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The Ultimate Checklist To Amp Up Your Magento Store This Holiday Season!

Wajid Hussain Dec 13, 2016
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Can you hear them? Can you feel the echoes of their digital footsteps? Do you know what it is? IT’S HOLIDAY SEASON! Industry experts are already expecting 2016 sales to be record-breaking. It all sounds really exciting, right? But, as they say, “Not everything is all sunshine and rainbows.”

Most of the eCommerce store owners like you are already overwhelmed or concerned about the surge of online traffic you are going to see because of increase in Online Shopping Trend! And it’s an ultimate nightmare of every eCommerce store owner when their website becomes slow or goes down permanently.

Don’t sweat! We are here to help you face this nemesis by providing you with an ultimate checklist on how to keep your Magento Store’s performance top-notch during this Holiday Season.  

So, here are the 10 most important tips to speed up your Magento Store, enhance its overall experience for your visitors and come out victorious through this Holiday Season:  

1. Calculate Your Server’s Projected Capacity

One of the most important things is to keep check of the capacity of your servers during the holiday season by doing some necessary calculations and estimations. Combating with the hustles and bustles of holiday season and keeping aware with trends must be handy to you if you have been in eCommerce industry for a considerable period of time.  

Also, the most important thing here is to keep track of post trends. This will surely assist you in future holiday seasons by letting you guess or predict the user traffic over your site. And most important thing is to keep the backup of your Magento web store resources. For that, I would suggest you look into the Web Analytics software of your website for past data.

2. Design and Optimize your Magento Web Store

During the festive holidays, Magento Web stores tend to slow down because of the huge traffic influx. Well, do you know that even a 1-second delay can cause up to 7% decrease in conversion rates of a Web store? It’s too much to lose per second and for sure no merchant wants this to happen.

To control the situation out there you need to streamline your web store by checking and improvising the speed of your Magento Webstore. Eschew any performance hurdles that will result in an increase of the load time of the overall page. But the real question is how?  For that you can use caching mechanism and optimization. This will also help your Magento Webstore to bring good ranks in search engines’ results.

3. Make Your Magento Website’s Front and Back End Look Better

If you don’t talk to your customers, How will you know How to talk to your customers? – Will Evans, tlclabs.com

So if you really want to get most of your Magento website, you need to improve the front-end and the back-end interface at the same time. And for that clearly get rid of all the bumps and lumps beforehand. But, before doing so, make the backup of your server because once the changings are done, you cannot reverse things back.

Please go through the checklist below in order to get smooth operation of website:

  1. Clear up your database and cache. This will make user to navigate even fast.
  2. Delete all the products and the extensions that are unwanted or not in use. That will decrease the burden from your site and server. That is our goal right now.
  3. Re-index your products effectively.
  4. Merge CSS and JS files, so that you have better front-end performance.
  5. Compress the output of the query. This will leave you with more space.
  6. Use expires headers with parallel downloading. This is another good option in order to improve the interface of your Magento Webstore.

4. Load Test and Monitor Application Performance

Suppose that you predicted X number of visitors on your Magento website, but during the holidays the number of visitors exceeded than your expectation. Now at this point, you’ll get to see your website lagging in performance, and it starts to get worse with every additional visitor that lands on your website.

So when you tend to encounter such situations, do homework first. Well, you too have to do load testing of your site. Now, how would you do Load Testing? For that, you have to create a simulated environment and then check how the user traffic varies. This is done to ensure that the website runs smoothly once there is a real time traffic on the website. This is a kind of stress testing that we normally perform.

The above explained process is load testing but another factor which is very important here is Monitoring Application Performance. It has to be done when website’s performance is at the stake. Monitor the server performance like Varnish Hit Ratio, APC Hit Rate, Memcached Fill Ratio etc.

5. Use CDN and Page Caching

Well, you can encounter different situations where you have to use static contents and static pages on your Magento Web Store. To do that you need to use a CDN (Content Delivery Network). By using the CDN, you can use the global data centers. The global data center is the place where all of your data is kept. The advantage of doing so is that when an international user makes a request, it is catered by the data center located nearest to the user.

In order to enhance speed and performance of your Magento website, you need to load off that CSS and JS files. This will give you the advantage of engaging more and more concurrent customers to your Magento website for this holiday.  

