10 Essential Small Business Holiday Website Tips

  • Date Published
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Don’t wait for Santa to bring you holiday shoppers. Here are 10 effective strategies for letting your website do that instead.

Preparing Your Website for The 2018 Holiday Season

If you are like most business owners you started planning for the holidays season a while ago. You probably have your advertising campaign set, your holiday email campaign figured out, and set a date for decorating your store windows. But are you forgetting your online presence? Use our small business holiday website tips to provide a better online experience for your customers.

Since many small business depend on the holiday season to make it through the year, procrastinating is not an option. Even if you are a brick-and-mortar business and don’t do e-commerce, your potential consumers most likely conduct research online before they ever walk into your store. Our small business holiday website tips will help you do just that.

We predict 15% year-over-year e-commerce revenue growth this holiday season. This would represent the strongest results of the past several years. For instance, last year saw a 13% increase, while 2016 brought a 10% bump. Net Elixir

The holiday season is crucial for small businesses. Most SMBs generate around 20% of their annual sales in November and December. With shoppers finalizing their lists and checking their available credit card balances now is the time to get the ball rolling for your holidays. Here is what you need to do to prepare your small business website for the holidays.

Small Business Holiday Website Tips

1. Focus On Mobile-First

Even if they are planning to visit your brick-and-mortar store or location the vast majority of holiday shoppers will first look for you online. And in 2018 they will be using a mobile device to do so. If your business website is not based on mobile-first best practices you have a problem!

Mobile Sales Will Be 52 Percent of Total Holiday Sales in 2018 Practical Ecommerce

Take time to understand how content behaves on different devices, like tablets, smartphones, all the way to HD TVs. If you do not have a website that looks and functions awesome on all of the above you really need to do better.

2. Tune Up Your Website

Next on our small business holiday website tips is preparing your website to provide an awesome user experience! Nobody likes a slow or broken website, especially during the holidays! Here are some simple website tune-ups you should consider before the holiday rush starts in earnest:

Improve Page Speed

Page load speed is not only a Google Ranking Signal, it also affects the user experience visitors will have on your website. Load time and page speed have a big impact on your sales every day of the year, but never more so than during the crazy holiday rush.

Did you know that a single second delay could trigger a 7% drop in conversions? Depending on your total sales volume this could be a big part of your yearly revenue. Fortunately increasing page speed is a relatively quick and easy fix.

Fix Broken Links

Key on our small business holiday website tips are fixing any broken links on your site. Google really hates them, and broken links provide a bad experience for your website visitors as well. It makes your website seem less trustworthy or credible, which can be a deciding factor.

Our favorite tool for identifying and fixing broken links is Screaming Frog. You may also want to check and make sure any permanent (301) or temporary (302) redirects are pointing to the right pages by using Redirect Check or the Redirect SEO Tool from RagePank.

Get Better Web Hosting

Not all web hosting is created equal, you know! Take a look at how different website hosting options affect the speed and performance of your website. Having a cheap, shared hosting plan is never a good idea, especially during the holiday shopping season. You will lose any savings the moment a shopper abandons their shopping cart on your site or checks out your competitors instead.

If your website host is unable to handle increased web traffic over the holidays it can result in crashes, slowdowns, and in worst case scenarios an actual shutdown of your website. Not exactly the holiday shopping experience you want to provide, is it?

So upgrade your website hosting before the holiday season. Here are some top-rated WordPress hosting providers that can help you improve your site performance, and often for less money than you think.

3. Double Up On Checkout Security

As part of their “HTTPS everywhere” promotion, Google strives to make all websites more secure with the HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS), or “green bar” URL strategy. You may have noticed the green padlock symbol on e-commerce and other websites. And seeing that Google made having an SSL Certificate an absolute requirement in July of 2018 it is recommended for all business websites.

An SSL Certificate not only make sites more secure during the busy holiday shopping season, Google considers it an important search ranking signal. And better security at checkout doesn’t only benefit your customers: It also benefits you, as a single security breach can impact your business website and traffic for many holidays to come.

4. Decorate Your Website for The Holidays

Another of our small business website holiday tips is decorating your site! A fresh and inviting storefront shows that your business is active, responsive, and ready to sell. Especially new homepage designs and seasonal themes show a higher level of engagement, which enhances the user experience.

