How to Speed Up Your Retail Website for the Holiday Shopping Rush

How to Speed Up Your Retail Website for the Holiday Shopping Rush

November 12, 2021 Off By Koehler Home Decor

You should expect a higher-than-average number of visitors to your store throughout the holidays and the weeks leading up to them. This is fantastic, but if your website isn’t prepared to handle the extra traffic, you could lose sales and damage your online reputation.

Even some of the industry’s behemoths were caught off guard by the unusually heavy traffic last year. The electronics retailer Best Buy, the worldwide marketplace Etsy, and the clothes retail behemoth Zara were among the many websites that collapsed on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Despite this, last year’s Cyber Monday sales totaled $10.84 billion, making it the most successful shopping day in history.

There’s a lot you can do to get your ecommerce store ready for the holiday shopping rush, and the sooner you start, the better. Keep reading to learn about website speed optimization and how to prepare your site for holiday traffic.

Test Your Website’s Technical Performance

One of the most important things you can do to prepare for increased online traffic during the holidays is to run a website performance test.

Use optimization tools like Google’s Page Speed Tool or WebPageTest to see how your store’s website performs and where you can make improvements.

These numbers are essential to note because Google considers page speed when ranking websites. Here are a few examples of general ways to improve your statistics:

  • Avoid making major modifications to your website.
  • Remove or compress large photo and video files from your website
  • Uninstall plugins that aren’t in use
  • Distribute traffic load over different servers using a content delivery network (CDN) or a load balancer
  • Browser caching should be enabled.

Checking your website for any updates is another important component of page load optimization to maintain an excellent user experience across all devices. This is especially true for WordPress based sites, as old plugins that have not been updated have been known to wreak havoc on sites and leave them vulnerable to hackers.

Make Sure Your Site is VERY Mobile Friendly

Getting your website ready for a huge number of visits includes optimizing it for mobile users.

Mobile commerce (or mcommerce) is on the rise, with revenues expected to reach $3.56 trillion in the United States by the end of 2021.

Mobile holiday sales reached $3.6 billion in 2020, accounting for 40% of total online spending on Black Friday and 37% of digital sales on Cyber Monday. Something very similar is expected for 2021.

This means only one thing for online store owners: adapting to client shopping behaviors in order to sell more.

Begin by ensuring that your website is mobile-friendly (you can use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test to do so). More condensed information presented in an easy-to-read style is required for mobile users. Following that, you can enhance the mobile consumer experience by implementing the following:

  • Make your website responsive.
  • Adjust font and button sizes to improve page load time
  • Make mobile payments easy.
  • Adjust the size of the pop-ups on mobile devices.

You can assure a seamless user experience on any device by building your website’s mobile version first. The desktop website is where you can add a little more content and decoration while still maintaining functionality.

Most website builders allow you to view your site as seen on a smartphone, a tablet and a desktop, so take the time to make sure they all look and function well.

Don’t Make Major Design Changes

While it’s important to keep things fresh, altering the design of your website just before the holidays isn’t the best idea. People appreciate consistency, particularly when it comes to finding products and placing orders. Any significant changes to these processes could result in customer dissatisfaction or unforeseen technological issues.

Instead of overhauling your website, focus on delivering your holiday deals to customers in a familiar yet engaging manner. Here are a few marketing concepts to consider:

  • Make a holiday-themed landing page with all of your best offers in one location.
  • Make a list of gift categories, such as “present ideas for dad.”
  • Banners for the holidays should be added on product pages.
  • To promote special offers, use promo bars or pop-ups.

Optimize Your Images

When purchasing online, visitors to ecommerce stores expect to see a lot of photographs. Shoppers have evolved into voracious visual consumers, and slow-loading pages send them packing.

As a result of the delayed loading visuals, search engines will penalize the entire page, favoring those that provide a better user experience. Keeping this in mind, optimizing page images is one of the best practices for speeding up your website.
Examine the image sizes on your website.

Any image larger than 500KB will slow down the page. It’s preferable to compress your image files if they’re too large. JPEG Optimizer and TinyPNG are online applications that will either delete some of the image pixels or squish them together to reduce the file size. Try keeping image file sizes under 70KB if possible.

Make it Easier for Search Engines to Figure Out What Your Images are About.

To do this, you’ll need to consider two things: the names of your image files and the alt texts.

A file name (for example, “readme.txt”) is used to identify a computer file. When you download an image, you may see the file name. Image optimization necessitates the creation of keyword-rich file names, as search engines rely on them to understand the image content.

Search engines use alt text to decipher image content. Vision-impaired technology also uses alt text to read out loud what’s going on in the image. Make your alt text descriptive and keep your keywords in mind as you write them.

Make Sure You Have Cookies Enabled

Cookies allow a website to identify a device as a returning visitor. They can assist in the storage of visitor data and preferences, such as ZIP codes and search information.

Your visitors don’t have to log in every time they want to make a new purchase because of cookies. Customers who trust a website and shop there frequently do not want to have to re-enter their payment information each time they visit.

Cookies are also a good way to entice customers to come back to your website because they remember the user’s preferences and provide a more personalized buying experience. Another popular application of cookies is to collect anonymous visitor statistics that can be viewed and analyzed in Google Analytics.

Make Sure Google Analytics is Active

Speaking of Google Analytics ensure that it is fully functional on your site too. In the short term the data it collects may help you make quick adjustments to your holiday shopping campaigns based on the results and in the long term it will help you create an even better campaign next year.

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