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Prepare Your Website for Christmas High Season in 8 Easy Steps

30 Oct 2020
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Having your business website primed to turn curiosity into conversions is imperative in the busy Christmas holiday season. Instrumental to the bottom line of many New Zealand SMBs, this time can be flat-out — likely more so than ever considering the COVID-19-related border restrictions. For others this is a quieter period in which they’d love to generate more revenue.

In any case, the time to assess your website’s health and prep it for the high season is NOW — so, here are eight easy checks to help ensure your website is gift-wrapped and ready for customers to rip into.

 

1. Is your website up to date with seasonal and social events?

Your website is your virtual shopfront and salesperson rolled into one. Bricks and mortar stores lay on the festive season regalia thicker and earlier every year. If a user visits your website, will they get the impression you’re aware of and ready for the encroaching yuletide? Or could it just as easily be mid-July?

Show your company has a personality by exuding some Christmas spirit on your website in the form of a ‘Christmas greetings’ banner on your homepage, a festive design element like a tinsel or ribbon graphic, or a cheesy image of your team wearing red hats and sipping eggnog!

Does COVID-19 need addressing?

Most proactive companies will already have a COVID-19 message present on their website, which is updated according to the present Alert Level.

Address any special Christmas period requirements regarding COVID-19 by adding these to your message so your customers are well informed.

 

2. Have you communicated your festive season hours or shipping timeframes, or both?

Competition will be at fever pitch from now through January, so users will want fast answers when shopping around and considering different providers and products. Your business hours should be readily available across your entire online presence, and if you sell online any changes to shipping timeframes should be communicated to set clear expectations.

Business hours in the lead up to and during the Christmas/New Year period should be updated on your website, your Google My Business (GMB) profile, your social business pages, and any business directories you’re listed in. You can also communicate your operating hours and shipping timeframes via a blog post (published on your website and shared via social/email) if you produce one.

Learn more about the benefits of a Google My Business listing.

 

3. Is your website user friendly? How many clicks does it take to get answers?

Try using your website as an end-user, putting yourself in their browsing shoes and looking for an answer to a specific question about one of your services or products, or even just looking for your contact details. Pro Tip: start with a Google search for a rough impression of your online visibility for the given search term (remembering your results are personalised and represent only a drop in the bucket of potential search results others might receive).

Were you present on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) and how hard did you have to think to navigate to the right page/content on your website, GMB listing or social pages? How many clicks does it take to find your contact details? Will the user become frustrated and bounce back to the SERP to try another provider instead of converting?

Any shortcomings from this real-world, seat-of-the-pants test can help you identify what needs doing to improve your User Experience (UX).

 

4. Take stock of how your website performs through the high season — make changes accordingly in the new year.

How many times have you gotten through your Christmas season and exclaimed, “we’re not doing that again!”, or “we CAN’T let that happen again!”?

When we’re forced to operate at and over capacity as a business, any flaws or issues with our websites, processes and procedures start to show through. It could be the way website orders are synced with your inventory (or the fact that they aren’t), issues with completed enquiry forms being delivered to wrong email addresses, or high volumes of outbound marketing emails going to spam.

If you take note of these weaknesses throughout the period, you can put measures in place to eradicate or mitigate them in the new year when things die down some.

 

5. How is your content? Review/improve it page-by-page.

While a website-wide content rewrite is likely out of the question considering the pressing timeframe, reviewing your website content and improving it one page at a time can drastically improve your user experience and conversion rates.

Pro Tip: Use your Google Analytics account to identify which of your website pages get the most views and would therefore stand to benefit the most from revision.

If you dedicate 30 minutes a week to this task you can have your three or four most heavily trafficked pages optimised for the user by the start of December. Work this in with check #3… Go on, hop to it!

 

6.Do you have a digital marketing strategy in place?

If you don’t have a digital marketing strategy in play, establishing and deploying one for the summer high season can help drive targeted traffic to your website from users who are more likely to convert into paying customers.

We suggest a holistic approach, covering multiple channels to put more lines in the water for broader online visibility and more bites.

Casting a wider net across various platforms and devices (i.e., search, local search, paid search, social, email, mobile, desktop, etc.) helps you access a larger audience and makes for a better catch.

 

7. Review your existing digital marketing strategy; are you monitoring results and is it working?

If you already have a digital marketing strategy trawling the internet for suitable users, are you monitoring your haul? Are you netting the wrong type of catch and are there any holes in your net?

For a digital marketing strategy to be effective you need to be engaged with it, or the provider who manages it, at least monthly. You need defined objectives (even if they’re as simple as ‘drive traffic to page X’) to help judge performance, and to be open to change when things need tweaking.

If you work with a digital marketing provider, this check is easy — just ask them how things are going! Reviewing and revising campaigns shouldn’t be viewed as reinventing the wheel; you’re merely tuning the engine for more horsepower.  

 

8. Are your online reviews and testimonials easily found and your Online Reputation Management attended to?

Reading online reviews and testimonials has become ingrained in our purchasing behaviour, so it’s important to cultivate these assets and make them visible on your website.

Check your reviews (Google, Facebook or otherwise) and look at the volume, average rating, and frequency.

If you’ve got very few, get after it and start requesting them from past, present, and future customers.  

This will also help keep fresh reviews flowing, showing would-be customers you’re relevant in the here and now.

Reply to all reviews — especially negative ones — to take care of your Online Reputation Management (ORM) and show prospective buyers that you care about your customers and will see them right if they use your services.

 

These checks are easier than you think

If you’re already spinning plates to keep up in the office, these checks don’t need to be another obstacle in your calendar. Just tackle them one at a time and if you think you’ll be too busy to action any changes this side of December 31, make notes now and plan to implement them in January.

To learn more about anything we’ve raised here, drop us a line. We can lend an ear to the issues your facing, suggest solutions, and if suitable complete a website audit for you.

Written by
Josh Casserly is one of our Digital Marketers and, as a well-travelled wordsmith, Josh combines his aptitude for engaging content with his ever-expanding digital marketing skill set.

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