One place for hosting & domains


      Create a Simple Microsite

      This use case combines Linode’s and Akamai’s capabilities to create a complete end-to-end solution for a simple microsite. To build this application we’ll use Linode origin servers and an Akamai delivery product.

      Akamai cloud computing based on Linode provides you with these benefits when creating a microsite:

      • Simple and well-documented UI, CLI, and API provisioning capabilities.
      • A clear pricing model that lets you estimate the cost for your compute needs.
      • The simplicity of Linode combined with the scale of the Akamai CDN.

      Architecture Overview


      This use case is for existing Akamai customers that want to learn how to use cloud computing based on Linode when building applications.

      Linode Account

      Before you start, make sure you have access to a
      Linode Cloud Manager account, either through your existing account or via a trial login. You can also
      sign up for a new account.


      Talk to your account representative or simply try the free credit available at the top of this guide.

      If you’re new to Linode, watch this video to help you get started.

      Entitlement for Ion

      You also need access to an Akamai account with entitlement for


      To see if you already have entitlement for Ion, log in to ​Akamai Control Center​, go to > ACCOUNT ADMIN > Contracts. Click a Contract ID and search for Ion in the list of products.

      Create a Linode

      Create a Linode Compute instance to act as an origin server that will store content, messages, and other data for your microsite in the cloud.


      To avoid an unexpected bill make sure to delete this Linode Compute Instance once you’ve completed this use case.

      1. Log in to the
        Linode Cloud Manager and select the Marketplace link from the left navigation menu. This displays the Linode Create page with the Marketplace tab pre-selected.

        You can read
        An Overview of the Linode Cloud Manager to learn more about features and services available in Linode’s Cloud Manager.

      2. Use the Select an App field to search for the Node.js Marketplace App and select it.

        Select the Node.js Marketplace App

      3. Enter required information under the NodeJS Setup section. For more information and instructions refer to
        Guides – Deploying Node.js through the Linode Marketplace.


        This guide involves configuring DNS settings and SSL certificates for your domain. These steps can be automated during the Marketplace App installation process by providing a Linode
        API Token during setup.

        During installation, the API Token is used to generate a domain zone and records using Linode
        DNS Manager. The Node.js Marketplace App then utilizes
        certbot to generate SSL certificates for your domain and subdomain.

        If you plan to utilize Linode DNS Manager, we recommend taking steps now familiarize yourself with our
        DNS Manager guide.

      4. Select “Ubuntu 20.04 LTS” in the Select an Image section.

      5. Select a region.

      6. Select the Shared CPU Linode 2GB Linode Plan.

      7. Enter a root password.

      8. Select any SSH keys for root access. For more information, refer to the
        Cloud Manager guide: Manage SSH Keys.

      9. Select Private IP under Add-ons.

      10. Click the Create Linode button at the bottom of the page.

      11. Verify Marketplace App installation before continuing with this guide. It may take several minutes for installation to complete.


        You can also create a Linode Compute instance using these options:


        The steps in this example reference the Linode and Akamai user interfaces. You can also perform these tasks using
        Terraform, the management
        API, or

      Create an Ion Property

      Set up a delivery property to determine how your microsite will be delivered to requesting clients. We’ll use ​the Akamai​ setup wizard to do this.

      Begin the Ion Setup Wizard

      1. Start the setup wizard by following the instructions in
        Create a new guided Ion property.

      2. Enter the FQDN of your Linode origin server as the Hostname. In this guide, we use the example domain

      3. In the Origin Server section select Web server as the Origin hostname and accept the suggested value for the Origin hostname.

      Configure the Origin Hostname for your Linode

      1. Add the origin hostname to your origin server domain’s DNS settings.

        For example, if your Linode IP address is and the suggested origin hostname is, your Linode DNS Manager domain zone needs to have an A record with the following values according to your choice of primary domain:

        Primary DomainRecord TypeHostnameIP Address
      2. Verify your new origin hostname DNS configuration. For instructions, see the
        Use dig to Perform Manual DNS Queries guide.

      3. Update your web server to include the origin hostname.

        For example, if you are using NGINX, add the full hostname to the server_name entry as below:

        File: /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/*
        server {

        Then reload NGINX.

        systemctl reload nginx
      4. Next, update your origin certificate to include the Origin hostname and reload your web server.

