Posts Tagged ‘SQL’

Database Optimization For Ecommerce

Tuesday, December 28th, 2010

In the world of Internet marketing, the phrase “ecommerce optimization” can mean a number of different things. Perhaps you’re an SEO and you immediately think of meta-tags, link structure, and backlinks? Or maybe you’re a usability expert and “calls to action” and conversion funnels come to mind? The kind of optimization we’ll be focusing on here is database optimization, something ecommerce website owners tend to neglect. After all, they’re usually too busy trying to generate quality content, more backlinks, and researching how to increase conversions.

Just recently we had a client learn first hand how important it is to keep their databases running smoothly. Imagine this scenario…

You stroll into the office on a Monday morning and log into Google Analytics to review the orders from the weekend. Except there are no orders…worse yet, there’s barely any traffic! You attempt to log into your ecommerce dashboard, but nothing happens. The progress bar stalls, the screen stays white and ultimately delivers an error message:

SQL Error

After some troubleshooting, it turns out that your database needs to be optimized and possibly the code as well. While you have the IT guys clean up the database tables and review code, you turn back to Analytics to review the damage.

Traffic is less than half of usual and the bounce rate has doubled. It’s clear that during this period, your bloated database has brought your ecommerce traffic and sales to a grinding halt.

Fortunately, after some adjustments to the database and corresponding code, and by the end of the day the site is up and running smoothly and orders are coming in. But what have we learned from this? Maintenance, maintenance, maintenance! Making sure everything loads correctly and smoothly shouldn’t be put on the back burner and forgotten about. If you do, it’ll come back to bite you. “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Effective ecommerce optimization isn’t all about search engine rankings and conversion funnels. There are a lot of elements that all need to work together in order for your store to operate smoothly and generate sales. Make a point to perform regular checkups on your website just as a doctor would examine a patient. If you can catch problems before they surface, you’ll avoid the “heart attack” that brings down your website.