Since we have a little bit of time left before the holiday shopping season gets into gear, it’s a good time to go over your website to ensure that you’re prepared for the holidays. You want your prospective customers to spend as much time as they can browsing your site, so here are some checkup ideas that you can do now in preparation for the shopping frenzy.
The slower the speed, the less likely shoppers will stick around to browse your catalog. No matter where you host your site, your shop should be able to handle an uptick in shoppers for the holidays. That might mean that you have to rethink your hosting plan. Even the most professional sites can go down during a surge in traffic, so make sure that your plan is able to handle a lot of visitors.
If you host on sites like Shopify, you don’t have to worry about the traffic level; they are equipped to handle it for you, but you do need to make sure that your website speed is healthy.
Sites like GTMetrix let you check your performance and speed by scanning the site. https://gtmetrix.com/
Another point to consider before the holidays: back up your site to your hard drive in the unlikely event that something happens to the host during the holidays. You should always back up your site anyway, but it’s really important at this point during the year.
Those marketing people in the know anticipate that the 2022 shopping season will blow away all of the previous years’ shopping statistics. Of those new shoppers, at least 40% will be coming in from their phones. This includes both Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and most likely Small Business Saturday. There are billions of dollars’ worth of reasons to make sure your site is mobile friendly.
If your site is on Indiemade, Etsy, Shopify or any of the other big players, then you can be assured that the mobile optimization has already been done for you. If you are not on a big player, here are the steps you need to improve your mobile performance.:
- Make sure you are using a responsive theme (these use percentages rather than hard pixel counts)
- Make sure your site speed is fast
- Get rid of pop-ups on your site
- Keep the design simple
- Use larger fonts
- Make the checkout buttons bigger
- Do not use Flash or other animations that can cover a phone screen – that includes web banners
You want your visitors to explore your website, so make navigation simple and easy for them. The catalog tree should spell everything out, or have category photos. You need to divide your categories in a logical manner.
All of your navigation texts or buttons should be clickable, and every image needs an ALT text for both SEO and for visually impaired individuals.
Make sure your search engine works on your site, and that is returns the expected results. Some search engine add-ons are very broad and return a large selection of unwanted results.
All of your section titles should be pertinent.
The most important part of the checkout process is that the payment is secure. You will have secure checkout with any of the big ecommerce sites like Shopify, Etsy or Indiemade, but if you have built your own site, you may need to ensure that your payment processor and the checkout coding is secure.
If possible, add more than one checkout spot on a page. Places to add checkout buttons include at the top, and towards the bottom of the page description.
If you can, simplify the checkout process by reducing fields for the customer to fill out. Some payment sites allow for one button checkout like Paypal or Amazon. When you use these for payment processors, you can just add the buttons and the customer goes directly to their payment page.
You can add a guest checkout option where people do not have to create an account to shop from you. This is a good option, but it also means that the customer will have to fill out the information again if they come back to buy more. They still have to fill out the shipping information.
After you make improvements to your site, test it and test it again. Make sure that everything is working.
Once you have your site ready for extra traffic, get your marketing plan together, so you can drive more sales to your new website.