Don't Lose Business to a Slow Website

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on November 29, 2010

Just as a busy highway backs up with cars, websites often encounter the same effect when dealing with large amounts of traffic. Any website can experience slow traffic, online traffic jams, or worse, a crash. What can be done to keep your site up and running, especially if you have an e-commerce site and the busiest season is rapidly approaching?

1. Add a server. As your business grows, website usage and traffic increase. That single server may need a buddy or two to handle the traffic capacity. One server can be used for data such as e-mails, and the second server can be deployed to manage the website.

2. Balance the load. If you already have two or more servers and performance is still not up to par, you might want to consider a hardware or virtual appliance that can provide load balancing and application delivery. These small appliances take on the big traffic loads and manage them so that traffic is always being routed to the less-taxed server or the less-crowded lane.

3. Monitor the network. Adding a network monitoring tool provides a better snapshot of your site’s traffic patterns. Once you have a better picture of your site’s peak usage times, you can consider what measures to take to make sure those peak times are addressed immediately. Also, if the website should crash, the network monitoring tool can provide an immediate alert on the status of the website traffic, allowing you to act immediately.

4. Control the content. Websites featuring Flash or heavy graphic elements tend to load slower. Keeping your site simple will make it a lot easier on the performance and can help keep users cruising right along when navigating to your site. A slow site leads to discouraged visitors, who may leave rather than wait for information to appear. Of note: Google includes site speed in its rankings.

As more companies expand their e-commerce presence to match users’ online shopping habits, it’s critical that their websites are available 24/7, performing flawlessly. Don’t lose sales and customers due to slow website performance and lost website connections.

Peter Melerud
Co-founder and vice-president for product development
KEMP Technologies
Yaphank, N.Y.

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