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How to prepare for Christmas website demand
Don’t get caught out
Christmas happens every year, you know that it’s coming and you know there’s going to be an increase in traffic, so why are you putting off performance monitoring?
Christmas website demand can have a devastating effect on your sales if you don’t tackle it appropriately and unless you’re severely under-resourced, there’s no real reason why you can’t start testing and monitoring right away.
Start by creating a plan of action based on last year’s problems, as well as your current site traffic and stay ahead of your competitors.
Start from the beginning
Before you start putting pressure on your website, ensure you’ve monitored it during regular traffic periods and establish a baseline from which you can work.
Using performance monitoring tools, move through your site as a user would – making intelligent purchasing decisions. By doing this, you can begin to understand where issues might be arising and can pinpoint weaknesses in your system.
If your site is struggling under normal demand, you should focus on ironing out these kinks before moving onto a full load test.
Utilise load testing
Load testing is essential if you really want to see how your website performs under pressure. During the busy Christmas period, customers aren’t going to care why your website isn’t working, they’ll just go elsewhere if they can’t get what they want.
With website load testing, you can simulate thousands or even millions of users flooding to your site at once, mimicking high levels of Christmas website demand. Load testing will actually go above and beyond the amount of traffic you’re likely to experience during the holiday season, to ensure your site can deal with any unexpected rises in demand.
With realistic customer journey simulation, you can meticulously comb through every step a user will take when visiting your site, including the problems they encounter.
Look for fixes closer to home
Before you bring in the performance enhancing big guns, check your site for the easier, more fixable problems. Many e-commerce sites are brought down by simple coding errors or even configuration issues that can be sorted out without too much hassle.
Keep up with the rush
Christmas website demand tends to fluctuate over the holiday period but there are some noticeably busier times. During the holiday season, ensure you have a dedicated performance team on hand to monitor and fix issues as they arise.
Once the Christmas rush is over, ensure you review how well your website handled the increased traffic. If there were any bottlenecking issues, start looking into the best ways to fix these straight away, so you’re ready for the next big rush.
Heavy Christmas traffic can make or break some e-commerce businesses, so make sure your site can keep up with demand.
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