November 28, 2014, the day after Thanksgiving, is Black Friday. Based on sales from last year, most Black Friday events will start earlier on Thanksgiving and extend later throughout the Black Friday weekend and into Cyber Monday 2014 (December 1).
So…is your site ready for a double whammy and one helluva busy weekend? Shoppers will be scrambling to grab that bargain and get Granny’s Christmas present sorted! They will be doing this from their office desktop, on a laptop warming their thighs, or stuck on a train with their tablet.
Have you considered how busy you site will be? I am sure you have, but have you really done everything you possibly can to give your customers a positive online experience? Let’s run through the various measures you can take to see if you’ve hit them all.
Have you considered Adaptive Web Design for your mobile web site to provide a faster experience? Reduced the number of steps to complete a checkout? Load tested your infrastructure? Optimized the page construction? Increased the number of servers in your web farm?
There are other standard web best practice methods you can easily apply to further speed up and enhance the online experience:
– Enable HTTP Keep Alive (Persistent Connections), allowing for TCP connections to each domain to remain open until they are forced to close. This reduces the CPU and memory usage on the web server as fewer connections are open simultaneously, and also reduces latency in subsequent requests.
– Domain Sharding is also another simple performance win by serving up content from an additional domain. You do not need different servers to do this; just create a CNAME, as the browser does not care about the final IP address, only that the domain names are different. The recommended and well-documented optimal number of domains is two. For example, if you have a lot of images on your page you would configure two domains: http://www.acme.com and http://images.acme.com. You would then host your images on the images.acme.com domain. The browser can now make parallel requests of six or more requests (browser dependent) from each domain, and thus speed up the loading of the page by loading more data in parallel.
By utilizing a monitoring tool you can measure the impact of any performance and optimization modifications from above that you make to your site across desktop, tablet and mobile variants.
Optimizing the online experience for your customers will reduce your abandonment and increase your conversions, and at the same time reduce a lot of strain on your infrastructure. The modern web browser is a powerful and clever tool, and the more you can give it to do, the better your site will perform and the happier your customers will be.