As the Christmas season approaches and retail traffic starts to build, it becomes ever more critical to have your Magento installation optimised to be able to handle these extra customers without slowing down the site.

The bottom line is that on an optimised site, customers will get a better experience– and that makes them more likely to buy from you.

Williams Commerce have developed and aggregated a number of tools and processes to maximise Magento performance and we have seen improvements of 20-30% even on well managed sites.

At the most basic level  there are a few things that sophisticated store webmasters can potentially do themselves, such as:

• Ensure that the ‘Flat Catalogue’ facilities are enabled
• Install a module called Fooman Speedster
• Install and configure a PHP accelerator
• Minify JavaScript and CSS

One important question ahead of any peak season is whether you are on latest stable version of Magento. Magento 1.4 has some real performance gains over 1.3 and has much more advanced caching facilities – not to mention some extra functionality like support for Widgets and the ability to compile your site.

But there is a lot more that can be done ‘under the hood’ with Apache, PHP and MySQL setups and Magento configurations. To that end Flint offers a full tune up service to its customers, both as a standalone package, and as part of a management/support agreement.