        If using the Node.js Marketplace App, access your origin server via
        LISH or
        SSH connection, replacing the example hostnames with your own:

        certbot --expand -d -d

        Select 1: No redirect when prompted to complete SSL certificate configuration, then reload your NGINX server:

        systemctl reload nginx

        While you are connected, rename the Linode’s system hostname to help identify it later:

        hostnamectl set-hostname server1

      Complete the Ion Setup Wizard

      1. In the Ion setup wizard ORIGIN SERVER window, select Validate.

      2. Continue to the EDGE CERTIFICATE configuration in the Ion setup wizard.

      3. Select Standard TLS and add the following TXT record to the FQDN domain zone as guided.

        If using Linode DNS Manager, create a TXT record in a domain zone for the Linode’s full hostname. Refer to the following example settings:

        Primary DomainRecord TypeHostnameValue
        www.test.comTXT_acme-challengeEnter Record Value


        Ensure that there no extra empty spaces when entering the Record Value.

      4. Verify your domain validation DNS record, then click the Validate button.

      5. Continue through the Ion setup wizard by selecting default values for remaining prompts.

      6. When you reach the Review and activate step, click Activate to enable your Ion configuration and Edge certificates.

        This process takes several minutes to complete. Wait for the Next button to appear, then click it to continue.

      7. Once your Ion configuration is activated, your Ion property should now include an Edge hostname such as Follow the instructions under the Verify section of the Ion setup wizard to test connectivity directly to your Edge hostname’s IP address by updating your local hosts file. If the IP address for your Edge hostname does not appear before your domain under Hosts file entry as shown in the screen capture below, refresh the page until it does.

      8. After you complete the test, remove the line you added to your local hosts file and click Next.


        You can also test with staging IP addresses for your Edge hostname. For example, if your edge hostname is, its staging hostname is

        Run the nslookup or dig commands on the staging hostname as shown below.

        dig +short

        As a result, you will see two staging IP addresses. Add either of them to your local hosts file along with your domain and perform the same Verify section browser test.

      9. Replace existing DNS A/AAAA records with an alias to direct your Ion property hostname to your new Edge hostname.

        If using Linode DNS Manager, you must first remove all A/AAAA records and primary domain zones for your Ion property hostname, then create a CNAME record according to the following example values:

        Primary DomainRecord TypeHostnameValue
      10. Verify your DNS configuration changes, then click Check CNAME in the Ion setup wizard. Once your CNAME record is confirmed, requests to your domain should now route through Akamai’s Edge CDN.

      Set Up High Availability

      High availability is a term used to describe server setups that eliminate single points of failure. The following sections provide instructions for setting up multiple backend servers behind a
      NodeBalancer, then redirecting traffic from your Ion property to the NodeBalancer by adjusting DNS settings.


      NodeBalancers communicate with backend nodes through their private IPv4 addresses via HTTP.

      Before you start, ensure your origin server supports HTTP port 80.

      If you created your Linodes using Node.js from the Marketplace Apps, you can watch this
      interactive guide for more information.

      Create Multiple Origin Servers

      This section involves cloning your Linode origin server to provide high availability through redundancy.


      Clustering files or databases is not in the scope of this use case. You can, however, refer to the
      Host a Website with High Availability guide if you want to learn more.

      If you want to use a solution such as
      GlusterFS, instead of cloning the origin server you need to follow the instructions in
      Create a Linode to create two or more new Linode Compute Instances.

      1. Log in to the
        Linode Cloud Manager.

      2. Use the Linode cloning feature to create another Linode origin server in the same region.

        For instructions, refer to
        Cloning a Linode.

      3. Under Select Linode to Clone From, click the Linode you created for the web server in
        Create a Linode.

      4. Select the same Linode Plan option you previously selected and click Create Linode.

      5. Add a Private IPv4 Address to the cloned Linode.

      6. Select Power On for the cloned Linode after creation is complete.

      7. Ensure that the web server is running on your cloned Linode.

        If using the Node.js Marketplace App,
        LISH or
        SSH into the cloned Linode and start the Node.js server as a background process:

        node /opt/nodejs/hello.js &

        You can also rename the cloned Linode hostname to help identify it later:

        hostnamectl set-hostname server2

      Set Up Network Load Balancing

      Linode NodeBalancers distribute user requests between compute instances to improve capacity, performance, and availability. For more information, refer to the
      Getting Started with NodeBalancers guide.


