Are you an e-shop owner? Are you prepared for Black Friday? Are you afraid that your website will not be able to handle that much traffic? That it will load slowly?
The modern shoppers are not willing to wait more than 2 seconds for your website to load. In the following lines, you will find out what improvements you can make on your site in order to meet the user’s high expectations and to make sure that your website will be online on this day. Let’s dive in!
Check Your Site Speed and Checkout Process
Website speed optimization
It's measured we keep our attention for just a few seconds - this is the reason that visitors often leave slow websites. Also, Google penalizes slow websites by showing them lower in the results of the SERP so it is very important to have a well-optimized website.
Here are some general ideas from our experts:
Active cache mechanism/plugin. You can cache some queries that run whenever a user visits your website. This way you save time and resources.
Update your website plugins/modules.
Disable the functionality that is not crucial for your shop. Disable the plugins/modules that are not so important for your shop just for this day. For example, some stores disable their filtering functionality.
Consult with a programmer. He/She/They will do an audit of your website’s performance and can give you specific advice on what you need to change.
If your e-shop runs on WordPress, you can read in our previous blog post how to improve your WP website loading speed.
During Black Friday shoppers have literally thousands of hot offers to choose from and all websites compete for their purchase. Don’t let your customers skip your site in favour of your competitors just because your checkout process isn’t fast enough.
Users can modify quantities and remove items easily;
Ask for credit/debit card information last (after insertion of shipping information);
The shipping costs are clearly indicated (where there are such);
Offer free shipping when possible;
Allow users to complete purchases without registering;
Offer as many payment options as possible;
Go even further with constant A/B testing of your checkout process so you can see which tweak will be liked more and will lead to more conversions.
How to test if your website can take all this traffic?
On Black Friday, as well as in the period of a few weeks before it, the expected traffic to the sites increases, and it is essential to pay attention in advance.
It is important to make sure that your server will be able to handle the load. To do so, you would better run the performance tests and to be prepared for the day.
If you have ran a campaign for Black Friday last year, you can use the gained information which can be very helpful to smarten up this year’s campaign. Check how many resources you need and according to the expected traffic, prepare your site by purchasing additional resources or go directly to a higher plan of your web hosting provider.
There are different tests which you can use to check on your online shop performance but the most popular among them is the so-called Load test. The test simulates traffic demand on your online store and the goal is to measure how many one-time online visitors your website can take. This way you will know what is the maximum number of users your website can handle and what resources you need to handle this amount of users.
You can find more information about the Load test here:
There are various softwares you can use to perform a Load test.
Jmeter is one of the softwares which is free and with open code.
Another very simple instrument is AB - Apache Bench. This tool is very basic and it is a bad idea to only depend on it. More information for this tool and how you can execute tests using it could be found in the link below:
The truth is that to perform a realistic simulation of such a load, you would need a large infrastructure with lots of resources. Therefore, it is rare to perform such tests on your own infrastructure.
There are paid software that will perform the simulation and provide you with the results. Their price varies depending on how many simultaneous users you want to perform the test for. One of the examples is BlazeMeter - you can read more about its features in the following link:
A critical point during the test is to monitor very well the use of server resources at your disposal - CPU, RAM, disk space, I/O. If you see that one for these resources is reaching its limit, consider upgrading.
What to do if the website does not perform well according to the tests
Testing your website performance may be difficult, but when done right it is well worth the effort. It’s critical to know what’s about to fail when the traffic increases and to note which component of your site consumes the most resources and decide whether it is critical and could be replaced with a better one.
Unfortunately, we can’t give you specifics, because every webshop is based on a different CMS, has infrastructure which is not necessarily the same, every website uses different web hosting and is built in a different way.
One thing is clear, you need to test for yourself the overall performance of your shop and to apply the advice you will get from the testing software.
What do we offer
We suggest to our customers that the first thing to do is to contact us for consultation. Every website is built differently, requires a different amount of resources, etc. We are giving our customers the best possible deals. Our web hosting & server plans can be upgraded when needed. The only thing you need to do is to get in touch with us.
And because we understand your needs very well, you can upgrade just for a small period (1 week for example) and you will pay just for this time.
Planning and testing are extremely important. Knowing that a certain event is approaching and the traffic to your site is expected to increase, it's always an excellent and smart idea to make tests and improve your website.
It is good to perform tests often and to monitor the performance of your website because you do not operate only on this day!