5 Ways to Prep Your Website for the Holidays

Published on December 8, 2020

With holiday shopping at an all-time high this season, spending the extra time to ensure your website is fully prepared for the influx of shoppers is the gift that keeps on giving.

Over the last few years, the increase in shoppers turning to e-commerce stores or other digital retail platforms has forced companies to reimagine the ways in which they do business. During the holiday season especially, more and more consumers are choosing to spend their time browsing webpages than aisles in a physical store. Pair that with a global pandemic that has shown in-person shopping is all but necessary and you have the perfect storm for the ultimate digital shopping spree this year.

The increase in online shopping can be extremely beneficial for your business but only if your site is prepared for it. Below you will find 5 ways to prep your website for the holidays to ensure your customers, and you, have a positive experience this holiday season. And, if you need help implementing these suggestions, our team at Webfitters would be happy to help.

Check your site’s loading time
We live in a time where instant gratification is more important than having a little patience. That being said, it’s important to make sure your website is running as efficiently as possible to meet the demands of your customers.

If users can purchase a similar product or service on a competitor’s website, they won’t think twice to leave your page if it’s sluggish. Not only that, but they will be hesitant to return to your site in the future. In fact, according to Hosting Tribunal, a site that takes more than 3 seconds to loads risks a bounce rate probability of 90%. To make it worse, there is a direct correlation between the delay in page loading time and a decrease in user satisfaction.

Reconsidering the number of active plugins, adjusting oversized images, or even limiting the amount of video on your site are simple ways to improve the loading speed of your website.

Ensure your website is secure
With an increase in online shopping comes an increase in malicious cyber activity. Make sure your website, the hosting platforms you use, and apps within your site, are updated with the latest version available. This reduces the effects glitches, bug issues, or paused services like security checks or maintenance updates, can have on your website.

Additional security measures can positively impact the level of protection and confidence users have in your site. The small ‘lock’ icon to the left of your URL is an easy indicator of a secured website. Changing your admin passwords regularly is another way you can play an active part in your website’s security. Using a hard-to-crack password can prevent criminal overhauls of your entire site.

There is nothing worse than customers getting scammed during the holiday season, especially if it could have been prevented by a simple update to your website. Ensuring your website is secure can prevent a catastrophe for your business and loss of customer loyalty.

Optimize your site for mobile users
The appearance and speed of your website for people using mobile phones can potentially make or break a transaction. Although studies show users are willing to wait a few more seconds for a mobile webpage to load, it is still important to make sure your website is capable of operating as fast as possible.

Just because the desktop version of a website looks flawless does not necessarily mean it appears that way on a smart phone or other, non-desktop version. A clean transition from desktop to mobile phone is imperative for retaining customers that prefer to shop on-the-go.

Images, texts, decorative elements, or other features on your site can become distorted or start to overlap because of the formatting on smaller screens. Double-checking the appearance and layout of your site, especially after changes have been made, will ensure a consistent look throughout both versions of your website.

Showcase holiday specials on the homepage
Nothing quite catches the eye like a promotion or discount that greets you the moment the home page loads. If you search any major retailer right now, the first thing you will see is an offer for some sort of holiday deal.

Consider it a missed opportunity if you don’t utilize the holiday season to promote your products and services- it is exactly what customers are looking for this time of the year!

So, unashamedly display that flashy promotion of yours or that jaw-dropping special smack-dab in the middle of the page. Even consider creating a goal funnel on your analytic platform to track how many users view it! Utilizing the home page as a banner for holiday savings will draw more customers in and lead to purchases they didn’t even think they needed.

Confirm your payment system is trustworthy
Unless you are a giant corporation or sell a product so unique they will be hard-pressed to find anything similar, if your customer’s credit card information gets stolen, you can kiss any chance of a secondary transition good-bye. Once you lose the trust of your customer, it is extremely hard to earn it back. Prevent that from happening by ensuring your payment system is trustworthy and secure.

To do that, only ask for information directly related to the transaction. Gathering additional information can put your customers at risk should your payment system be compromised. Use industry recognized and reliable payment platforms on your website, and make sure they are updated as regularly as possible. Offer a customer account system and encourage customers to set up a login and strong password.

Any negative experience with a checkout can impact your credibility and risk customers flocking to other e-commerce stores. Customers who feel confident in the security of their financial information will be more likely to return to your website for future shopping sessions.

And, if you are still utilizing Magento 1 as your e-commerce platform, think again.

These 5 steps will help you provide sound security, superior speed, and sweet, sweet specials for your customers. Neglecting a step could have disastrous effects should your website crash or become hacked by cyber criminals! To protect your customer’s information, increase their satisfaction with your website, and retain your business’s integrity, it is critical to recognize and establish these changes, so you are best prepared for the holiday shopping season. A positive experience with your online store will encourage future purchases and customer loyalty, which is the best kind of gift business owners can receive during this time of the year.

Contact Webfitters today to see how our team can help best prepare your website for this year’s holiday season.