Whether you own an eCommerce website or a basic service online, the inevitable holiday rush is just around the corner. When it comes to seasonal traffic, most website owners think of holiday shoppers, but every industry has a spike as users search for products they want to buy for themselves or their loved ones. Poor planning is devastating for revenues, so here are some ways you can prepare your website for the traffic rush.
1. Analyze Your Data From Past Holidays.
Your past says a lot about what you can expect in the future. Hopefully, you've stored some analytical data that you can review. Identify the pages commonly visited by either search or direct traffic. What products are users most interested in? What pages do they engage in the most? What products are they most likely to buy after they read your content?
With this type of analytical data, you can then optimize your site to upsell popular products and services. Any blog articles can be used to drive traffic to specific product and service pages.
2. Prepare Your Ad Campaigns.
Christmas is a competitive time, so your budget should be higher for ad campaigns. The good news is that it's the most rewarding time, so higher budgets will result in higher revenue. Your campaigns should be geared towards holiday shoppers. You can still sell the same products, but any sales content should drive holiday sales. Consider using discounts and promotional tools to drive visitors to your website.
3. Test Your Website.
Have you tested your website under high-volume traffic conditions? It's better to know that your servers need upgrades now rather than find out later when they buckle from poor resources. Several vendors offer services that provide emulation tools that test a website with specific traffic loads. You can use your analytical data to identify the amount of concurrent users you could see during the holiday season. Use the emulation tools to then synthesize the traffic rush and review server performance.
4. Read Official Search Engine Documentation for Optimization.
SEO experts will tell you different theories and solutions for your optimization efforts. If you don't have someone handling your SEO, the next best solution is to read official documentation and guides from the two major search engines, Bing and Google. Both have similar guidelines, so understanding one of them will help you understand the other.
SEO is a long-term effort, so what you do today can help you tomorrow and throughout the entire year. Optimizing your content and your code for search engines helps them better understand your target audience.
5. Start Content Marketing.
Content marketing brings your products and services in front of visitors by leveraging blogs and other site platforms. Content marketing is a huge effort that some website owners lump into one large SEO package. It's a different style of marketing, and you should have a separate strategy to ensure its success.
Every marketing expert has a different strategy for content marketing, but you can make a basic effort yourself. Contact bloggers and ask them if they will review your product. They can then write content about your product and post it to their sites.
You can also use industry specific sites that allow you to post content. You post authoritative content on their site in exchange for exposure. Content sites gain more search engine traffic, and you get more exposure for your services.
6. Move Your Site to the Cloud.
If you haven't moved your website to the cloud, you're missing out on performance advantages. The cloud offers much more bandwidth and scalability than standard, traditional hosting.
ServerPoint offers cloud hosting VPS and dedicated servers, so you can get the most for your hosting budget. We provide you with hosting from several different data centers, meaning that your site is served from the closest geographic location to the user. Although data transfers at the speed of light, when transferred from closer proximity to the user, the data loads much faster than from a server across the globe.
7. Increase Payment Method Options.
PayPal isn't for everyone. Most users have standard credit cards. You should offer several payment method options to avoid losing customer due to lack of service. Most companies take credit cards, debit cards, and payment processing options such as PayPal or Dwolla. Offer as many payment methods as you can for the sake of revenue.
8. Freeze Changes to the Site.
Never deploy major changes during the holiday season unless it's absolutely necessary. Major changes can have bugs. And bugs, even minor ones, can cause severe revenue loss. It's better to deploy major changes during slow seasons, so you can flush out the bugs and fix them before your busy season.
If it's absolutely necessary, deploy fixes and additions only after thorough testing. It's imperative that you find bugs before your customers find them.
9. Make Your Site Responsive for Mobile.
More shoppers use mobile devices than desktops to browse and find products. If your site isn't responsive for mobile devices, you've already cut out a large majority of your potential customers. Responsive coding can be added to your existing design, but again, you don't want to deploy a new design right before the holidays.
It's too late to get an app developed now, but it's an option for the next year. An app puts your brand directly on the user's home screen, giving your products more exposure.
10. Beef Up Product and Support.
It goes without saying that you lose money if you don't have enough products to cover sales. Users won't return to your site if they order something for the holidays and they can't get it until you stock up with new inventory.
With additional customers and traffic, you also need more support. You can hire a part-time person to answer customer emails and phone calls. Just make sure that your response time is quick and your customer support is top-notch during sales seasons.
Armed with the above information, you can prepare your website for the busy holiday season. And in doing so, you will be able to serve more customers, and as a result, increase sales.
If you have any questions, or need help with your website hosting, don't hesitate to contact us at ServerPoint. Our friendly staff is here to answer any question and help you in any way we can!