Web traffic is no longer just for gauging success on the web. In fact we have recently seen experts come up with formulas such as websites traffic conversion = results to highlight just how important this metric has become.

In this hangout we’re going to talk about several aspects of high website traffic.

Hi, good morning Richard.

Good morning.

Nice to catch up again, today I’m going to ask you questions about web traffic. So, first, what is high web traffic? How do I recognize high web traffic?

Well, it’s unfortunate that quite often you only become aware of high web traffic or traffic spikes when somebody complains or your hosting provider informs you that your service is experiencing above normal CPU usage or high bandwidth or memory usage.

Basically, you need to be aware of what’s happening on your site. The obvious step is to use Google Analytics to check your traffic though you may in other circumstances want to more advanced web traffic analysis tools. The most important thing is that you should be able to know what’s happening on your WordPress website before your customers and advertisers do.

So, what can we do about high website traffic?

The Big One is caching. Caching will allow you to deal with traffic spikes on your traffic profile. Your traffic profile simply refers to the various activities currently active on your website. Is it a few pages that are experiencing a very high number of hits or a large website that is receiving a few hits on several different pages?

Once you’ve understood your traffic profile, you can then choose a either a caching technology that works best for you, or you or you can spend some time on Google Analytics and use it to improve your traffic profile.

What are the recommended strategies? What are my options when dealing with high web traffic?

If you’ve got a few pages that receive a very high number of hits; for example, when you share content on your social media page and get 100,000 comments, likes, or replies so that two or three of your website pages receive a huge amount of traffic over a short period of time, you should consider getting a caching server or installing a caching plug-in on your website. Normally it’s not such a big leap when you’re handling high traffic on just a few pages of your website.

If you’re talking about a broad traffic profile such as 60,000 posts with a few requests directed towards each post, then you may need to start looking at load balancers and multiple servers because caching isn’t going to help much.

Are there any particular things that a WordPress website owner should think about?

Two very important things are to know your website well and to learn about your traffic profile. Never wait until it’s late; in fact, now is a very good time to start. Using your analytics package or your proxy access logs, find out how many requests you have, the nature of the requests, the targeted pages, and which hours of the day they are coming in.

Another very important thing is to determine how quickly your 404s are generated and how often they’re being served.

Basically, get to know your site so that if you’re experiencing high CPU usage, high bandwidth usage, or high memory usage, you can correct the problem quickly and in a less costly manner.

Thanks so much Richard. Let’s catch up on the next one.

Thank you.