How to prep your small business website for holiday success
The holiday season is crucial for small businesses. In fact, did you know that businesses can generate as much as 30% of their annual sales in November and December?
So if you want to make this holiday season successful, there’s no time to waste to ready your business for outstanding seasonal sales. If your cup of ideas isn’t running over, we’re here to help with six great ways to freshen up your website for the holidays.
1. Provide an awesome user experience
No one likes a site that takes what seems like ages to load, or one that’s broken, especially during the holidays. So following are few simple website tune-ups to consider before the holiday rush starts in earnest:
Increase site speed
If you think your visitors will wait ten seconds for your website to load, think again. Research shows that 47% of people expect a site to load in two seconds or less, and 40% of people leave a site that takes more than three seconds to load.
The same study found that just a one second delay in loading could trigger a 7% drop in conversions. Depending on your total sales volume, this could be a significant part of your yearly revenue.
To make things even worse, a slow site can also make it harder for people to find your online business in Google’s search results. Why? Because site speed is a Google ranking factor, which means that if your site takes too long to load, the chances of it showing up at the top of the search results is slim.
Fortunately, there are lots of quick and effective ways to increase site speed. You can get started with these ones:
Fix broken links
Broken links provide a bad experience for your website’s visitors. They tell people that your site doesn’t work and can’t be trusted, which can be a deciding factor.
In addition, just as with site speed, Google doesn’t like broken links, which means your online business might not show up at the top of the search results when potential customers search for your business, products or services.
This complete guide on broken links explains what these links are, what tools to use to find them and how to fix them to ensure broken links don’t damage your reputation or revenue, this holiday season or any other.
Make sure your hosting package can handle a spike in traffic
Most websites gain huge amounts of traffic during this peak shopping season. That’s great for business but only if your website hosting can handle it.
If your website host can’t handle increased web traffic during the holidays, this can result in crashes, slowdowns and, in worst case scenario, a shutdown of your website. Not exactly the holiday experience you want to provide to your potential customers, is it?
So check to make sure that your current hosting package can handle the influx of visitors. If you need extra bandwidth, upgrade as soon as possible to ensure your site runs perfectly during the busy holiday season.
2. Strengthen your security
With cybercrime growing during Christmas and the winter holidays, your customers want to feel safe when making a purchase from your website. They want to know that they can buy from you without putting their credit card details at risk.
If you don’t have an SSL certificate for your website, now’s the time to get it. It won’t just strengthen your site’s security and protect your shoppers’ details but people will also feel safe buying from you.
If you’re not familiar with SSL certificates, here’s what a visitor sees when they land on any page on your site:
This is the universal sign that a website has the highest level of security.
An SSL certificate not only makes your site more secure during the holiday shopping season, but Google also considers it an important search ranking signal so make sure you get one.
Check out the Which SSL Certificate do I need section on our SSL Certificates page for more information on the different types of SSLs provided by 123 Reg, and which one’s best for you.
3. Decorate your website for the holidays
If you’re already reading this, it’s too late to make any major changes to your site’s design and the way it works. You won’t have enough time to implement and test everything, which means you risk having broken pages or other malfunctions that can result in lots of angry customers and severe damage to your holiday revenue.
Instead, make small changes like revamping your logo for Christmas or adding a few holiday-themed images that include your products like in these examples:
In this post you’ll find lots more web design ideas to help you spruce up your website for the holiday season.
4. Create your holiday content now
Shoppers are always searching online for gift ideas so why not make their lives easier and save them some precious time?
Your holiday-themed content can be anything from gift guides like most popular gifts for her, him, brothers, sisters, mums or dads; recipes that use the cooking appliances or ingredients you sell in your online store; visual content like infographics, GIFs or videos with how-to instructions that explain how to do something special for their loved one using one of your products.
If you have knowledge or expertise on a holiday-related topic, now’s the time to start sharing and delighting prospects with your tips and advice.
For example, if you’re a fitness trainer, a wellness coach or a nutrition specialist, why not focus your content on how people can stay healthy and fit during the holidays?
Here’s a nice example from the Tiny Box Company where they show some great ideas for gift wrapping at Christmas:
So, no matter your expertise, find a way to tie it to the season with your content.
Also, if this isn’t your first time creating holiday-themed content, then log into your Google Analytics account and look at the content you created last year or over the past few years. See which pieces brought in new visitors and purchases.
This is very useful as it can help you to generate new content ideas that you can create this year based on what you already know resonates with your audience. You can also rework that content to replicate the results.
If you’re not using Google Analytics, it’s critical that you get on it as soon as possible as it can give you so much valuable information about not only your site’s performance but also about your visitors’ and customers’ behaviour on your website. Take our free Google Analytics course now to learn how to get started and how to use it to learn more about your visitors.
5. Highlight your best products and discounts
Every holiday season has a must-have product or product category. Try to identify yours based on last year’s sales and use your homepage and popular pages to promote them.
For example, you can highlight them on the homepage in a simple section like this:
Also, if you have holiday offers, deals or discounts, whether it’s a 20% discount or free shipping with a £30 purchase, make sure to use contrasting colours to grab visitors’ attention and entice them to act quickly.
6. Go the extra mile with customer service
The holiday shopping season is a busy season for all businesses. But if there’s one thing you should pay extra attention to and make time for, that’s customer service. So be ready and prepared to help out, to answer questions and concerns, and to embrace the holiday spirit with a friendly attitude.
If necessary, up your online staff to ensure you provide excellent customer service. Consider outsourcing this task to a virtual assistant if you don’t want to hire a full-time employee. You can use platforms like Upwork or PeoplePerHour to find your virtual assistant.
The holiday season is crucial for every business out there, considering most generate as much as 30% of annual sales in November and December. We hope you’ll make the most of it with these six holidays tips and ideas.