leak or server hack during the holidays would result in a PR disaster. Your business may never recover from it if it is revealed that you did not take the necessary steps to protect customers.

Ensure that Your Website is Scalable

Your hosting plan might be more than enough to handle traffic for 11 months out of the year. It's that final stretch where all your sales come from when you need help. What do you do in that situation? Do you decide to pay for more expensive server plans?

The best plan of action is to build your site on platforms that can scale when you need it. Load balancing software can save you thousands on attempting to vertically scale your site with more servers. This type of software can handle peak traffic without needing to recode your website or hand the keys over to a third party.

Content Delivery Networks

Website performance under the weight of a large influx of traffic can be mitigated with a CDN. A content delivery network stores duplicates of your content across multiple servers. These servers are evenly spread geographically so that visitors access this data faster, spending less time eating up bandwidth.

This reduces the amount of work your server has to perform when a large number of visitors come in at the same time. A CDN can handle the loading of any content, including HTML pages, javascript files, stylesheets, images, and videos. Most major websites that rely on holiday sales use CDNs, such as Amazon, eBay, Etsy, and Wayfair.

Get Better Hosting

Is your website hosted on shared servers, a VPS, or dedicated servers? Shared servers are not made to handle holiday traffic. The last thing you need is to be sharing a box with other clients who are also pulling in high traffic. VPS and dedicated servers are the way to go.

A good compromise would be to get a hybrid cloud hosting service. You can get a lot of power along with security fail-safes in place to handle increased hacking attempts during the holidays. Find a nice balance between affordable performance and the number of things to do with a server as a developer.

Caching is Key

The more you can cache, the better you can reduce the load on all of your servers. Most of your website should be cacheable, especially heavy multimedia content. The only types of content that cannot be cached are objects that need to pull unique information, secure logins, and streams.

Anything that falls under the category of website themes, images, CSS, and Javascript is considered static. Timed events, scheduled content deliveries, and interactive content are also cacheable. All of the caching will allow you to handle more page loads, search requests, and, most importantly, sales transactions.

Websites that do not focus on caching will risk scenarios where visitors browsing blog posts can slow down the entire website, including shoppers in your store.

Monetize Peak Traffic

Higher traffic doesn't always translate into higher revenues during the holidays. There are so many factors that determine how much websites make. These include the

following:

  • Time spent on a page
  • Bounce rate
  • Page load speed
  • Site uptime
  • Average pages viewed
  • Ad load times

Shop sales are usually not a great indicator that your website is optimized for monetization. You'll need to take a closer look at visitor behavior to find out what may or may not be working. Google Analytics is a good place to start for a baseline measurement of your performance.

Running high-quality email marketing campaigns, writing taller content, and taking advantage of voice SEO optimization is key. More people are navigating with Siri, Alexa, and Google Voice for the holiday season. Go ahead and refresh all relevant content with updated SEO, multimedia content, and watch retention statistics increase.

As your page ranking increases, advertisers will increase their bids, netting you higher ROI as the peak season is underway.

Ready for High Traffic?

The holidays are upon us, so there's no time to mess around. We know that there's a lot of things that need to be addressed and it can be difficult to handle all of this on your own. That's why here at Nitrogen we have designed a platform that takes care of the logistical pressure that accompanies high traffic spikes.

Nitrogen can scale your business on an as-needed basis, allowing you to get the best bang for your buck. You save money from not having to overcompensate by buying servers and software you may not need.

For more information, read more about Nitrogen here and listen to what our clients have to say about it. You can even request a free demo to see the difference in performance for yourself.