      Before you start, make sure that each of your origin servers has a private IPv4 address. For more information and instructions on how to add private IPv4 addresses to your origin servers, refer to the
      Managing IP addresses guide.
      1. Log in to the
        Linode Cloud Manager.

      2. Navigate to the NodeBalancer page and click Create NodeBalancer.

      3. Select the same region you selected for your backend Linode instances.

      4. In the Port Configuration section, change Port from 80 to 443.

      5. Change the Protocol from HTTP to HTTPS.

      6. In the SSL Certificate section, paste the PEM-formatted contents of your web server SSL certificate.


        If using the Node.js Marketplace App, certificate files are located in the /etc/letsencrypt/live/domain/ directory on your origin servers. Use the contents fullchain.pem and privkey.pem when configuring your NodeBalancer.

        Otherwise, to learn how to get an SSL certificate, refer to the
        Enabling HTTPS Using Certbot with NGINX guide.

      7. In the Private Key section, paste the PEM-formatted contents of your webserver private key. Your private key cannot have a passphrase.

      8. Select “Least Connection” for the Algorithm setting and “HTTP Cookie” for the Session Stickiness setting.


        To enable
        Forward Secrecy for SSL/TLS connections, follow the instructions in the
        NodeBalancer SSL Configuration guide.

        If using the Node.js Marketplace app, Diffie-Hellman parameters are located on the Linode origin server in the /etc/letsencrypt/ssl-dhparams.pem file by default.

      9. In the Active Health Checks section, select the “HTTP Status” for the Type setting and enter a forward slash (/) as the Check HTTP Path.


        Make sure all the origin servers listen to HTTP, not HTTPS, otherwise the HTTP Status option will not work.

      10. In the Backend Nodes section, select the Enter IP Address dropdown menu and select private IP address for the first web server.

      11. Enter a label. For example, Server1.

      12. Enter the HTTP port number of the web server under the Port section.

      13. Click Add a Node, and add the second web server.

      14. Review the configuration, and click the Create NodeBalancer button.

      15. Make note of the IP Address of the NodeBalancer.

      16. Redirect your Ion origin hostname DNS A record to point to your NodeBalancer IP address.

        If using Linode DNS Manager, the following settings apply for the example domain and NodeBalancer IP address of according to the choice of primary domain:

        Primary DomainRecord TypeHostnameIP Address


        For more information on configuration options, see the
        TLS/SSL Termination on NodeBalancers guide.

      Test Your Origin

      Complete these steps to test your Linode origin servers.

      Create Test Pages

      You can use a dynamic or static page to test your Linode origin servers.

      1. To test using dynamic pages, create a page for each of your origin servers. It should show a unique characteristic of the origin servers, such as the server IP address or hostname.

        For example, if you used Node.js Marketplace App to create your Linode, you can edit the /opt/nodejs/hello.js file for each backend Linode and restart Node.js:

        File: /opt/nodejs/hello.js
        const http = require('http');
        const hostname = 'localhost';
        const port = 3000;
        const os = require('os');
        //Add the following line:
        const servername = os.hostname();
        const server = http.createServer((req, res) => {
          res.statusCode = 200;
          res.setHeader('Content-Type', 'text/html');
        //Update the following line as shown below:
          res.end('Hello World @'+servername);
        server.listen(port, hostname, () => {
      2. To test using a static page, create a unique html page for each of your Linode origin servers. The pages can simply include text to help you identify each of the origin servers. For example, server1 and server2.

        File: index.html for server1
        <!DOCTYPE html>
           Welcome to server1!
        File: index.html for server2
        <!DOCTYPE html>
           Welcome to server2!

      Test Session Stickiness

      1. Open the test page URL using a web browser that supports HTTP cookies. For example, if you have the Node.js test page above and your origin hostname is, your test page URL is

      2. Reload the page a few times. You should receive all responses from the same origin server.

      3. Open a new browser window in private/incognito mode or delete your web browser cookies and test again.

      4. Repeat step 2, until you see a new response coming from a different origin server.

      Test Failover

      1. To test failover, shut down one of your origin servers by selecting Power Off for the desired Linode.

        Power Off a Linode origin server.

      2. Repeat the steps in
        Test Session Stickiness. You should only get a response from active origin servers.

      For more information on testing options, refer to the
      Ion documentation.

