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Introduction

For any growing business it is essential that your website and associated internet services run efficiently at all times. This could not be more important than during times of high traffic, particularly during holiday periods. Businesses, specifically e-commerce websites, must prepare for this eventuality and take advantage of the ever increasing opportunity in online retail.

Having the right provider who can offer you a flexible solution is imperative. Webfusion has vast experience in helping customers find the right solution, whether that be through a long term load balancing resolution or a bespoke flexible solution. Webfusion can help prevent e-commerce websites experience severe downtime at crucial times of the year when, customer demand is at its highest.

Load Balancing, Customer Experience and the Modern E-Commerce Site

The question that a website owner must ask is whether they can afford the potential long term costs of loss of revenue that severe downtime can have upon a small business. There has been a massive shift in the way consumer's purchase, especially when considering the spending patterns of consumers over Christmas. Research from Internet Retailing suggests that in December 2011, online sales role by 16.5% to a record £7.9bn.

This is why having a responsive website at times of high traffic is of the essence. Website owners need to make sure that they have the right provider to provide the much needed backend support. Webfusion has great experience in helping businesses deal with traffic surges in a flexible and quick manner.

In such a difficult economic climate it is more important than ever for business owners to make sure their website holds up. To prevent downtime that could seriously damage a company's reputation, Webfusion offers all of its customers a service of Load Balancing. Load balancing is the practice of evenly distributing work among multiple computers. This technique provides several important benefits. These include, reducing the load on individual systems and minimising response time, increasing network utilisation and maximising throughput, improving reliability and improving user satisfaction.

Load Balancing is very important, particularly when we consider the changing attitudes of consumers highlighted earlier. Consumers are no longer willing to wait for web pages to load. According to research from Akamai.com and Gomez.com even a small delay can seriously damage a sites potential revenue prospects. According to this research, 40% of consumers will abandon a website that takes more than three seconds to load with 52% of the same portion, declaring that quick page loading is important to their site loyalty. If a webpage takes longer than two seconds to load, especially at the busiest of times of the year, websites are losing potential revenue.

In 2011 it was estimated that £1.73bn was lost globally online due to slow page load times. Added to this, just a one second delay in page load times have been linked to a massive 52% decrease in page conversions.

Website performance is becoming a multi-million pound problem. The majority of the revenue lost at times of high traffic for modern e-commerce websites comes not from website outages but actually from the load speed of sites. Even though other issues such as the relevance and quality of the onsite content have more influence at the moment, it is becoming more crucial to maintain website speed.

What's more, despite the fact that consumers may find themselves with less disposable income, the e-retail market keeps defying general trends. Further research has also shown that online shopping accounted for 12% of all total UK retail spending in 2011, the highest in Western Europe.

Load Times and SEO Performance

Besides, any online business should be aware of the SEO value of maintaining and improving website performance. Even though Google has previously announced that just 1% of searches are impacted by the load speed of websites, load speed is becoming increasingly important for onsite SEO performance.

This growing importance of load time has been seen in recent Google updates, with this issue being incorporated into Google's quality score in June 2012. Essentially, those pages that load slower may be issued with a lower quality score. This is where load time may indirectly affect rankings. Online businesses ought to be aware of the ramifications of slow loading speeds on SEO performance; especially during times of increased competition.

New SEO guidelines set out by Google, coupled with increased competition in the e-commerce space makes optimisation key. The Penguin algorithm, created earlier this year, has had a massive impact on search results.

So what does this mean to the average website owner? Simply, if a website has slow loading speeds, naturally this will increase bounce rates. This new algorithm will affect businesses because Penguin was implemented to target those websites with severe bounce rates. Getting your load speed in order is crucial.

Showing how Webfusion has put this theory in to practice Study: British Judo Association

The 2012 Olympic Games was the biggest possible showcase for the sport of Judo both in the United Kingdom, but across the world. Britain had 14 athletes all competing and striving for a medal. The achievement of both Gemma Gibbons and Karina Bryant saw the best Olympic result for British Judo in 20 years.

The impact of this success on the sport of Judo in Britain could be massive. Almost five million people watched the final on the BBC and the British Judo Association has confirmed that the response both in terms of enquiries and feedback from clubs and individuals has been huge. However, all of this great exposure for the sport could have been lost had Webfusion not completed essential work for the Association, in the time that Webfusion did.

During the Olympic Games, Webfusion completed essential work for the British Judo Association, allowing their website to stay operational during one of their busiest ever times. As Gemma Gibbons advanced to the knockout stages in the Olympic Judo event, the Association noticed that their website was experiencing an increased level of traffic, with certain pages, graphics and videos not loading.

The Association immediately tried to reboot their server, but due to the high traffic, the website was brought to a crawl once again. Webfusion was on hand to provide a quick and flexible solution, a solution that we immediately implemented. Despite the huge traffic surge on the server, the British Judo Association informed Webfusion that they did not experience any slowdown thanks to the solution put in place.

This solution was integral to the continued running of the British Judo Association website during one of its busiest and most successful times. This fix was effective and crucial to keeping the website running, with every web page, graphic and video loading without trouble after the fix. This successful remedy from Webfusion helped keep the website running, maximising the exposure to the sport to an even wider audience. The solution that Webfusion put in place for the British Judo Association's website was critical because any serious downtime on such a pivotal day for the sport could have damaged the Association's reputation. Any serious downtime could have potentially affected a vast amount of the Association's services, including membership, alongside the potential business losses. Without such a quick and flexible fix from Webfusion, the Association could have lost out on critical exposure over the week of the Olympic Games.

The Solution

The best prevention from your website going down at such an important time is for you to plan ahead. Whilst it is important to plan ahead for such eventualities, Webfusion's experience with the British Judo Association shows the importance of partnering with a company that has proven experience of supporting businesses in an instant. Whatever the requirements, Webfusion has demonstrable experience of keeping websites running during times of increased traffic. Webfusion offers a flexible solution for e-commerce business.

Webfusion uses a software solution called Stingray, powered by Riverbed. The high performance software uses a Virtual Layer 7 application delivery controller (ADC) that enables enterprises and cloud operators to create, manage and deliver key services more quickly.

Webfusion understands that for any growing business it is essential that both the website and associated internet services run smoothly at all times. As affirmed, this becomes vital at times of high traffic. If your site can't handle the extra influx of users at one time, the revenue lost could be vast.

Webfusion uses load balancing to equally distribute the workload a server would receive in these specific circumstances. So what are the key benefits of this solution?

  • Speed of your site will remain stable
  • Release strain of heaving traffic website to give your users the performance they expect
  • Eliminate the threat of downtime
  • Hardware failure no longer an issue
  • Accelerate online applications and e-commerce websites with faster response and page loading times
  • Improve availability and uptime while increasing application scalability and resilience.

Organisations can't predict every single surge in website traffic. However, it is vital that businesses implement the necessary steps to minimize risk of downtime and protect and safeguard a user's online experience.

Getting your website ready for any business change is vital. Make sure that you contact Webfusion today and increase your profits.

How can we help?

If you need a flexible solution for your website in 2013 contact us using the below form.

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