StatusCake

Getting Ready for Black Friday – Month-by-Month Preparation

Black Friday will be here before you know it, ushering in four of the busiest days for online retailers. Most consumers view the period from Black Friday to Cyber Monday as an ideal opportunity to score some bargains, both in brick-and-mortar stores and online. Online shopping during this four-day shopping window has become especially popular, with traffic increasing by 20% to 25% each year for the past few years.

There is every reason to believe that this trend will continue this year, and it’s not too early to begin planning for this year’s onslaught. Last year, the websites of many online retailers experienced slow loading times during this period, and some even crashed for several hours. Here are a few steps that you can take to get ready to help you avoid becoming a casualty during this key shopping period.

One of the first things that you should do is look at your website’s infrastructure. May and June represent an excellent opportunity for you to evaluate how your website is performing and to carry out any routine maintenance required to ensure that your site is ready for the expected increase in traffic. Evaluate your infrastructure with the goal of avoiding any downtime for maintenance during the peak selling season. These two months are also an excellent time to install any new services.

July is the perfect time to test your website’s performance to look for any issues that might affect the loading time. Look at your historical traffic data for this four-day period, and evaluate your ability to handle Black Friday’s increased traffic loads, assuming that traffic will increase over last year. Also, see whether you have any applications that are particularly sensitive to increases in traffic. If you find any areas that present a challenge, this is the time to install the technology that will mitigate the problem.

In August, freeze the implementation of any updates to your website’s infrastructure. Then, look at your analytical data again to uncover any potential weaknesses remaining. Conduct load tests of your site to be sure that any changes that you made in July are performing as expected. Testing high loads in August gives you adequate time to make any changes before Black Friday arrives.

In September and October, evaluate any natural increase in traffic loads. You should start to see a natural increase in traffic loads by October, and analysing real traffic data rather than the artificial traffic that you used for load testing can often uncover some surprises. Check your site daily to ensure that it is handling increased traffic loads efficiently. At this point, your preparations for Black Friday should be complete.

In November, continue your daily traffic analysis. If you’ve been checking your analytics during the past six months, you should only need to make minor adjustments as your traffic increases. Expect exceptionally large traffic loads on Black Friday, with spikes of up to 15 times the average traffic for a typical day during the rest of the year being possible.

Come December, evaluate how your site performed, and use the results of that analysis to help you plan for the peak shopping season in 2018.

Share this

More from StatusCake

How To

Using Social Media for Affiliate Marketing

7 min read Today, social media uses a wide range of different social networking platforms to help its users with the creation and sharing of ideas, information, personal interests and hobbies by establishing virtual networks. Affiliates can benefit from these groups that use web-based applications to communicate, interact and connect.

man-and-woman-on-website
How To

How to Improve User Experience

4 min read One of the biggest eCommerce questions – how do you improve user experience? Here are all the top tips for a better UX design to help you drive revenue.

woman-astronaut-flying
Product & Updates

How Page Speed Affects SEO

2 min read We all know page speed is crucial but not just for you brand – it affects SEO so hugely that it can make your pages drop in ranking.

short-reads

How to Reduce Bounce Rate

5 min read Learn what bounce rate is and how it is measured, what a good bounce rate looks like, and the actionable steps you can take to improve the bounce rate on your website.

man-on-bike
short-reads

What Causes Website Downtime?

3 min read Website downtime no longer needs to be this big mystery that keeps you up at night. Here are the top causes for website downtime AND how to fix them.

short-reads

Over 40% of Online Advertisements are Too Large and Slow Down Websites

2 min read Large ads have been a major issue with online publishers who have been struggling with how to curtail what many call “fat ads.” The oversized ads have a major impact on the ability of website visitors to see them as they can’t view them if they don’t load properly.