3 Tips for E-Commerce Website Optimization — How to Get Ready for Black Friday

A DealCrunch community member asked...


How can I optimize my online store for Black Friday?

Levi Horowitz

Levi Horowitz

DealCrunch Editor

Levi answered on 11.22.17:

There are just a few days left until the busiest shopping days of the year: Black Friday and Cyber Monday. It’s not just major stores that are aiming to attract customers, many small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are also looking to boost revenue on these busy shopping days. But they often don’t find the time, have the resources, or remember to prepare their website or store for the season’s influx of traffic.

Photo of 1&1's Ive Van Riet

1&1’s Ive Van Riet shared some insights on how SMBs can optimize their sites for Black Friday.

We recently spoke with 1&1’s Ive Van Riet, who shared some tips for website and online store owners to make the most of Black Friday and Cyber Monday on short notice. As Head of Commercial Management for Web Hosting and MyWebsite for 1&1 SE, Ive has an insider’s perspective on how to maximize your brand’s success during peak traffic times.

Take Advantage of DIY Website Tools

For newcomers to e-commerce — with no prior website-building knowledge — easy, do-it-yourself (DIY) solutions are a good way to go. Especially helpful for short notice update or other site changes, DIY builders give users tools to customize their site content and attract shoppers.

A few tips for do-it-yourselfers:

  • The layout: Website builders typically include a variety of design and text templates with an extensive selection of images to choose from for your site. Most templates today will automatically personalize and display content based on the device a visitor uses to access your site. This means you can easily optimize Black Friday promotional layouts for mobile devices — especially since a growing number of consumers shop Black Friday deals on their smartphones.
  • Backups for an exciting Black Friday website: Some DIY solutions give you the option of saving several versions of your website to recover them again later. Simply design a specific Black Friday page for special offers while your everyday site remains live, then you can quickly switch to these promotional pages when needed. After Black Friday, just select the older version of your site and switch back to it in seconds to avoid costly downtime.

Screenshot of website builder

  • Displaying different content and pop-ups depending on the visitor and time of day: Some website builders allow you to easily design pop-ups for Black Friday promotions, including welcome videos, separate ad windows, and image sliders for showcasing new products. For this content, try to specify a date and time during which these pop-ups appear on the screen. Keep in mind that many DIY solutions allow you to define a target group for special offers and provide them with exclusive content.
  • Spread the word with a blog and links to social media channels: When publishing special Black Friday content, look to integrate a professional blog into your website. However, it’s important to note that maintaining a blog requires additional time and resources. You should continuously update your blog with engaging content and if you only use your blog to drive promotions — without any other added value — you will gradually drive visitors away. Think about what interests your target audience has and look for ways to connect on those topics. To increase reach, you can also link your website to popular social networks, such as Facebook or Twitter, to promote Black Friday content or other promotions.
  • Multi-language website content: If website owners are aiming for maximum reach by targeting an international audience with their Black Friday content, some solution providers have tools to quickly and easily translate content into different languages.

Performance is Paramount for Black Friday Success

During Black Friday, a website can see a lot of traffic, which, if performance isn’t sufficient, might result in slow page loads or even downtime. Also, the more a website adds text, imagery, and video content, the higher its performance requirements. Shoppers expect fast-loading websites, especially when they’re on the hunt for Black Friday deals, so online stores must address performance needs.

  • For SMBs, startups, and freelancers who are looking for a powerful, customizable, easy-to-use shop, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions are the perfect fit. Most SaaS solutions include webspace, popular payment and shipping options, and professional templates, plus e-commerce packages will typically include the performance your site will need to succeed.
  • Users who have advanced know-how in creating a website might find more options for shop personalization in shared hosting or managed software. The great thing about managed services is that providers take care of performance needs, including loading speed, and protect businesses from downtime. In addition, these services also provide important security and software updates.

Screenshot of hosting server

  • Developers and those with technical equipment benefit from open-source solutions, such as Magento or OpenCart, which are highly customizable. Shared hosting packages or a cloud infrastructure are the top choices for dealing with a spike in website visitors. Shared hosting packages feature scalable performance while cloud offerings feature adaptable resources and functions like load balancing, which allows for the distribution of a website’s traffic between different servers to secure content availability.

Make Your Black Friday Offerings Visible

Another important aspect of personalizing your site content is to make sure that potential customers find your deal when searching online for special Black Friday bargains and other promotions.

To optimize your search ranking, make sure that your site is optimized for the right key terms for your business. You may also consider search engine advertising (SEA), which remains a great way to increase overall visibility on the internet. Some hosting providers even offer tools to help you with search optimization and advertising credits.

The best hosting services offer many options to get Black Friday offers out to potential customers and provide the necessary flexibility to react quickly to traffic spikes on short notice. Partnering with reliable hosting services will ensure you benefit from the legions of online shoppers that Black Friday and Cyber Monday attract every year.