We have put together some guidance to help you to support online customer journeys and performance if you are experiencing increased traffic demand.
Strip back your site to key functionality
Consider stripping down your site to deliver essential core functionality to avoid slowdowns. A ‘vanilla’ site is perfect for peak sales periods, sale shoppers aren’t looking for bells and whistles but simply to make their transaction as quickly as possible. Reduce functionality and possibly the range of products/services offered for the peak period for the best speed and user experience at busy times.
Reduce third-party complications
The sheer number of third-party providers can make it tough to carry out effective load testing and manage peak traffic.
Consider disabling any unnecessary third party scripts or tags – if third parties go down, they might take your site with them. Third-party bulk in web pages is a prime cause of slow-to-load pages. Often marketing teams request extra tags and third-party features be added, completely unaware of the impact they are having on page speed
Review infrastructure configuration and server-side optimisation
Check back-end systems are configured and implemented correctly including load balancing and autoscaling. Review server side optimisation; ensure caching is enabled, consider pre-rendering and confirm CDN implementation is working for appropriate content.
We recommend temporary scaling of web servers whilst there is an influx of traffic, this tends to spread traffic out a bit so gives more users a consistent experience.
Size and speed matters
Website visitors are impatient and will not wait for slow searches, pages that stall or large images that delay a page load. In our experience, common culprits that are often overlooked include badly compressed video and un-optimised images.
It’s not uncommon for extra images to be added over a crucial peak period – often bloated pictures that contribute to traffic problems. It’s worth checking that you are not double-serving images, which sometimes happens where two files are served with each picture: a thumbnail and a hi-res version that may have been displayed on a previous version of the site and still remains, thanks to some residual HTML.
Performance on mobile browsers
Mobile browsers expect a fast smooth mobile performance and are easily deterred by slow page load times and journey interruptions.
Don’t assume Responsive Web Design will perform equally across devices. Realistic visibility of your customers’ mobile experience has never been more critical. So make sure you monitor key journeys on iOs and Android browsers prior to and during peak traffic.
How can we help?
thinkTribe provides a fully managed load testing service precisely tailored to each client’s business and designed to optimise web performance, If you’d like more information about how taking a more realistic approach to load testing could help improve your customer experience, please get in touch.