Also, you can cache your static pages. It is also one of the steps you can use to make your Magento web store faster. Use Varnish for that.

6. Mobile-friendly Web store

Today, many of the users use mobile phones, and during the holiday seasons almost 30% of the shopping orders are booked and sold via smartphones. So, in order to target the larger audience, follow the suit of other eCommerce sites like eBay, Amazon, Walmart etc. which are mobile friendly.

So make an eCommerce site that is optimized enough so that users can use them on their smartphones or any other mobile devices. This will help you to engage more and more global customer base with your Magento website.

7. Make an Order Fulfilment strategy that is Unimpaired

Let’s assume that you have ordered something online, but you didn’t receive your order on time? You will feel pissed off. And chances here are that you will decide never to buy anything from that online shop again.

There is a possibility that this can happen when you choose to shop things online. And, what if it is a holiday season? It would be too bad of an experience for you. Due to this situation, your Magento Webstore must have an order fulfillment and delivery strategy that is foolproof before the holiday rush starts and your website experiences a traffic hike.

Keep a check of things that are mentioned below:

A: Even if it requires you to revamp the whole infrastructure of your Magento website then I’ll suggest you dig deep and do it, because holiday is that part of the year when you make most of your customers.

B: Disable the extra extensions, if they are not in use.

C: If there is a need to hire additional staff in order to streamline the process of order delivery, then do it. Believe me, the profit you are going to make is much more than this.

8. Pump up the SEO, Organic, and Social Search

You have the most fabulous Magento website with the coolest products ever but what’s the use of it when no one knows about your website. What would be the point of making that store?

So, in order to let the world know about your Magento website, you have to plan a strategy so that your eCommerce website can rank higher in the search engines. You have to optimize your website in such a way that people notice your website. Search Engine Optimization is not dead, so let your website content do all the talk. All of the social media websites that includes Facebook, LinkedIn etc., are great in order to get better traffic and ranking on search engines.

After you have your product ready to go, launch it and get it reviewed. By doing so, you will get many positive and negative reviews from your customers. The positive one will help you boost out the traffic on your website whereas the negative ones will help you to remove any flaw or bugs from your web store and make it better, performance wise.

9. Giveaway Discounts To Your Loyal Customers

Indeed a happy customer is the most valuable asset for any business. It is a universal mantra that, customer is the king. Once you have taken a customer in your trust, they will start working for you by marketing your brand and your Magento website among other people by sharing their good experience with you.

If you want to enjoy the success on the basis of customers, give your promised customers an attractive discounts, deals, and coupons, or may be ask them to enroll in your web store’s lucky draw. Make them happy with your offerings. In return to this, always ask them to refer your web store to others. By doing so and giving deals and discounts relevant to holiday season, the traffic on your Magento Web store will surely boost up.

10. Check your Hosting Server

A slow website is a deal-breaker and has a bad impact on visitors, moreover, a cheap server host may not deliver performance. Many of the hosting service providers pretending that they are giving all you want but the fact is that they actually don’t!

These cheap hosting service providers provide you shared hosting. That means you have to share your site’s resources with other websites and as a result your website not only becomes slow, but also its security is at risk.

Searching for a solution?

If you need a solution for that, then you must look for a reliable, trustworthy and agile hosting service providers for your Magento web store. It may cost you a little more, but when the security, site’s performance and speed are more concerned, then cost is not a big deal, as your business’s reputation is at stake.

Conclusion

The festive holiday season can be grueling, but it is the time when you can make huge profit. So, gear up and make your Magento website ready for festive holiday, tackle all the unexpected issues and situations you might come across. All you have to do during this holidays is to create a holiday campaign calendar, get social and engage better with your Magento Web store. Also, make sure not to forget to keep testing your web store, as you don’t want your store to crash during the peak hours!

Want to ask questions? Keep in touch with me— Pronto!

Wajid Hussain

Wajid Hussain

Community Manager at Arpatech
Wajid Hussain has a vast experience in Magento and PHP fields. He is currently a Community Manager at Arpatech. He keeps himself engaged with latest e-commerce and Magento trends and also happens to be an avid football fan. You can follow him on Twitter at @wajidstack or contact him through e-mail wajid.hussain[at]arpatech.com
Wajid Hussain