Is Your Site Ready for Cyber Monday?

We’re days away from another month long holiday season when crazy online deals are likely going to break the Internet again, so the team at ElasticPress.io wants to remind you of a few things you can take care of before the inevitable rush hits your online store this Cyber Monday.

First, you should probably hold off on making any significant code changes at this point, given the proximity to peak shopping days. According to WooCommerce Expert Patrick Garman, a code freeze prior to Black Friday gives you a chance to avoid last-minute surprises and can increase your site’s odds of success in this busy shopping season. The good news is that there are still a few very important steps you can take to get your site ready, without touching any code:

  1. Set up uptime monitoring
  2. Gather support contacts
  3. Add a CDN

Step 1: Set up uptime monitoring and get notified if your site goes down

A monitoring service like Pingdom can help give you peace of mind during the holidays. They offer a 14-day trial, and with even the basic plan you get uptime checks every minute from different locations, transaction testing, and page load testing on one page so you can test how easy it is for users to buy your products. At the very least, having uptime checks in place could mean a faster time to resolution, and for some businesses that can translate to more revenue and fewer lost sales.

Step 2: Gather your host’s support line information, hours of operation, escalation paths, and make sure you know how to contact your development team in an emergency

During the holidays, many of us travel and are away from our work areas. Make sure to add any important hosting or development agency contacts into your phone or a notebook you carry with you since you never know where you’ll be when you find out your site is having a problem.

Step 3: Get set up with a CDN to offload static content and reduce server stress

A CDN, or Content Delivery Network, is a great option for improving your site’s performance without touching code. Certain CDNs like Cloudflare offer free options depending on the traffic your site gets. Your host might also include one in the cost of your plan, but if not there are other affordable options with great features like Stackpath. Adding a CDN won’t help significantly with loading time in the cart, but it can help reduce the amount of server load for static content. Wherever you can reduce strain on your server you should.

A service like Cloudflare offers additional useful features, like DNS management. Cloudflare’s setup gives you an extra layer of security for your domain, and if you set up your site with a CNAME between Cloudflare and your hosting provider, you’ll never have to update server credentials in the event that you have to move.

Check back after the Thanksgiving break for some tips that can help improve site search for your customers, and a guide to preparing for the rest of the holiday shopping season. For now, good luck this Cyber Monday and have a great weekend!

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