12 Tips to Improve Your Site for the Holidays

Tips to Improve Your Site

Your website is your business’s online home. During the holidays, your traffic is likely to go up as consumers complete their shopping and other end-of-year business. Unfortunately, errors in your site can make a negative impression on visitors. And many will simply leave and go to your competitors’ sites instead.

Common Website Errors:

  • Images not loading
  • 404 not found errors
  • Contact form not working
  • Slow load times
  • Broken redirects

So fixing these issues should be your top priority this season. Here are some tips to optimize your site for all that holiday business.

Test Your Site

Initiating the website enhancement journey necessitates a comprehensive evaluation. Begin with the basics: open your site in multiple browsers and devices to ensure consistent performance.

Regularly engage with clickable links, inspect visual elements like photos, and interact with features such as dropdown menus or interactive widgets.

Remember, it’s not just about function; the user experience should be smooth and intuitive, making visitors feel confident in your site’s professionalism and reliability.

SEO consultant Bill Hartzer said in an email interview with Small Business Trends, “You can view the pages on your site, make sure that all of the images load, there aren’t any errors like (404 not found errors), and that your contact form works.”

10 tips to improve your site for the holidays

Make Sure It Loads Quickly

While your website might be brimming with intriguing content and impressive graphics, its value diminishes if it’s sluggish.

Today’s internet users expect immediate results; delay can mean abandonment. As you navigate, pay close attention to load times for various elements.

Consider implementing tools that gauge website speed. If a page lags, it might be time to reevaluate its content or seek expert guidance on performance enhancement.

Test the Contact Form

Communication is paramount in business, and your contact form serves as a direct bridge between you and potential customers.

Hartzer emphasizes that system updates or modifications to plugins could inadvertently disrupt this communication channel.

Consequently, periodic testing is non-negotiable. By sending test messages, you’re proactively ensuring that every customer inquiry reaches you, preserving potential business opportunities.

10 tips to improve your site for the holidays

Look for Technical Errors

In some cases, you may not notice every error just by visiting. But there are tools to help you weed out these technical issues.  You can use a web crawler such as:

  • Screaming Frog SEO Spider
  • Siteliner
  • Sitebulb
  • OnCrawl
  • Google Search Console
  • Bing Webmaster Tools

Below is a comparison table highlighting essential tools and their specific functions for optimizing your website during the holiday rush:

Screaming Frog SEO SpiderCrawls website for errors, redirects, etc.Free/Paid
SitelinerIdentifies duplicate content & broken linksFree/Paid
SitebulbComprehensive website auditing toolPaid
OnCrawlTechnical SEO platformPaid
Google Search ConsoleTracks website's presence on Google, highlights issuesFree
Bing Webmaster ToolsMonitors site's performance on BingFree

Optimize Images

Graphics and visuals undoubtedly enrich your website, but there’s a catch: oversized images can decelerate loading times.

It’s common for websites to suffer from this oversight, as high-resolution images often consume significant bandwidth. To counteract this, it’s essential to adjust or compress images to optimal dimensions.

Utilizing image optimization tools can streamline this process, ensuring visuals enhance, not hinder, user experience.

Add Google Analytics

Empower your business decision-making with data-driven insights through Google Analytics. By integrating this tool, you’re granted access to detailed user engagement metrics—tracking page visits, pinpointing sought-after content, and analyzing search behavior.

Moreover, it can spotlight red flags, like specific pages with alarmingly high bounce rates, suggesting areas needing refinement. Integration is straightforward: complete the no-cost registration and incorporate the provided code into your site’s backend.

Back It Up

The festive season, while brimming with business opportunities, also sees a surge in cyber threats. Savvy hackers capitalize on increased digital activity, aiming to compromise your assets.

To safeguard against potential breaches or technical malfunctions, regularly backing up your site is imperative. By doing so, you ensure rapid recovery, minimizing downtime and preserving your business’s digital reputation.

Update the Plugins

Your website’s plugins and software are its operational backbone, but they’re not set-and-forget elements. Regular updates not only introduce new features but also rectify known vulnerabilities.

By proactively keeping your plugins current, you’re reinforcing your website’s defenses against cyberattacks. Particularly during peak seasons like the holidays, where cyber threats escalate, ensuring your site remains impenetrable becomes even more critical.

Check Your Domain

Some small businesses focus so much on the content of their website, but forget about the domain. Luckily, there are ways to ensure that your domain is set up to work on all browsers and even control emails.

Hartzer says, “I recommend running a free DNP Score on your domain name, which will alert you to any issues with how you have your domain name set up. For example, do you have DMARC, DKIM, and SPF records set up? Those will help you send/receive email and help make sure that your emails actually go to the recipients’ inboxes. That’s especially important if you have an email newsletter that you send out. And DNSSEC should be enabled on your domain name, as well. The busy season isn’t the time to lose your domain name (well, anytime isn’t a good time!). But if you lose your domain name, your website goes down.”

Best for Domain Health Checks:

  • DKIM
  • SPF records

Tips for Improving Your Site for the Holidays

Don’t Make Dramatic Changes

If you’re eager to make big changes to your site, the holiday season is actually not the time for that. Big changes often come with complications. So it’s best to save these for a less busy time and instead focus on fixing small problems.

Hartzer explains, “Any major changes to the design or functionality could have more negative effects than positive ones. I recommend waiting until the holiday season is over to start thinking about any major changes.”

Create Holiday-Specific Landing Pages

Tailor your website for the holiday season by designing festive landing pages. These pages can feature holiday-specific promotions, products, or themes. Ensure they are optimized for SEO to attract more traffic.

These landing pages can serve as a focal point for your holiday marketing campaigns, directing customers to the best deals and seasonal products.

Strengthen Customer Support Channels

With the influx of holiday shoppers, it’s vital to bolster your customer support. Ensure that your contact information is easily accessible and consider adding a live chat feature for immediate assistance. Prepare your support team to handle increased inquiries and provide quick, helpful responses.

This level of customer service can significantly enhance the shopping experience and potentially increase sales.

Ways to Optimize Website Performance

  • Resize or compress photos
  • Add Google Analytics
  • Regularly backup your site
  • Update plugins and website software
  • Check your domain and its setup

Image: Depositphotos.com

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Annie Pilon Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends and has been a member of the team for 12 years. Annie covers feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. She has a bachelor’s degree from Columbia College Chicago in Journalism and Marketing Communications.