So you have your holiday marketing plan in place. Ads are ready to run. Social media posts planned. Prepared your inventory. You’re all set! But are you really?
What about your website? Is it prepared to handle the influx of customers vying for the best deals and sales during the holiday season? Have you thought about how you will optimize your website to run as smoothly as possible during one of the busiest times of the year?
That’s okay. We’ve got you covered.
Here are 6 steps to prepare your website for holiday shoppers:
Sometimes overlooking the basics is one of the easiest mistakes you can make. Take this opportunity to double check that all the important information about your business is on your website. Your homepage should feature your sales, and your headings should be easy and clear. Frequently asked questions and links to customer service information should be easily accessible. Your purchasing system should be simple, concise and easy to navigate through. If you have a brick and mortar store as well, make sure your website has the hours of operation, phone number, and your store addresses. If you have multiple locations, or if it’s hard to find, be sure to include a map to assist your customers.
Test It Out
Now that you have all the basic information about who you are and your sales, it’s time to make sure everything is working, and will continue to work when the time comes. Check that your search function is working and directs customers to the right pages. Do those landing pages need updating? How fast is your website loading? If it’s slow, potential customers may leave before they purchase anything. Check for any broken links. Finally, make sure your site is up to the challenge when a lot of traffic comes its way. Check with your web host to see what resources your website is currently using compared to your selected hosting plan. Ask them: can your current plan handle an influx of traffic that may occur during this time period? If not, it may be time to consider an upgrade to a hosting environment that is more robust.
It’s A Mobile World
Having a mobile version of your website plays an integral part in getting you sales. Ensure that your website is mobile friendly and easy to navigate through. Don’t forget to go through the check out process as well. The holidays are a stressful time for everyone, so even little things can go a long way to getting business.
There’s no question that complications are not uncommon, especially during this time of the year. If your site experiences some sort of outage during one of the busiest times of the year, you can be sure customers will look elsewhere. Unless your product or service is so great that people are willing to wait hours upon hours, chances are you’ll need some sort of backup plan. Heck, even if you don’t lose any customers, you need some sort of strategy to get yourself back online. Ask your providers about their disaster recovery plans, and have your social media sites ready to update clients if any problem arises.
There are two things that people value during the holidays: sales and knowing their information is safe. Ensure that you have a SSL certificate so that customers can have peace of mind when they’re making a purchase from your website. Provide visual proof that your website is secure by placing relevant logos and prominently display your commitment to safety and security. You can also consider purchasing a web application firewall or a physical firewall for additional protection from unauthorized users. If you’re using WordPress to run your website, look for plugins that may provide additional security like Wordfence or BulletProof Security. However, most importantly ensure everything that you’re running on website is up to date.
If your website is hosted in Canada, but you get a lot of customers from other parts of the world where the connection may be slow, you can consider getting access to a Content Delivery Network (CDN). This network allows you to optimize your site performance allowing visitors from another part of the world to load your website faster. It works by caching your site’s static files like images, CSS and videos, and delivering them to your visitors via the CDN location closest to them, greatly improving the end user experience. For example, if your trying to improve your website experience for customers from Australia, you can purchase a CDN location in Sydney.
Are you ready for the holiday shopping season?