The holiday season is fast approaching and I am sure you are working hard to make more money this season!!! You have secured your suppliers, reviewed all your processes from order fulfillment to defining your shipping policy to promotions and advertising but what about your online store?
Can your site handle the traffic spike?
First thing first; take a look your historical data and with a simple analysis you should be able to identify when the website traffic spike could potentially occur; to stress test your site you can use performance-testing applications to simulate the traffic (please communicate with our hosting provider before stress testing your website site). If you are hosting your website on VPS or Cloud VM you should be able to scale up your resources for a month or two to handle extra higher demand.
Make it easy to order
Make sure your shopping cart page is optimized, simple to navigate and easy to make a payment. Well, optimized shopping card should load quickly, should contain all the important information about the product, shipping, and ToS. It should also be easy to read and displayed on a single page. It is vital in today’s competitive online business world to give your customers different payment options for instance Credit Card, PayPal and if you want to be adventures you can accept BitCoin.
Business continuity and Redundancy
It is a nightmare if your website goes offline during the holiday shopping season; you should start putting together a business continuity plan. Conduct a risk assessment of your operation and come up with strategies to safeguard your business against the preventable risks. Make sure all your plugins are up to date and you have applied all the security patches; make sure you are using strong passwords and you have the backup of your website on your local computer. If you are hosting your website on a cloud VM with a reputable hosting company like cirrus hosting your server should be immune from hardware failure, because your data is not tied to a single server and in event of hardware failure your VPS or VM will be loaded on new hardware in a matter of minutes. You can also consult with your hosting provider to explore load balancing option so that you can distribute traffic between multiple servers. Load balancing is a cool option but it requires advanced technical know-how and it is much more expensive.
Website load time
Speed matters!!! In average a well-optimized e-commerce site should load under 3 seconds. There are a few simple steps you can take to reach the load speed of 3 seconds or thereabouts. In my opinion, the most important step is you should choose a light theme and compress your images – you can use Google Page Speed toll to see if your site benefits from compression, consider enabling caching feature and reduce redirects.
Site security and customer trust
An important aspect of any business let alone e-commerce is earning customers trust. One way of achieving that is by securing your communication between your client computer and your server through SSL. You have the option to use a free, open source SSL certificate like Lets Encrypt or a commercial SSL certificate like Comodo. You can learn more about SSL certificates here