How to Prepare Your Sites for the Holiday Shopping Season

The holiday season is always synonymous with a shopping spree. As the holiday season approaches, businesses will start to prepare their store and products to accommodate the increasing demand and store visits.


Since online shopping has become more and more popular, this preparation process also applies to eCommerce websites. If your business is not equipped with a well-prepared and reliable website, you are at risk of losing many potential transactions that might not be coming back. 

In this article, we will look at several aspects of your website that need to be improved to prepare it for the holiday shopping season. 


1. Upgrade Your Server

To deal with heavier traffic, your website should be supported with an upgraded platform. A better hosting plan usually offers a larger storage size, more bandwidth, and more stable uptime. These factors play an important role in maintaining your website performance during the holiday season.

 

Start discussing your options with your hosting provider on how to upgrade your website server. Depending on their policy, you can either temporarily move your website to a bigger server or upgrade to other services such as VPS or cloud hosting.  

There are many options depending on your hosting provider. If you are looking for good VPS hosting, Hostinger can be a good choice for you. It offers affordable pricing plans with various features to improve your websites, such as dedicated IP addresses, SSD disk drives, and IPv6 support.


2. Audit Website Performance

Auditing website performance includes several tasks such as checking third-party plugins and tools, checking multimedia file size, and changing your DNS settings. These steps are required to improve your website’s speed and performance.


Generally speaking, the faster your website loads its content, the better the user experience it can offer. According to a Senior Google Analyst, online stores should be able to load in less than two seconds to avoid losing customers.

Several tools can help you measure your website performance, including Google PageSpeed Insights and Pingdom Speed Test. These tools will score your website performance based on several factors including render-blocking codes and page size.


3. Conduct a Load Testing

Preparing your website for the holiday shopping season means that it should be able to handle higher traffic. To know if your website is ready for heavy traffic, load testing would be needed. Load testing exposes a system to higher demand and traffic to measure its performance.


During load testing, make sure that your website is not crashing when put under heavy use. If your website crashes under the heavy traffic of the holiday shopping season, you will lose a lot of potential customers. This will not only affect your holiday season transactions but will potentially harm your brand in the long run. 

Remember to conduct a test that resembles the real-world scenario. If your traffic normally comes from many different countries, you should not conduct a test that only includes local traffics since you wouldn’t know how your website will truly perform.


4. Ensure a Seamless UX

UX or user experience should be the cornerstone of every aspect of your website. When you decide to use a certain color palette, place a menu in a certain position, or include a widget on your website, it all should be done to improve the user experience.

To prepare for the holiday season, make sure that your website has a seamless UX. Check how efficient it is for customers to complete their entire shopping experience. Starting from how they find your product to their checkout and payment process, every process should be as easy as possible.

If you find that your users require too many clicks to find a product, you should reconsider your website structure. Also, don’t place important buttons and menus such as call-to-action and check-out buttons in an obscured position.


5. Focus on Website Security

Website security works in the background and is rarely noticed by your users. However, it is equally if not more important than other factors on your website. ECommerce websites that involve a lot of monetary transactions require robust and reliable security.

To make your website more secure during the shopping spree of the holiday season, you need to be aware of various cyberattacks that might target your website. First, there is Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks that causes server overload using malicious traffic.

Your website that might contain sensitive information of your customers is also at risk of being breached and misused by hackers. To fight these cyber attacks, there are several essential actions you can take, including:


  • Keep software and plugins up-to-date
  • Add an SSL certificate
  • Use a secure web hosting service
  • Backup your website data regularly
  • Apply for a web application firewall.

6. Set Up Caching

Website caching is a process that helps your website load faster. As mentioned before, a fast-loading website has more chances to retain customers and gain more profit through sales. 

By setting up caching, your web server will be able to skip numerous processes it normally goes through when responding to a browser request. This will greatly reduce load time because it doesn’t have to retrieve and generate your content over and over again.

Several popular tools for website caching, including Varnish, Squid, and WP Rocket if you are using WordPress. Aside from enabling caching, Varnish can also help you fight DDoS attacks.


7. Optimize for Mobile

Your users will not only access your website through a desktop browser. In fact, according to Statcounter, 54,25% of worldwide users access websites through their mobile devices. This number is expected to continue growing considering how mobile technology keeps on improving.

 

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That is why optimizing your site for mobile devices is more important than ever. When a website fails to give the best experience for users regardless of their device, it will have a higher bounce rate and affect the brand reputation negatively.


Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test is one of the tools that can help you to know if your website is optimized for mobile devices.


8. Adjust the Website Content

Since you are preparing for the holiday shopping season, your website content should also follow the holiday theme to stay relevant. When you serve topical and relevant content, your audience will be more likely to click it and visit your website.

 

A variety of content can be made to accommodate your marketing objectives. Ranging from useful and informative blog posts related to the holiday event to video content to celebrate along with your audience.

 It is also important to apply the holiday-related keywords on your content and products to increase your chance to place higher in the SERPs.


Conclusion

As the holiday season approaches, business needs to prepare their store and their products to accommodate the increasing demand. This also applies to online businesses since nowadays, online shopping has become more popular.


In this article, we have learned several aspects that you need to consider when preparing your sites for the holiday shopping season. They include:

  • Upgrading your server
  • Auditing your website performance
  • Conduct a load testing
  • Ensure a seamless UX
  • Improve your website security
  • Set up caching
  • Optimize your website for mobile
  • Adjust your website content 

After preparing these factors, your website should be ready to handle more traffic during the holiday season and get more conversion for your website.

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