Driving more traffic to the website is an inevitable part of every WooCommerce shop owner’s wish list. From promoting the website on social media to using various SEO tactics, owners are willing to adopt every possible method to see the website traffic skyrocket. However, the question arising here is, what if it suddenly happens one day. Sudden traffic burst on your website is a golden opportunity to increase sales. However, if you are not prepared to handle it, the story can be the opposite. The performance of the website can deteriorate with slow-loading pages and can even lead to a website crash. Moreover, you cannot deliver a pleasant experience to visitors if they find difficulty during checkout. For the worse, it can tarnish the reputation of the website and brand in addition to losing out on sales. It is thus important to know when to expect a spike and stay well equipped to make the most of it.
How to Foresee a surge of Website Traffic
Here are some common causes that will help you to anticipate an increase in website traffic.
- A feature of your product/content by a well-known website.
- Promotion of your product or content by a famous online influencer.
- Posting about a trending topic.
- Your seasonal products grabbing attention during a particular time of the year.
- Viral Social Media posts encouraging users to click on the link of your website
- Your website is a spotlight on any other social platform (For Eg. Featuring on television show) The result of any of these occurrences can be remarkable for the website. However, if you envisage these events happening simultaneously, the impact can be enormous. Hence to increase sales, it is essential to make sure that the website runs smoothly even under pressure.
Prepare Your Website for Traffic Spike
Managing the sudden surge can be a tedious task if you are not prepared in advance. Here are some useful tips that will help you to stay prepared to handle it with ease.
Upgrade your Web Hosting
You must be clued-up on your web hosting functions and features. You have to be diligent if the website is functioning on a shared web hosting method. Although this plan can offer a complete web hosting solution, the scalability can be limited. Unlike dedicated hostings, some shared hosting restricts the resources that a website can use. While you are expecting overwhelming traffic, consider moving to a more powerful solution like Cloud Hosting. The plans with load balancers are ideal to deal with heavy traffic on the website. Inform your web host about the estimated increase in traffic and seek a recommendation for the best plan. Be aware of how much traffic your hosting solution can deal with and its impact on the website functioning. In case of increased traffic than the estimate, be aware of the solutions that the host can provide. It is advisable to upgrade to a high-tiered plan at an extra cost during such an event. Ensure that the host would not take down your website for using resources more than it permits. This can incur huge losses to you and all the efforts you made for promotions will be washed out. Choose a plan that is ideal for you depending on the existing traffic and the expected spike.
Update Your Website
A regularly updated website impacts the success of online business to a great extent. From themes, WordPress plugins to PHP Version, it is advisable to keep every element updated. Get in touch with your host / web developer for clarification regarding the changelog. Important: Prior to making any changes, ensure to keep a backup of the current website.
Boost Performance by Content Delivery Network (CDN)
Making use of CDN is a great way to speed up your Website and boost its performance. By caching the website content on multiple servers in different locations, CDN benefits visitors across the globe. The increased speed is because the content is delivered from the visitor’s closest server. Even if the closest server is down, the next server comes to the rescue without affecting the performance. This makes CDN the perfect option if you are expecting an increase in website traffic. Opt for a quality CDN provider that suits the needs of your website. You can also consider Jetpack which is free and offers features like image optimization.
Install A Caching Plugin
Caching can remarkably improve the performance of a website when the traffic is at peak. It serves the data at high-speed as the data’s primary storage location need not be accessed. It thus reduces the number of requests between servers and browsers. Caching displays a static HTML output of the webpage that will marginally reduce the server load. Optimizing content load by installing a caching plugin can ensure a smooth experience for the visitors.
WooCommerce performance and site speed testing
Keeping a tab on the speed and performance of the website is indispensable while you are expecting heavy traffic. Tools like Page Speed Insights by Google or GTmetrix are great to analyse the website and see how it performs. In addition to that, it also generates a suggestion to make the page faster. Some frequently observed recommendations are :
- Use of Content Delivery Network (CDN)
- Image Optimisation
- Implement Browser Caching (WordPress plugin)
WooCommerce Shop Stress Test
To know how your website will perform under heavy load conditions, conduct a stress test. Stress Testing tools that will create a duplicate storm of customers to the website will help you analyse the areas of improvement. Conduct multiple stress test with different amount of traffic and identify its impact on the website.
Things to remember while conducting a Stress Test :
- Instead of a live website, run the stress test on an identical staging site.
- Run a test only after correctly setting the server and optimising the database.
- Carefully choose which open source load testing tool you must use.
When you are anticipating a traffic surge on your website, keep a check on the Inventory. This will ensure that you don’t miss any sales opportunities during the pinnacle of your campaigns. Check a track of your performance during the previous spike to get a precise estimate. Make sure to correctly configure the Inventory settings on WooCommerce. Carefully check the options available in Stock Management to ensure a smooth experience to the customers. For instance, select if you would like to display or hide out-of-stock items from catalogue. It also lets you enable low stock, out-of-stock notifications or allow backorders.
For a WooCommerce store owner, the joy of a sudden increase in website traffic can be overwhelming. However, this joy comes with its share of challenges that need to be converted into an opportunity. Being prepared prior to the spike can effortlessly yield a positive outcome. Put your best foot forward by providing a fast functioning website to the visitors. In addition to an increase in conversion, it has the potential to increase customer loyalty. Visitors would love coming back to a website that’s easy and smooth to operate. In the long run, it will contribute effectively to the success of your store and brand.