      Learn More

      You can also view the instructions for this use case in the
      Akamai techdocs.

      To participate in a series of interactive modules that will guide you through the steps to get started with Akamai cloud computing based on Linode, go to the
      Build on Akamai training. You can use your Akamai Control Center login credentials to access the site.

      Source link

      25 Simple Ways To Boost Holiday Sales on Your Website

      The holiday season is a critical time for retailers, with some making a good chunk of their yearly revenue in just a couple of months.

      And while 2020 has been a proverbial “lump of coal” for small business owners, with many having to pivot to curbside pickup or go digital with their services, there’s good reason to believe that we’re on the cusp of a [insert your holiday of choice] miracle.

      As we covered in our 2020 Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping guide, consumers are very eager to spend money on some holiday cheer this December. And you should use that to your advantage!

      Below, we’ve outlined 25 tried-and-tested tips for boosting your online sales this winter. Our advice falls into three main categories:

      So are you ready to tie a bow around 2020? If so, read on to find out how your online store can get more traffic, increase sales, and improve customer experience this month.

      Your Website’s Home for the Holidays

      We make sure your website is fast, secure, and always up during the holiday shopping season and beyond. Plans start at $2.59/mo.

      On-Site Tweaks

      1. Optimize your copy

      This applies to every page of your site — from your homepage to your About Us page, and of course, your all-important product pages:

      • Detailed product information
      • Persuasive copy
      • Trust factors
      • Calls-to-Action

      These are all things that can boost conversion rates, sales, and revenue. Plus, they’ll help you all year round — not just during the holidays.

      Not convinced? Think of it this way.

      When you’re in a shop, you can look, touch, and feel a product. Depending on the product type, you can often try it on or play around with it.

      What’s more, a store’s physical presence creates trust, while sales staff are on-hand to assist customers and encourage them to buy.

      All this is lost when shopping online.

      Use your online copy to recreate the in-store environment online.

      2. Streamline your checkout process

      Long, fiddly online checkouts can be a massive barrier to sales. Especially since more than half of internet shopping now takes place on mobile.

      If your checkout process asks for too much information or offers a poor user experience, you’re going to lose sales — period.

      A good place to start with streamlining your checkout is to test, test, and test again.

      Ask friends or family who are unfamiliar with the ins-and-outs of e-commerce and internet marketing to do a test purchase (you can either ask them to complete a purchase and then cancel it or simply not go past the entering-your-payment-details stage).

      Then, ask for their feedback:

      • How simple was the process?
      • What, if any, problems did they run into?
      • How does your checkout process compare with other sites they shop from? Ask for specifics — not just “compares well” or “doesn’t compare well.”

      Also, consider the following:

      • Do not ask people to register before buying. Give them the option to register, but don’t make it mandatory.
      • Only ask for essential details.
      • Offer multiple ways to pay. Check out our guide to payment gateways for ideas.
      • Make delivery costs clear (and don’t leave it until the last moment to state them).

      3. Optimize your site for speed

      Site speed, or on a more granular basis, page load speed, is important for two reasons:

      1. SEO: Google has stated that all things being equal, page load speed is a ranking factor.
      2. UX: Longer page load speed = higher bounce rates and fewer sales.

      cGoogle’s own PageSpeed Insights will score any page of your site on how quickly (or slowly) it loads and tell you what you can do to improve it. We’ve also written a guide on what you can do to optimize a WordPress site for speed.

      4. Get into CRO

      CRO (or conversion rate optimization) is the practice of testing and optimizing your site — not to drive more traffic, but to convert more of that traffic into sales.

      It is, sadly, a frequently overlooked element of digital marketing. Ideally, it should go hand-in-hand with other digital marketing channels. But this is often not the case.

      Priority is typically placed on boosting traffic. And that’s understandable. Why invest in CRO when you have no traffic to convert?

      But once you do have a decent stream of traffic coming to your site? Start testing. Start tweaking. And start turning more of your visitors into customers.

      5. Upgrade your product visuals and videos

      Remember our first point?

      Online shopping eliminates the ability for people to see, touch, and try products. The more you can do to replicate the in-store experience, the more money you’re likely to make.

      One way to do this is to improve your product photos. Better yet, use videos, too.

      Take ASOS. All their product pages feature high-resolution photos from different angles that you can zoom in on. Alongside these are short “catwalk” style videos, enabling shoppers to see how the clothing fits and moves in real life.

