In the lead-up to the busiest online shopping day of the year, is your website ready for the high volumes of traffic that Black Friday brings?

Black Friday has become a dreaded phrase for many retailers, as while it can be one of the biggest shopping days of the year, it is also one of the most stressful for businesses. Competition is high and handling the huge amounts of customers the sales bring in can be a logistical nightmare.

With Black Friday brick-and-mortar traffic declining year on year, the focus is now in the online world for customers chasing deals. Who wants to be waiting outside a shop in the early hours of a chilly November morning, just to go in and brawl other shoppers for a discounted TV? With prices online being slashed further and further, increasing numbers of shoppers are choosing to stay in on Black Friday and browse for deals from the comfort of their sofa.

If you're intending to run any Black Friday sales, you should consider the impact the increased traffic has on your website. Most small-to-medium sized businesses can make do on a standard web hosting package for the majority of the year, but with the consistent uplift in traffic throughout Black Friday, these hosting packages can’t easily be scaled up to handle the increased users.

A sudden influx of users can have an impact on your page-load time – a critical metric for websites to consider. Research by Akamai showed that just a two-second delay in page-load time can double your website's bounce rate (the number of people that visit the site and leave without buying anything). Google's algorithm also favours websites that load faster, so if you want your site to appear higher in search results, you'll need to consider your page-load time.

This problem is brought to a new level if you're intending to run a Black Friday event or 'flash sale'. These are time-based, with the starting time often being marketed to customers in advance. If you market these effectively, you'll be looking at a huge traffic spike right as the sale begins. This is great for revenue – if your website stays up.

Websites failing can affect companies of all sizes. Even Amazon experienced a website failure during its own discount day, Prime Day. Outages can lead to considerable losses, with Amazon's causing up to $100 million dollars of lost revenue. While this amounts to a small portion of Amazon's income, for smaller companies where events like Black Friday can contribute up to 30% of annual revenue, outages can be literally make or break.

Due to all of these potential issues, you should consider whether your hosting solution is able to scale to the increased traffic. The Fasthosts CloudNX platform lets you scale your servers up and down exactly as you like. You can add more memory, storage and CPU to your website leading up to Black Friday, and once the busy period is over, you can simply scale it back down to normal.

Due to all of these potential issues, you should consider whether your hosting solution is able to scale to the increased traffic. A scalable cloud platform provides the most flexible solution. With this, you can scale your servers up and down as you like. You can add more memory, storage and CPU to your website leading up to Black Friday, and once the busy period is over, you can simply scale it back down to normal.

A scalable hosting solution also prepares your business for future success. As your site gains more and more traffic, you can allocate more resources without needing to migrate. Take a look at our website to see more details about our scalable Cloud Servers, and browse our Black Friday deals.