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COVID-19: Is your website ready for an increase in demand?

By Richard Jennis 28th April 2020
Online shopping

Online retailers prepare for peaks and troughs when it comes to website visitors for key times of the year such as Christmas. Yet, as we continue to live and work in lockdown, people are more reliant on online shopping than ever before.

Before coronavirus, retail analysts were already forecasting that online shopping was going to increase significantly. According to Statista, approximately 93 percent of UK internet users will shop online by 2021. Whereas retail analysts, GlobalData, suggested that more than half of UK consumers were shopping online. It also states that UK online spend could increase 29.6% between 2019 and 2024.

It is likely that these statistics will change, especially now as consumers use e-commerce shopping more whilst they are unable to shop in store. With many businesses now focusing their attention and efforts to their online presence, competition is sure to be fierce.

To help you in these challenging times, here are some key pointers to help ensure that your website is performing at its best. 

Preparing your business website for an influx of visitors

There are many things that you can do to improve your website’s capacity and speed, including:

  • The removal of any redundant web code.
  • Use lazy load. Lazy loading can serve the user with a placeholder image, which is shortly replaced by the final picture. This helps speed up load times.
  • If you host videos on your website, move these to a video platform like YouTube.
  • Reduce file sizes to improve your website loading speeds and avoid the site getting bogged down by large files.
  • Image optimisation. Reducing the size of your images can help to increase your site speed, which in turn will help your website handle a high volume of visitors better.

How can your business’s website cut through the noise?

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is ever-changing, so it is important that you keep yourself up-to-speed with the latest Google updates and SEO trends. This is one of the sure ways to gain new customers and keep your brand front of mind. If you’d like to find out more about SEO and what it can do for your website, why not read our 7 tips for on-page SEO blog?

Whether you’re looking to improve your organic search rankings or AdWords reach, we'd recommend that you look at your keywords. Make sure that you target both short and long-tail, as this blend will look a lot more natural to Google. Doing this should work in your favour when it comes to your SERP (Search Engine Result Page) rankings.

Social media is a crucial tool when communicating with your customers. Be sure to bring your brand’s personality to life and show it not only with words, but also through the use of imagery, GIFs (graphics interchange format) and memes.

Improve UX (user experience) design. When it comes to UX best practices, it’s important that your website flows, is easy to navigate and is designed for mobile. Some other top tips include:

  • Using colours on your website that can be read by everyone (bear in mind colour-blind and partially blind customers)
  • Analyse your web pages readability (this isn't necessarily how well users can read the content, rather if the layout is aesthetically pleasing and the users will want to read your content)
  • Use clear and easy-to-use forms
  • And, perhaps most importantly, ensure the search function is efficient.

If you’d like more information about how UX design can enhance your users’ journey, you can read more here.

If product demand is increasing, and the item is often out of stock, don’t rely on the consumer to return and buy it once it is available again. They will go elsewhere. We'd suggest that you communicate that this item is currently out of stock, and provide a solution, e.g. let us know the best way to notify you when the item is available.

It could also be worth creating a segment of high-demand product pages, based on impressions or traffic data. Make sure that these pages are easy to find – for instance, the product could have a prominent place on the homepage, and make sure that the pages do not serve any errors.

Why not give us a call to see if your website is performing the best it can? From software development to SEO services, we can provide you with the assistance you need to meet your business goals in these difficult times. Call us on 0844 736 2747. or email [email protected].