      Example of ASOS product page listing.

      There’s no doubt that the effort ASOS puts into their imagery and video is part of the reason they’re one of the world’s leading online fashion retailers.

      6. Simplify your site structure

      Simple navigation = more sales. Complicated navigation = fewer sales.

      Why? If customers can’t find what they’re looking for, they’re not going to buy it (for obvious reasons).

      Your site structure can make or break your user experience. But what does a simple site structure look like?

      Something like this.

      Breakdown of well-optimized site structure.
      (Image credit)

      You have your homepage. Which leads to your top-level categories. Which leads to sub-categories. Which then include your products.

      Of course, this will vary depending on the type of site, your product range, and whether you have products in multiple categories — but this is a pretty typical example, and a solid structure to aim for.

      A couple of additional tips on this point:

      • Use breadcrumbs. They help users retrace their steps and easily return to a parent page or category.
      • Make sure your search function works properly.
      • Include filters. They enable users to refine categories and make the online shopping experience easier, faster, and more enjoyable.

      7. Give landing pages a festive makeover

      This one’s simple, really — you’re preparing your site for the festive season, so why not give it a temporary makeover in celebration?

      We’ve got plenty of inspiration for you here.

      8. Make sure your hosting can handle a holiday traffic surge

      E-commerce sites naturally see a boost in traffic during the holiday season. This is likely to be far more apparent in 2020 — especially in places where non-essential stores are closed due to COVID-19.

      Can your site handle that extra traffic? Does it have a limited bandwidth?

      An unexpected (or unplanned for) surge in traffic can slow sites down (in turn losing you sales) or break a site altogether.

      Consider upgrading your website’s hosting to ensure it can handle the extra demand. This guide can help you determine when to upgrade your site’s hosting.

      For online stores, we recommend looking at our WooCommerce hosting services. Starting at $16.95 per month, these plans come with an uptime guarantee, powerful caching, on-demand backups, and 24/7 support from WordPress experts.

      9. Make sure your site is mobile-friendly

      This is essential whatever time of year. We already know that more than half of online purchases take place on mobile. And now we have mobile-first indexing to consider too.

      Basically, if your site isn’t mobile-friendly, the result is most likely going to be lower rankings, less traffic, and fewer conversions.

      You can find out if your site makes the grade with Google’s mobile-friendly testing tool.

      Another handy tool is Responsive Viewer — a free Chrome plugin that shows how sites look on various mobile devices.

      10. Borrow ideas from national brands

      Big brands mean big budgets, which in turn, mean (generally) big ideas. And many brands go all out for the holidays.

      While financial restrictions may prevent you from creating campaigns on that scale, there’s often a lot you can learn from looking at the marketing strategies of big brands (both inside and outside of your industry).

      Marketing Tactics

      11. Create bundled promotions

      Bundles — a form of upselling — are a big win for both the brand and the customer. The brand sells more stock, and the customer gets more for their money.

      What’s not to like?

      The only thing to consider is this: What should you include in your bundles?

      You shouldn’t try to palm your customers off with a bundle of completely unrelated products. Some companies do this to try to get rid of old stock, but interest will be minimal (if you get any at all).

      Instead, create bundles that are going to help customers, and save them time. For example, a “gifts for the whole family” bundle or a “most popular Xbox games of the year” bundle — ideal for lazy customers who just want to get their holiday shopping over and done with!

      Too much work?

      Here are a few alternatives to try.

      • Offer a discount when a customer buys X number of products or spends X amount.
      • Do a “buy X products, get the cheapest free” offer.
      • Allow customers to create their own bundles.
      Example of “Build Your Own Bundle” of Nintendo products.
      (Image credit)

      12. Offer samples with purchases

      This isn’t ideal for all industries, but it’s perfect for companies that distribute consumable products (think beauty products and toiletries, sweets, foods, drinks — anything that can be produced and given away in miniature form).

      Simply offer a free sample pack with a customer’s first purchase. Not only is this an incentive to buy, but it can boost your customer return rates, too.

      13. Boost traffic with a giveaway

      Online competitions are a simple, effective, and (depending on the prize) cheap way to drive traffic and (hopefully) customers to your site. They’re also a great way to expand your email marketing list.

      That said, it’s easy to run a competition and see little to no ROI.

      Many brands just create a competition page containing a simple question (or no question at all) and an entry form.

