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Tips to Prepare Your Site to Handle Sudden Surge in Traffic

Many noteworthy event can cause a rapid increase in traffic to websites that provide relevant information, and may even cause sites to crash at the moment. While it’s not always possible to anticipate such events, you can prepare your site to handle a sudden surge in traffic, here are Google Webmaster tips:

How to handle traffic surge

  • Prepare a lightweight version of your sitee; you can then switch all of your traffic over to this lightweight version if you start to experience a spike in traffic. “One good way to do this is to have a mobile version of your site, and to make the mobile site available to desktop/PC users during periods of high traffic,” explains Susan Moskwa, Webmaster Trends Analyst. Adding, Moskwa writes, “another low-effort option is to just maintain a lightweight version of your homepage, since the homepage is often the most-requested page of a site as visitors start there and then navigate out to the specific area of the site that they’re interested in.” Follow these tips for creating lightweight pages:
  • Exclude decorative elements like images or Flash wherever possible; use text instead of images in the site navigation and chrome, and put most of the content in HTML.
  • Use static HTML pages rather than dynamic ones; the latter place more load on your servers. You can also cache the static output of dynamic pages to reduce server load.
  • As an alternative, you can also “host a copy of your site on a third-party service that you know will be able to withstand a heavy stream of traffic.” “For example, create a copy of your site–or a pared-down version with a focus on information relevant to the spike–on a platform like Google Sites or Blogger; use services like Google Docs to host documents or forms; or use a content delivery network (CDN),” Moskwas explains.
  • If your site offer downloadable information, try to make the lightweight file formats. For example, offering same data as a plain text file rather than a PDF lightens the load on servers. Also, note, text-based PDFs are more lightweight than PDFs with images, and Text-based PDFs are also easier for Google to understand and index fully.
  • If you offer numerical or tabular data (data displayed in tables), it is recommend providing it in CSV and/or XML format. These filetypes are “relatively lightweight and make it easy for external developers to use your data in external applications or services in cases where you want the data to reach as many people as possible, such as in the wake of a natural disaster,” added Moskwa.
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