How to Prepare Your Website for a Traffic Surge
It’s a problem that all website owners wish they had – too much traffic. However, if you are ill-prepared for this wonderful dilemma, it could be disastrous for your business.
There are many things that cause a surge in traffic. Maybe you create a particularly interesting or engaging piece of content and it goes viral. Or what if Bill O’Reilly mentions your business or product on Fox News? The result could mean an influx of visitors clamoring to get to your site. And did you know that most small business websites are not prepared for even as much as a 200% increase in traffic? Whatever the reason for your increase in traffic, it pays to prepare your site ahead of time to handle the load.
Here are a few tips to ensure that your site is equipped to handle higher-than-usual traffic surges:
- Create a mobile or light version. Decorative elements are great for professional branding and design but combine those flashy elements with heavy traffic and you can end up with a site that loads slowly or not at all. Creating a mobile site to use during times of heavy traffic will help alleviate this problem. Also consider maintaining a lighter version of your homepage since this is most likely the most requested page on your site.
- Lighten up your file formats. Downloadable information that you offer on your site should be in the lightest weight file formats. Consider offering plain text as opposed to PDF’s. If PDF files are necessary, try to stick with mostly text-based documents. Images take longer to load and will put a larger strain on busy servers.
- Employ third-party services. Many of these services are free and they will help you maintain an online presence in the event that heavy traffic incapacitates your website (i.e: CloudFlare).
- Be picky about your hosting provider. It’s worth a few extra dollars to get web hosting that doesn’t crash. Stick with providers with a good reputation.
Optimize your site before the traffic hits. Putting a plan in place that will accommodate sudden traffic increases will cost you a little money, but not as much as the decision to not be prepared.