      Some brands will even host a competition on an external site. This should increase visibility and entrants — which is fine if your only intention is to get more names and addresses on your email list.

      But you’re trying to get people to your site, and more importantly, interacting with it. So how do you go about doing that?

      You include a question or task that requires entrants to explore your site.

      Let’s give you an example.

      Since we’re talking about a holiday promotion, you might ask entrants to complete a “wishlist” task. So say your prize was a $100 voucher for the site, you’d ask entrants how they would spend it/what items on your site they would put on their Christmas wish list.

      This forces entrants to actually browse through your products, meaning the competition is more likely to drive sales.

      14. Partner with micro-influencers

      You’ve probably heard about influencer marketing. You’ve probably thought it’s a tactic that’s beyond your reach. But have you heard of micro-influencer marketing?

      The name kind of gives it away. Micro-influencers have much smaller social networks than typical, big-name influencers. And that’s a good thing.

      Some of the benefits to partnering with a micro-influencer include:

      • More affordable fees.
      • A more niche following — meaning it’s easier to find an influencer with an audience that aligns with your product/s.
      • Less competition with products from other brands (and in turn, higher conversion rates).

      15. Create social media ads to promote your deals across all channels

      This is an obvious one, but it’s all-the-more important leading up to the holidays. Retailers must maximize the one time of year when consumers everywhere loosen the purse strings. One very effective way to do that is to advertise on social media — especially to promote offers or deals.

      Oh, and those competitions we just mentioned.

      Just beware that while social media advertising might appear simple, you could lose a lot of money if you get it wrong.

      For maximum ROI, you want to ensure you’re targeting exactly the right people. If you don’t know how to do this, either learn or pay an expert to create and manage the ads for you.

      Just bear in mind: If you want to teach yourself, you need to check the date on the resources you’re learning from. Social media advertising is in constant flux. Out-of-date resources are largely worthless.

      16. Plan your marketing emails

      This is another obvious one, and it’s likely something you’re already doing. However, any retailer that fails to make the most of the holiday season is making a big mistake. So plan to send a number of emails, and plan ahead.

      Like so:

      1. Learn how to send marketing emails and newsletters (if you don’t know already).
      2. Build or grow your email list (there are lots of tips here on how to do that).
      3. Plan what you’re going to send and when. Focus on your offers.
      4. Make a point of how you’re going to capture people’s attention. Remember that most retailers go above and beyond for the holiday season, so to stand out, you need to be sending awesome emails with equally awesome subject lines.
      5. Create your emails.
      6. Schedule them in.
      Alt-text: Example email campaign from BuyAGift.
      (Image credit)

      17. Create “abandoned cart” email campaigns

      Cart abandonment sits at approximately 69%.

      There are many reasons why this happens — from hidden delivery charges to a customer simply changing their mind. However, often the customer just gets distracted and forgets or decides they’re going to sit on it before clicking “buy” (another situation that inevitably results in the customer forgetting about their basket altogether).

      This is where abandoned cart emails come in.

      Odds are you’ve received them yourself in the past. They’re simply a friendly reminder that you’ve got items sitting in your basket.

      Most e-commerce content management systems offer plugins to automate this process. If you’re working with a bespoke system, talk to your developer.

      18. Write holiday gift guides and “Best of” blog posts

      When it comes to buying gifts, consumers are always in need of inspiration. Even when it’s someone you’ve known and loved for years, deciding what to buy them can be tough.

      As a result, searches for “gift guides” peak a lot every December.

      Example search result usage for ‘gift guides’ in December.
      (Image credit)

      Want to get in on some of that?

      Promote your own products by writing themed, targeted gift guides. By this, we don’t mean writing generic “Christmas gift guide” posts. Write posts that are specific to a particular audience — i.e., for grandparents, siblings, partners, and so on.

      19. Add your offers to coupon sites

      Who doesn’t love a good deal? Especially when we’re on a holiday shopping spending spree!

      Drive extra traffic and business by promoting your offers on coupon sites.

      There’s a big list of coupon sites to sift through here — though there’s always going to be more, so you should do your own research too.

      Just bear in mind that many coupon sites operate as affiliate sites. This means they take a cut of the revenue when they refer a customer that converts and that you’ll need to start an affiliate scheme to get featured.

      20. Create a holiday-themed lead magnet

      Lead magnets are incentives from marketers or site owners to their customers or potential customers, meant to capture their email address and (usually) a few other details.

