Holiday Planning? Start Now

Filed in SEO, Small Biz Marketing, Web Design, Web Site Content by Matt McGee on September 12, 2006 0 Comments

holiday bellsYou’re still exhausted from “Back to School”, Halloween is a month-and-a-half away, and Thanksgiving isn’t even on your personal horizon. But if you’re doing business on the web, now is the time to start thinking about Christmas and the accompanying winter holidays. Yeah, I know … “Hey McGee, it’s still 90 degrees outside. You’re crazy if you think I’m gonna worry about Christmas now.”

Exactly. Your competition might be thinking that way, too. So that’s your cue to get out in front and start working now. Since I’m here to help, try these 9 Hints to Start Your Holiday Web Site Planning….

1) The most obvious one: Make sure your web site is optimized for appropriate keywords that shoppers might use to find your widgets. I would include both your regular keywords in this, as well as any special holiday-themed keywords that would be relevant to your site and products. Keep in mind: For the next few months, the number of online shoppers will rise dramatically, and they’ll likely be using all kinds of keywords and keyword combinations you haven’t thought of yet. Start thinking about them now!

2) If it’s appropriate, update your site with a holiday theme. Think of it as “mood marketing,” or something along those lines. Let those holiday shoppers know that they’re welcome and you’re ready for them. Bonus Tip: Probably best to do this one closer to the holidays — sometime after Halloween would work.

3) Update your site content with information that holiday shoppers will want. Your generic home page text can be replaced with more specific material for shoppers, but make sure to still use keyword-rich copy that search engine spiders like. Take that keyword research you did in #1 above, and make sure you have quality landing pages for all of the holiday-specific words and phrases you want to target.

4) Give shoppers what they want as soon as they arrive on your site. Feature gift ideas prominently on your home page. Provide shipping information — such as costs and delivery times — right away. Let shoppers know what your return/refund policy is. Answer their questions before they have to ask!

5) Speaking of shipping … be as detailed as you can about shipping deadlines. Last-minute shoppers will need to know if it’s too late to get your widget underneath their tree. And, of course, remember that Christmas isn’t the only holiday being celebrated in December.

6) Holiday shoppers usually have a budget in mind. “I need a gift for my nephew and I don’t want to spend more than $25.” Have a page on your site for “Gifts under $25”, another for “Gifts under $50”, and so forth.

7) Gift cards have been a hot buy for several years now. If you can offer a gift card to shoppers, it’ll probably be your most popular seller, or one of them.

8) Also popular are Wish Lists. Sure, it’s better to give than to receive, but we all like shopping for ourselves! Wish lists let shoppers make and save a list of items they’d like to have someone else buy. This is a nice addition to your site if you have the budget to add it. Bonus Tip: Make it easy for shoppers to share their wish lists with friends (via email, an easy-to-share URL, etc.).

9) If your holiday plans require upgrades to your web site, let your web developer know as soon as possible. This is a busy time in webdev shops, and they may have a hard time completing your upgrades if you wait until the last minute!

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