The profitability of any digital brand largely depends on its ability to attract large volumes of traffic, and ecommerce websites running Magento are no exception. After all, the more traffic your business gains, the more leads and sales it generates.
However, sometimes an increase in traffic (for instance, in case of seasonal demand upswing) can do more harm than good since even the slightest rise in site visitors results in increased load. If your brand isn’t ready for these traffic spikes, your website may demonstrate performance issues, like slow page loading or even a crash.
Given that one extra second of load time may reduce conversions by more than 4%, such problems can be critical to your success. Therefore, if you’re running a Magento store, make sure you’re able to withstand the load and deliver a quality customer experience even when traffic spikes occur.
Predicting Potential Traffic Spikes
The best way to prepare for traffic spikes is to know when and how they might occur. To do this, you need to dive into analytics and look up important metrics.
First, check the average daily or weekly traffic over the past few months, along with peak traffic in the past year. Then, compare both metrics by calculating the percentage of traffic increase during last year’s peak season compared to average traffic for the preceding six months.
If your business isn’t heavily tied to seasonal surges in demand, your team can utilize an alternative methodology by finding out what days and hours your ecommerce website experiences the highest load and multiply this result several times.
There are a few ways to get this kind of data on a regular basis. You can create an Adobe Business Intelligence account, which provides most of the typically required analytics functionality. Alternatively, you can utilize Magento development services to build and integrate a custom analytics solution.
Testing Website Performance
Once you have a rough idea of what traffic spikes to expect, it’s time to find out if your site can handle this influx of visitors. Utilize load testing, running it with your in-house resources using official recommendations from Adobe or turning to third-party experts.
After the testing is complete, you’ll understand the website’s capabilities better and also get more specific information about problem areas you should pay attention to. This data will help you design and implement specific measures to improve the site’s performance. Ideally, brands should run this type of testing every time they expect a traffic increase, to be able to prepare their sites for the spike.
Preparing Your Website for High Traffic
First, your team should make sure you’re running the latest version of Magento. Sometimes even a few patches may enhance the site’s performance and improve data caching. Besides, by upgrading Magento, you can increase the website’s security, especially important during seasonal demand upswings because hackers are often more active during such periods.
You can also use content delivery networks (CDN) to streamline data caching. By default, Adobe Commerce users have access to the Fastly CDN. If necessary, you can also utilize third-party services or even develop your own content delivery solution.
Another option is to increase the server capacity to permanently improve your website’s performance or do it temporarily to get through traffic peaks. To do this, your Magento manager can contact Adobe or hire third-party experts.
Brands also shouldn’t forget about less drastic measures — for example, resizing product images to reduce the potential load. The official Magento blog recommends using 72 dpi images as a standard.
Magento is indeed a very powerful platform that enables ecommerce businesses to attract thousands of consumers and convert them into buyers. However, not every website can withstand a large influx of visitors, such as during seasonal spikes. This could cause you to lose thousands of dollars in missed sales.
Ideally, you should be able to predict traffic spikes in advance to know what to expect. You can also run load testing to see how much your website can handle. Based on this analysis, develop appropriate measures while also resorting to several general tactics, such as using content delivery networks or increasing server capacity.
Roman Davydov is a content manager and copywriter with Itransition Group