Cyber Monday is coming up! As we all know, it’s one of the biggest days of the year for eCommerce retail sales and is a part of that extended after-Thanksgiving sales weekend we all know and love.

If you’re doing your Cyber Monday marketing properly, you should see a spike in website traffic on Cyber Monday, which can cause you major issues with your website. Just ask Lilly Pulitzer, whose website had such issues during one of their major sales that customers had to wait over an hour make their purchases.

Learn from Lilly’s mistakes, and implement these tips to avoid a website crash of your own on the most popular sales day of the year.

1. Run a performance test several weeks in advance. 

The best way to make sure that your website can handle a spike in traffic is to give the site a performance test. You want to run the test at least a few weeks in advance so you have time to fix any issues you may find. The key steps to running a good performance testing are:

  • Set up measurable KPIs so that you know exactly what results you need to get from the test. Your KPIs can be about response time or requests/second, for instance.
  • Next, you’ll want to set up a test case that can actually test these KPIs out.
  • You’ll then want to run the performance test in pieces. You want to start with small numbers and move up so that you can tell easily where your issues are.

2. Increase your infrastructure as needed.

Once you determine what issues you have, you’ll need to fix them. For instance, if you find that your website is unable to handle as much traffic as you hope for, you’ll need to employ load-balancing software so that your site does not go down. (Load balancing software spreads visitors amongst a pool of servers so that your server don’t shut down.) There are many more options available for increasing your site infrastructure, though. Click here for some inspiration.

3. Set up system monitoring so you’ll know when something goes wrong.

While running a performance test ahead of time can help you work out your bugs, something may still go wrong on Cyber Monday itself. And if it does, you’ll want to know right away so you can get your site fixed as quickly as possible. There are three types of website monitoring:

  • Availability monitoring keeps an eye on whether or not your website is available for people to use.
  • Performance monitoring checks for how quickly your site is responding.
  • Functionality monitoring watches to make sure that the things on your site such as the “add to cart” buttons are functioning as they’re meant to.

While you can monitor your site internally, it’s generally best to employ a third-party system to automatically monitor everything for you, if only because they’re outside your system and cannot be affected by any outages that may occur on your end.

Kick Off a Great Holiday Season

While it may seem somewhat difficult to get your store in fighting shape for the biggest days of the year, it’s well worth it. After all, if your brick and mortar shop’s door was blocked by a pile of snow, you’d work as long as it took to clear that. Think of your website’s performance as the door to your site. Don’t let it get blocked up with slow response times.

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