This season we’ll see a lot of animated GIFs and bold, bright colors. Eye-catching (and not distracting!) GIFs will really add a special touch to your email, and bold and bright sales offer and call-to-action buttons will help entice your customer to make a purchase. ListRank

In most cases, a top to bottom redesign of an e-commerce storefront is not necessary. Some sites, especially those with lots of information displayed on the front page, can lose traffic by shifting the location of popular menu items. Nonetheless, there are some elements that always benefit from a fresh look, especially around the holidays. These can include:

  • Graphic page headers
  • In-text pictures
  • Group photographs of team members
  • Holiday themed images of your team and location(s)
  • Personalized service messages, including automated email text
  • Holiday-themed newsletter graphics

Shifting the color theme of a site to reflect the season is another idea to consider. This can be as simple as replacing images with holiday-themed images or replacing background colors with more seasonal combination. But take it easy; you don’t want to scare potential shoppers away!

5. Create Your Holiday Content Now

Long before they actually start shopping consumers are turning to the Internet for gift ideas, check social media recommendations and research current trends. Our small business holiday website preparation tips therefore start with content creation. Here are a few ideas to help get you started:

Create content designed specifically for holiday shoppers coming to your store or business. This can include a case study of how your product made their lives better, a holiday-themed recipe that uses your ingredients, or simple holiday decorating or cooking tips.
Design visual content, such as infographics, that answer basic questions about your product or service. How-to instructions can be especially helpful.
Create a holiday version of your logo. This can be as simple as adding a pop of red color, some ornaments, or a holiday garland.

6. Focus on Popular Products and Categories

Every holiday shopping season has a must-have item or trending product category. Take a look around and see what is driving sales this holiday season. Promoting that product or category on your site can make it more appealing to customers actively looking for hot items.

In-store pick-up options will become even more popular; retailers will promote online orders being picked-up at brick and mortar locations to increase storefront foot traffic. ListRank

And don’t forget to add that hot product or category to your search marketing strategy (see below.)

7. Adjust Your SEO

Most holiday shoppers start with a Google search. If your content is buried somewhere on your site no one will ever see it, and it’ll be worthless. So give shoppers what they are looking for!

Identify holiday-specific keywords and phrases that shoppers are searching for. Keep in mind that holiday shoppers are not shopping for gifts necessarily as much as they are searching for gift ideas! But don’t simply target keywords based on data from last holiday season; it may be outdated by now. Instead, we recommend using terms that would you be searching for if the roles were reversed.

8. Update Your Catalog

The holiday shopping boom is a great time to roll out new inventory and fresh product lines. Do you have a hot holiday item or items? You can begin generating buzz for these new additions in the days and weeks leading up to the start of the holiday shopping season.

9. Create Your Coupons

If you are planning to offer coupon discounts during or after the holidays it helps to prepare them ahead of time. Be sure to add them to your e-commerce site, and select appropriate options such as the number of times they can be used and expiry dates. And don’t forget to actually promote your coupon codes through email marketing, social media, and on your business website and in your store!

10. Keep Your Customers Up-to-Date

Provide sneak previews to customers who have signed up to receive company newsletters. Send an email or two with information about upcoming seasonal sales, specials, discounts, and other perks. This is also a good time to remind people of important holiday shipping dates and other time-sensitive information that will affect purchasing decisions.

BONUS TIP: Become a hero to your frantic holiday shoppers by reminding them of the major holiday shipping deadlines for 2018!

Final Thoughts

With 20% of all business being done in a just a few frantic, critical weeks and months of the year, the holiday season is crucial for every business, even if a company does most of its business in a physical store. The holidays are right around the corner: Now is the time to plan, prepare and succeed. Our small business holiday website tips provide you with a step-by-step guide to do so.

Retailers are no longer waiting for Black Friday and Cyber Monday to kick off the holiday season. Instead, we could see promotions starting early November and continuing throughout the entire month. ListRank

We Prep Websites for The Holidays!

Here at ESPRESSO.digital, we offer a full range of web design services, including web design and development, search engine optimization, e-commerce solutions, and professional photography. Contact us to learn more about how our team can help you implement our essential small business holiday website tips and have a “green” holiday season!

Do you have anything to add to our essential small business holiday website tips? Please leave your comments below so our audience can benefit as well, and grab our feed so you don’t miss our next post! And give your audience an early Christmas present by sharing our tips with them!

Thank you! We appreciate your help to end bad business websites, one pixel at a time!

By ESPRESSO Team Highly Caffeinated Digital Creatives @ESPRESSOcreates