      Think free eBooks, cheat sheets, tools, printables — the options are pretty much endless.

      The only real rules are that you need to be offering real, high-quality content, and payment should only be in the form of a user’s details.

      They’re worth having on your website all year round, but why not dress them up for the party season and create an extra incentive for your visitors by designing a festive lead magnet or two?

      Customer Support Ideas

      21. Provide really excellent customer service

      So you should be doing this all year round, but the (massive) uptick in shoppers leading up to the holidays means you need to be even more on the ball when it comes to customer service.

      Consider things like:

      • A likely increase in customer inquiries: Do you have the resources to deal with them? And if not, how can you increase your customer support capacity?
      • Extending your returns policy — ideally well into January. Better yet, include a slip with purchases that their loved ones can use to discreetly and easily return them. This gives shoppers extra peace of mind that an unwanted gift (or the money spent on it) won’t go to waste.
      • Your customers’ most common questions: What are they? Drafting replies to these questions can be a huge timesaver and speed up how long it takes to respond to them.

      22. Update your processes to help stressed shoppers

      Continuing with the topic of customer service, remember that at this time of year, shoppers are going to be extra stressed. Especially if they’ve made the classic mistake of leaving gift buying to the very last minute.

      Be prepared for a surge in orders as the big day draws closer. Make your final order date for guaranteed Christmas delivery (or any other holiday) crystal clear. And upgrade yours and your staff’s knowledge of products and processes so you can assist stressed shoppers as quickly and efficiently as possible.

      Loosening up your processes a little is a very good idea too.

      Whether a customer urgently wants something that’s out of stock or needs an item to arrive earlier than it typically would, do your best to go out of your way and accommodate their needs.

      You’ll be thanked later in the form of customer loyalty.

      23. Reward loyal customers with a gift or special offer

      Want to build on the customer loyalty you’re creating by going above and beyond for them? Then why not reward them with a special gift or an offer they just can’t refuse?

      For bonus points, personalize the gift or offer. This may not always be possible, especially during extra-busy periods, but use it if you have the capacity.

      Valued customers are far more likely to return than customers who feel like a number in a machine.

      24. Review and adapt your shipping policies

      Thanks to a certain big e-commerce site, online shoppers have become increasingly accustomed to the idea of fast, free shipping.

      If your average delivery time exceeds two days, and you’re charging delivery fees, you could be losing sales. Especially if you’re shipping small, lightweight items.

      Multiple tests have been carried out on the impact of free shipping, with the average uptick in conversions being between 25–40%.

      Yep — charging for shipping could be slashing your sales by up to 40%.

      This is even more apt during the holiday season when shoppers are (often) strapped for cash. Slap them with an unexpected shipping charge, and a big order could quickly become no order.

      “But what about revenue?” We hear you say.

      “Our margins are tight anyway.”

      There isn’t a perfect solution, but if your products are hard to find elsewhere, simply increase your prices slightly and absorb the shipping cost into them.

      25. Increase the ways your customers can contact you

      How can customers reach you? Not everyone wants to pick up the phone or wait for a response to an email. If you don’t already, consider offering support via live chat and social media.

      Just make sure to manage your support channels so that when a customer contacts you via live chat or social, someone’s there to answer them.

      Ready to Run a Holiday Sale?

      Whether you need help creating a holiday marketing campaign, optimizing an e-commerce website, or creating a landing page, we can help! Subscribe to our monthly digest so you never miss an article.

      Holiday Shoppers Are Waiting

      There you have it: 25 ways to boost your sales throughout the holiday period (and in many ways, beyond). Choose and implement as many relevant suggestions as you can, and we’ll cross our fingers and toes that you’ll have your most successful winter ever!

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      KISS: Keeping Infrastructure Simple, Seriously


      About the Talk

      Infrastructure is often complex — large collections of components interacting to deliver a seamless product to end customers. The key to successful complex infrastructures is a continual focus on simplicity.

      What You’ll Learn

      • How complex infrastructures can be made simple
      • How to apply some basic rules to any infrastructure to enable simplicity
      • How to actively build in observability to maintain simplicity


      About the Presenter

      Chris Higgins is Vice President of Infrastructure at DigitalOcean. He has been a Unix geek since 1989, building the Internet since 1994, and building the cloud since 2008.

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