While increasing the number of visitors to your site is always the goal of any e-commerce business, it’s a goal that can quickly become overwhelming if your site isn’t properly set up first. As your e-commerce business and your customer base grows, a sudden spike in traffic or just a gradual increase in purchasers over time can result in slower load times, unprepared customer service agents, irritated customers and even a total website crash.
To prevent this situation from happening, it’s vital to take steps ahead of time that can help prepare you and your site for more and more traffic. Here, nine members of Young Entrepreneur Council each share one step you should take to ensure your online store can handle an increasing number of visitors and shoppers and why that strategy is so effective.
1. Ensure Accurate Real-Time Data
Making sure your inventory data is in real time and accurate can have a major impact on your e-commerce business. Displaying accurate data is important to customers, so if they feel as though the website isn’t being updated properly, prepare to see lower conversion rates. – Jordan Edelson, Appetizer Mobile LLC
2. Get A Reliable, Scalable Web Host
This solution is essential to ensure an e-commerce site can handle increasing visitors and shoppers. With a robust hosting platform in place, your site will be able to handle increased traffic without crashing or slowing down. A website’s load speed is critical in retaining customers and ensuring a positive shopping experience. In addition to a reliable hosting provider, having a scalable hosting solution means your site can grow with your business. As your traffic increases, you can easily add more resources to accommodate the additional demand. This allows you to keep your site running smoothly and avoid any potential disruptions caused by high-volume traffic spikes. – Tonika Bruce, Lead Nicely, Inc.
3. Provide Alternative Payment Methods
One of the most frustrating things for motivated shoppers is reaching the checkout page and then being unable to pay for the order. With multiple payment methods, and especially with financing options, you’ll be able to capture more sales that might otherwise turn into abandoned carts at the very last stage. Many times, it’s not the customer’s fault either, as it could be an issue with your payment processor or their bank, but if they can use other payment methods there is a higher likelihood they’ll find a way to complete their order with you instead of giving up and opting for a competitor. – Firas Kittaneh, Amerisleep Mattress
4. Compress Or Relocate Large Files
If you want to ensure your online store can handle an influx of new traffic, consider compressing or relocating large files. Many files, such as videos, can use up a lot of bandwidth and cause online stores to run slowly. This is especially true of sites that receive a ton of traffic. I suggest hosting videos off-site (YouTube is an excellent option) and compressing “heavy” files and programs for a smoother, faster customer experience. – Chris Christoff, MonsterInsights
5. Enable Caching
One step you should take to ensure that your online store is capable of handling an increasing number of visitors is enabling caching for your site. Caching keeps the speed and performance of your website unaffected by the increasing number of visitors. Without this, it’s possible that you may run into load-time and other server-based issues as your visitor count grows. This, however, is a short-term fix. The long-term solution to this is upgrading your server per the estimated volume of your store’s traffic. – Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms
6. Use A Content Delivery Network
A CDN, or content delivery network, has many uses, and one of the most important is that it prevents website crashes. Your website is sure to stay online even when it experiences heavy traffic, such as during Black Friday and the Christmas season. Through a geographically distributed group of servers, a CDN allows quick delivery of internet content. It’s similar to moving vehicular traffic—it ensures that no vehicle (customer) will be at a standstill. To be clear, there is no foolproof way of preventing website crashes. But a CDN is important because it reduces the amount of work your server has to do to prevent downtime. A CDN also improves online security and protects websites against DDoS attacks. – Bryce Welker, Crush The GRE Test
7. Follow A Daily Speed Test Protocol
Follow a daily speed test protocol to ensure your store’s performance. You can use two specific tools: Google’s “PageSpeed Insights” or KeyCDN’s “Website Speed Test.” These tools help analyze page load speeds and tackle page components that slow down your site. Use a database optimization plugin to remove bloated data, especially if you’re using a CMS. Streamline the site design and keep your software applications up to date. It not only improves security but also ensures site speed and stability of the online store when there is an influx of visitors or shoppers. Make page designs simpler and clean up scripts to remove unnecessary characters. Page speed matters, especially as the rate of mobile usage continues to increase. – Brian David Crane, Spread Great Ideas
8. Outsource What You Can
Aside from making sure that your hosting plan has sufficient resources to handle more traffic, you should consider outsourcing certain tasks. At a certain point, it will be difficult for one person or even a small team to handle everything. Test out different services and virtual assistants who specialize in e-commerce and find a person or company that’s reliable. This will make it easier to scale up your business. At first, you may want to only outsource one task, such as listing products. As you grow, however, you may find that it’s economical to outsource marketing, customer service and other aspects of your business. – Kalin Kassabov, ProTexting
9. Optimize Your Website For SEO
Are you using software or images that are slowing your site down? Are your customers able to make purchases seamlessly? Are products properly tagged and connected? An SEO audit is a great way to level up your e-commerce business. There are also telltale signs other than growth that can indicate you should perform an SEO audit. Where is the page churn on your site? Where are you losing potential customers? Whether you do this internally or you hire an expert to do this, it is a great way to keep customers on your site, coming back to your site and making purchases on your site. If you are too focused on increasing production and growing products without considering how they are being sold, you stand to lose customers. – Matthew Capala, Alphametic