Prepare your website for Black Friday

Traditionally associated with instore promotions at large supermarket chains in America, Black Friday is fast approaching in the UK and it’s pretty hard to ignore. Black Friday lands on the 25th November this year, and more people than ever are attempting to beat the crowds in store by shopping online.

The UK experiences on average a 6x increase in traffic during this day alone compared to a regular day. Surprisingly, the peak of the traffic is experienced shortly after midnight as punters are eager to snap up deals as soon as they’re posted online, and most of these appear to mobile users.

If you’re a business taking part in the heavy discounting bonanza, by now you’ll be already preparing yourself for any spikes in traffic – or at least you should be… if there was a day that your site had to be in top condition, this day would be it. Any performance and accessibility issues could possibly have serious impacts on your sales performance on what could possibly be the most important date in your business calendar.

It may not be too late to prepare as there are still things you could do. If you are already in preparation, you should at least make sure that you have covered the following.

Server-side caching – this could help reduce the load times on your website and is relatively easy to implement. If you are using something like WordPress, there are free and easy to install plug-ins that are available to help you achieve this.

Are you using a CDN?

A Content Delivery Network (CDN) would help speed up your website load times by serving the website files from the closest available server to the visitors location. This would also help alleviate some of the load on your own server.

Is your host or hosting equipment capable of handling the demand?

It’s not too late to look at upgrading your resources on your host or increasing capacity on your server hardware. It’s worth getting in touch with your provider to discuss your options as some things could be done within just a couple of hours.

Website experience

How is your shopping cart experience? Can people check out easily? This is particularly important if you are running limited item sales as people would want to snap up the deals as quick as possible. It is also important that key pieces of information such as contacts, refund policies and delivery pricing is easy to find, especially to those who are unfamiliar with your brand.

It’ll be worth giving your site a check for any dead links too. The last thing you want is products not being found or certain parts of the site inaccessible.

Have a standby and have a plan b

It would be a good idea to have someone on standby to monitor the website just in case any potential issues arise. The last thing you want to do is to wake up the morning to find out the site has been down all night.

One more thing to remember…

Remember, Black Friday isn’t the only day you need to think about. Cyber Monday follows immediately after Black Friday and acts as an extension of the sales that kick off the Christmas shopping period.