The holiday season is quickly approaching, and with it comes the shopping season. If you have e-commerce on your business’ page, here are the necessary website updates you need to make before that holiday rush hits. And if you don’t sell anything on your site, skip to steps 5–8, and take this as a good opportunity to freshen up!
1.Do a Checkout Checkup
When was the last time you took a good look at the checkout process a customer has to go through on your site? Abandoned shopping carts are the last thing you want from your customers this holiday season! For ecom business, the check out page is the most important website update to make!
Can your customers easily:
- add items to their cart?
- change the amount of ordered items in the cart (if relevant)?
- find the cart again after s/he has left it?
- see the total amount that will be charged?
Eliminate as much friction as possible in the checkout process. Don’t make your customers enter their information over and over again, and don’t ask for more information than is necessary. Every little barrier you put up gives them a reason to leave before they pay.
2. Run a Test
Actually testing your shopping cart is slightly more annoying, because it probably requires that you create a coupon code to make the whole transaction free. But you want to go through the entire checkout process, including clicking that “Submit” button. You can only learn so much from adding things to your shopping cart and then taking them out.
Complete a whole transaction, and try to do weird things. Try to ship the product to a different person than the billing address. Try to calculate shipping overseas. If you’ll be offering a coupon code, try to apply it and make sure it’s applying to the right item. Pretend like you’ve never seen your site before. If you can still complete these maneuvers, your cart is set.
3.Check with Your Credit Card Processor
Before the holiday rush is a great time to look into how much you’re being charged and whether or not you can get a better deal out of your processor. Odds are you don’t look at these numbers very often, but you’ll never get a better deal unless you ask.
Get on the phone with the manager of your account, or with their client retention department, and see what they can do for you. Are most of your customers using Visa cards? Maybe the processor can cut you a deal on those transactions. Even a small percentage adjustment can make a big difference by the time the shopping season is over!
In all likelihood, this will be the biggest mobile shopping season yet. Is your website ready? If your website’s shopping experience isn’t working for mobile, consider hiring a developer to build a separate mobile website for you. You know your customer base better than anyone. If you think most of your customers will be shopping on mobile devices, then this investment will be worth it.
5. Get Your Holiday Content Ready
Plan your entire holiday calendar, including content and offers, before Thanksgiving hits. In addition to your regular content calendar, ask yourself the following questions:
- When are you offering sales or promotions (start dates and end dates)?
- How are you letting people know about these special events?
- Do you have any reminders you need to send to customers before the end of the year?
You don’t have to write all the emails or blog posts yet, but get the dates on the calendar, or else the whole season will pass you by. Think of this as a proactive website updates can really pay off when you find yourself too busy later!
6. Test Your Links
Have you ever been clicked on a dead link when you had been really excited about where that link was going to take you? There’s nothing more frustrating to a web user. Test your site for broken links using a free tool like Dead Link Checker or Broken Link Check. It will take you less than 10 minutes to clean up, and it could save your customer from a real headache.
7. Spruce Up Your SEO
Use Google Analytics to find out what words people are using to find you, and then make sure you have optimized for those keywords on your site. This is a great time of year to do a general SEO checkup and make sure your site is attracting as many customers as possible.
Consider creating a holiday-specific landing page to capture people who are searching for holiday gift ideas in your area. If you’re going to go this route, make sure to create this page now to give the search engines plenty of time to index the page before the shopping crunch comes.
8. Speed It Up
Believe it or not, page abandonment increases as soon as a website doesn’t load immediately. Test your website’s load times with tools like Pingdom or WebPageTest. (Don’t trust the load times on your own computer because your computer probably already has the pages and media cached.)
Don’t hope that your customers will wait patiently through long wait times. Find ways to speed up your site by making use of browser caching and contacting your web host or the designer of your site.
Take away all the reasons to leave your site, add some great reasons to stick around, and you’ll have a happy holiday season.
Looking for more help with your small business website?
- Website Tips for Beginners
- Optimize Your Website for More Sales
- Tips For What To Say on Your Small Business Website