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8 Tips to Get Your Website Ready for the Holidays   no comments

Oct 30, 2018 @ 9:00am Holidays,Web hosting

holiday-ready

As the holiday season draws near, it’s time to start thinking about updating your website to capitalize on the increased traffic that often accompanies this time of year. Satisfied customers and a successful holiday season will make any business owner smile, and your website can play a big role in making that happen. Taking extra time to prepare now is a good way to avoid technical problems and other issues during the holidays.

 

1. Optimize for Mobile Devices

Thanks to the growth of smartphones and other mobile digital devices, online shoppers don’t have to be chained to their computer desks to check off purchases from their holiday shopping lists. Developing a simple and functional theme specifically for your mobile users can increase your potential customer base. The easiest way to do this is to make use of responsive designs. With a responsive design, your website will modify itself automatically to create the optimal layout for the customer’s mobile device; these designs can accommodate both smartphones and tablets. Due to the smaller screen size typical of mobile devices you probably won’t be able to maintain the exact same design from your desktop version, but you can still use the same branding and color scheme.

 

2. Improve Your Website’s Loading Time

You may want a website with all the latest bells and whistles, but consider your website’s performance before you load it up with high-resolution graphics and elaborate scripts. Sluggish loading times on your website frustrate your customers and may encourage them to shop elsewhere. Before the holidays start, have your technical support team run tests on your website to see how fast each page loads for the average user. Changes to your design, such as reducing large images and eliminating complex coding scripts, can help your website perform better. You can also opt for a better cloud solution or web hosting server for your website to see even more improvement in loading speeds.

 

3. Secure Customer Data

Shopping online is always risky; some websites don’t safeguard customers’ data properly, putting these individuals at risk for identity theft and other issues. Investing in robust security software is a good way to protect your customers’ important data. Your technical support staff should keep apprised of the latest developments in online security to help your customers stay safe. To help alleviate your customers’ concerns, you can include information on your website about the security protocols that you use and offer tips on how your customers can shop online safely.

 

4. Offer Friendly Customer Support

Browser problems, incorrect stock levels and missing orders are just some of the common customer issues your staff will need to work through. Having enough staff on hand is an essential ingredient to helping your website survive the holidays. If possible, offer a live chat support option to those who are currently browsing your website. Keep an eye on your social media profiles in case a customer tries to reach you through those networks. Some customers may prefer to use email to get in touch with you; using a ticket system to handle incoming customer emails is a good way to keep track of issues. Help your staff to cultivate a customer-centric attitude, and try to anticipate common problems so that you can develop solutions ahead of time.

 

5. Boost Your Search Engine Presence

Improving your search engine rankings before the holidays begin can help fuel your success during the holiday rush. There are many ways to help boost your search engine rankings, starting with updating older pages on your website; offering fresh information to your visitors is a good way to impress search engines and show that your website is active. Adding special features, such as a blog, can also help. If your blog content is particularly noteworthy, you can expect more traffic to head your way. Your blog content should offer something useful to readers, such as tips for using your products.

 

6. Prepare a Festive Look

A festive design for your website encourages your customers to start thinking about the holidays. You don’t need to spend excessive money on a festive look; changing some pictures and making some cosmetic changes, such as altering the font color, can help dress up your website. Your holiday look should also include banners displaying any specials you plan to run, including discount codes.

 

7. Brush Up Your Social Media Presence

Social media networks offer an excellent way to connect with individual customers, generate buzz about your products and direct traffic to your website. Don’t let your social media networks sit unused with only a link to your website; update them frequently and interact with your customers. Make sure your profile on each platform matches so that you have cohesive branding. As the holidays draw near, using social media to announce your specials will help you get more interest from potential customers.

 

8. Beef Up Your Website’s Server

If your website is unable to handle massive amounts of traffic at once, a crowd of shoppers on big sales days could lead to sluggish performance or an outright crash. Major server problems are not something to be taken lightly; investing in the right server infrastructure for your expected traffic is a good way to avoid these issues. If your customer base is larger, you might need a dedicated server to keep your website afloat during the holidays. Dedicated Servers may cost more than basic shared or cloud hosting, but your website won’t be at the mercy of problems caused by other websites/users on the server.

Examining every aspect of your website before the holidays arrive can help you prepare a strategy to improve customer satisfaction and your own business success. A good website requires many things, including fast loading times, quality customer service and security. Working on these elements early can ensure that your website is ready long before your customers even start to think about tackling their holiday shopping lists with your business.

 

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Written by David Maurer on October 30th, 2018

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