The holiday season is right around the corner, and you’re already preparing for a bumper year. In a year where online sales have risen by 46% you’re about to take advantage of the biggest year ever. But your website has to be ready for all the shoppers. Not only do you need to make sure that you are still providing what Google wants from your website, you need to appeal to shoppers.
This guide is going to show you some of the ways that you can prepare your website for the holiday season ahead.
Don’t Make Any Major Changes To Functionality
If you’re already reading this, it’s too late to make any major changes to the way your site works. When people shop they want to be able to buy what they want and get out. Angering new and existing customers with bugs and strange interfaces is not the way to take advantage of the holiday season.
The time to test new systems is during the quieter periods of the year. Make major changes now and you risk causing severe damage to your holiday prospects.
Is Your Server Flexible Enough To Handle A Spike In Traffic?
Many websites gain huge amounts of traffic every single year during the holidays. They need the extra bandwidth to be able to support the sudden influx of people. For the rest of the year, they downsize because they don’t need the extra resources.
Working with a web host that allows you to make changes this quickly is essential. You should check with your host to make sure that the package you’re on is instantly scalable. And, you need to make sure that’s a change that happens autonomously. Downtime is unacceptable during the peak shopping season.
Strengthen Your Security
The main priority for online shoppers these days is online security. They want to know that they can shop online without putting their credit card details at risk. Strengthen your security by making sure that you’re using the latest encryption technology.
Show that you have an SSL certificate for your website and make sure that whenever your site is in the browser bar it has the green padlock next to it. This is the universal sign that a site has the highest level of security.
Make Sure You Up Your Online Staff (If Necessary)
It’s common practice to provide a live chat feature during busy periods to help new customers find their way around. Nothing pushes away shoppers like having to wait in a long queue to speak to someone. Consider hiring some extra staff to help you out with this. And make sure you do it well in advance so you can teach them all about how your company works.
This job can easily be outsourced online these days. You don’t have to hire a full-time employee in the real world to fulfill your customer support needs.
Optimize Your New Festive Theme
The chances are you already have some sort of festive theme that’s waiting and ready to go. The fatal error some e-commerce websites make is that their new theme is large and takes a long time to load. Your site should take no longer than three seconds to load.
Remember that some people will be shopping on mobile devices, which are less able to handle heavy themes. Test out your festive theme and make sure it’s compressed and optimized as much as humanly possible.
Remember Holiday Shipping Deadlines
At this time of year, everyone leaves shopping until the last minute. You need to make it clear that there’s a cut-off date for when people are guaranteed to receive their items before the big day. Unhappy customers who didn’t receive their items can cause a lot of damage to your online reputation in the long-term, even if it’s completely their fault for ordering their items too late.
This date should be front and center on your website. As the deadline draws closer you should steadily make it more prominent.
Last Word – Problems Will Happen!
The holiday season is always a difficult time of year for businesses. Unexpected events can and will happen. You can perform all the testing possible and you’ll still run into potential obstacles. Make sure you’re alert throughout the holiday season and carefully monitor traffic levels. Make yourself available to your staff and be prepared to step in when necessary.
This article was written by AJ Agrawal from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.