2016 Holiday Website Optimization: The Gift That Keeps Giving

Mendeil Bailey

Website Performance Holiday Kit

The holiday season is the ultimate stress test for some retailers, and for good reason. Key shopping days like Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Super Saturday can make or break a retailer's revenue results for an entire calendar year.​ A recent study done by About.com revealed that nearly 20% of U.S. retail sales come during the Holiday shopping season.

It’s never too late to take preventive measures to ensure your website is ready for the rush. Here are some tips to stay up and running during peak traffic periods:

  1. System readiness testing.
    Now is the ideal time to execute load testing to determine how your site will respond under peak traffic from a variety of device types and network conditions, such as desktops, tablets, and smartphones accessing the site from wired, Wi-Fi and cellular connections. Be sure to test performance and download times on diverse networks and devices.

  2. Implement application performance monitoring (APM) tools.
    Mobile and web experiences are personal. Consumers expect relevancy. Understanding the specific devices, touchpoints, and interactions is the only way to know if your digital strategy will directly improve customer experience. You have to anticipate their needs to win and retain their business. APM tools monitor real-time user experiences to ensure your website operates at maximum efficiency.

  3. Put the lock down on hackers.
    Maintaining site security is an ongoing and ever evolving challenge as hackers aim to find holes in website security. 2016 saw the largest distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack in history. These breaches can take down a website for days and cost millions.

    With cybercriminals stepping up their attacks amid increasing holiday traffic, it is imperative that retailers implement Web Application Firewalls, DDoS mitigation, and malicious bot detection solutions to offer end-to-end website security.

  4. Optimize for omni-channel experiences.
    Consumers expect a seamless experience across the many different devices they use on a daily basis. If a customer is searching for the perfect gift or price-comparing on a mobile device and moves to a desktop computer to finish purchasing, they should have a consistent experience.

    Retailers should keep in mind that consumers have come to expect web pages to load in three seconds or less on any device, or else run the risk of losing the user’s attention. According to our recent web performance survey, 75% of customer left for a competitor’s site due to slow site speed at peak traffic times.

  5. Think beyond your legacy content delivery network.
    CDNs can provide a huge performance benefit, but legacy CDNs are not going to cut it moving forward. For most online retailers, one of the most common performance pains are third-party content processing. Traditional CDN technology can’t help you with that. And most only provide marginal performance improvement on mobile devices.

    Make sure you’re using a web and mobile application delivery platform that includes a new breed of CDN technology. A solution like AppSpeed accelerates the network, but also provides application-level, third-party content, image, and mobile optimizations, which continuously learns and improves application behavior. You want go beyond the CDN, all the way through to the application execution, versus one that stops short at the network edge.

By taking these preventive measures to get your website holiday ready, you can make a big impact.

For additional tips and tools on how to improve performance this holiday season and into 2017, take a look at the 2016 Website Holiday Ready Kit.

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