How to Prepare Your Ecommerce Site for Holidays

One of the best ways to ensure your business website capitalizes on holiday sales is to take extra care to prep your website before the holiday season is upon you. Not sure what a holiday website prep entails? Simple, just follow these five easy steps.

Step #1 – Holiday Search Engine Optimization

Assuming your search engine optimization is effective and running smoothly, website holiday preparation involves creating a separate search engine optimization strategy for the holidays. Spend some time researching the keywords and keyword phrases your customers might use during the holiday season to find your information. Optimize your site and new holiday content for these holiday keywords and keyword phrases. Add the required HTML coding and create a strategy to build incoming links for this seasonal strategy.

Step #2 – Make your website more user friendly

Broken links, graphics that take a day and a half to upload, and difficult navigation are all ways to lose a potential holiday customer. Make your website experience as positive as possible for your visitors. Give them every reason to want to stay on your site. Give them every reason to recommend your website and to come back often. This includes making your site searchable, enhancing navigation, adding holiday graphics and products or services, and offering a wealth of valuable content.

Step #3 – Is your server up to speed?

Are your website, software, and server, prepared for a rush of traffic and transactions?  Find out how much traffic your website and supporting software can support and make sure it’s more than enough to cover you during those peak buying times. Additionally, take some time to back up your site just in case it crashes. You’ll be glad you did.

Step #4 – Protect your customers

In addition to making sure your policies, procedures and privacy statements are easy to find and up to date, make sure your customers’ transactions are secure and protected. Update your SSL and only participate with vendors who do the same. Identity theft is scary and customers will be more likely to purchase from you if they know they’re protected.

Step #5 – Is your shopping cart functioning optimally?

Spend some time running through test transactions so you see what your customers see. How can you improve the user experience and make shopping on your site, and paying for products or services, as easy and enjoyable as possible?  One of the most common causes of lost sales are abandoned shopping carts. If you need to get some new shopping cart software or tweak the process, do it now before the holidays hit.

The holidays are an optimal time to boost annual sales and to capitalize on an increase in website traffic. Making sure your website is ready for the influx of visitors and sales is the best first step you can take. Come December, you’ll be glad you took the time to perfect your customer experience and website now.

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