We decorate our homes for the holidays. We decorate our offices and stores, too. But the question is: are you also decorating your online place of business, i.e., your website?
You may have noticed that we’re already decorated here for the Christmas holidays. Tim Grahl, the Small Business Trends webmaster, put a Santa cap on the blue globe in the Small Business Trends logo:
Every year we have tried to do something to acknowledge the Christmas season. In past years we’ve put holiday images in posts. We’ve added “Christmas lights” along the top of the site or sidebar. We’ve even created special holiday messages and holiday-themed articles.
But this year I decided to take a page out of Google’s book and actually decorate the logo. Google does this for major (and not so major) holidays each year. Here are two Google Christmas logos from years past:
Yahoo also has a history of decorating its logo. Here is a Yahoo Christmas logo from 2006:
Yet I had to ask myself: with all the projects planned for this site, why did I feel compelled to decorate the website, of all things? One answer to this question comes from no less an authority than Jakob Nielsen, the website usability guru. On the topic of decorating websites for holidays, Nielsen notes:
There are two main reasons for websites to recognize holidays and special events, and both reasons fall under the same general category: To respect users as human beings, rather than simply as “eyeballs” or a source of e-commerce transactions. Commemorating special events is a way for websites to connect to users and be seen as welcoming environments, rather than places focused solely on money grubbing.
More specifically, the first reason for a website to commemorate a holiday or special occasion is to appear current and up-to-date. Major holidays and special events are important to users, and they constantly see these special days reflected in the physical dÃ©cor of their surroundings. A website that doesn’t reflect what’s currently topical and important to users will feel out of touch. Worse, it might feel stale, and users might think it’s outdated in other respects as well. * * *
The second reason for a website to feature holiday or event decorations is to increase joy of use. Even simple ornamentations like a Christmas wreath, a Valentine’s heart, or a soccer ball can create a small moment of happiness for users as they’re reminded of the greater happiness the holiday or special occasion brings. A user might be engaged in the dreary task of researching “enterprise solutions,” for example, and be reminded that it’s Christmas and a happy time of year.
Yes, anything to put a smile on our faces ….
So, back to the question I started with: have you decorated your online place of business for the holidays (Christmas or any seasonal theme)?
If so, leave a comment below with your website URL. Or just point us toward any site that’s been decorated.
I will then add the URLs to this post. a list of decorated websites over here.
That way we can all visit and check out the holiday decorations. It will be like driving around the neighborhood looking at holiday displays. But instead of driving we’ll surf around websites.
PS: If you haven’t decorated yet but are thinking about it, I found a forum post featuring a designer who is offering to decorate your logo for the holidays for $5 to $10 — a bargain. I don’t know anything about the designer, but the forum post has a sample of his work, which looks pretty good, and even a recommendation from a satisfied customer. At that price it should be a no-brainer.