Prepare your website for the holidays
With Halloween being our favorite holiday it's sometimes hard for us to think of the coming holidays. Our clients though may not have the same love for our love of chocolate and want to work on gaining conversions on their website for the holiday season. Whether you are a restaurant, industrial, or a retail shop the holidays are unique for each one. The holiday's present each company with some unique opportunities to build on their existing and new customer relationships.
We normally don't start off talking about Information Technology but when the holiday season comes this is one area that you need to make certain your system is prepared for. Having a system that can scale and grow with your business and the demands of holidays, special events, and regular use is critical to providing an exceptional customer experience.
If you have a retail store you know all too well that you need to prepare your store to get people in the mood to make purchases. Your website and online experiences are no different. You need to adjust your site to entice people to purchase. This doesn't mean to make your entire site the colors of the current festive holiday. What we're saying is evaluate your site, make adjustments based on facts (e.g. analytics and customer feedback), and make the changes that truly make good business sense.
When it comes to providing customers with that exceptional customer experience the performance of your web pages is critical. To have a fast loading site every detail needs to be looked at. This being the size of the images used, the bandwidth (speed) of your connection, and minified (compressed) files.
A surefire way of looking at your page performance is to use tools like Google's PageSpeed at https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/. This will give you a great indication of where you are and where you might be able to improve. Not every recommendation we recommend doing but having a starting point is never a bad thing.
All too often we find sites that have not been updated for years. Information should never be left outdated. Even if the information hasn't changed the internet itself does change. Changing the way, the information is displayed, adding a call to action, and making pages specific to what you are selling can help lead to more sales.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
If you've been online and maintaining your website for more than a year you know how important having a website that is optimized for the search engines is critical to being found on Google, Bing, Yahoo!, and others. With the demand of social media being so high one might not think of search engine optimization as important as it once was. You would be shocked to know that the majority of all searches for products and services still happen on the search engines and the majority of people stay on the first page of the search results. Most users know that the top 2 or 3 spots are paid spots and routinely just skip over them as well. As part of your search engine strategy making certain that you have the right keywords on your page, titles, and descriptions is crucial. The key is to not spam people by flooding your pages with these keyword phrases.
With everything happening in today's age you cannot forget to leave out social media in your marketing strategy. This is where you can interact with your clients both present and future, have a closer ear to what your clients are asking for, and engage them to see what they want. When evaluating social media there are a few rules of when to post, how often to post, and what types of information to post. If the majority of your customers are on a single given network, it may be worth posting more often than the recommendations. The key is to make the information you post relevant for your client base.
Knowing your customers is crucial to any business. Knowing what pages' people are going to, what pages they are leaving, even what part of the country they are from will allow you to tailor your content for them.
As of this writing and analyzing over 100 clients we can say that more than 33% of visitors are using mobile devices with screens 7" or smaller. Some of our clients reach over 65% of their users on mobile devices. For our industrial clients the percentage is smaller as the information they provide is very technical in nature and has a lot of details. Retail, realtors, hotels and bed and breakfasts are around the middle of mobile users. Restaurants are at the top of the mobility usage stack. We have no client under 10% of their users accessing with a mobile access.
No matter what your industry you need to have relevant and accurate information that is thought out and planned well before the holiday's begin. Although planning right before is required doing so months in advance will allow you to attack and more quickly adjust as you are on top of the needs of your customers. If you want to stay competitive and reach your intended audience, then you need to begin targeting your customers, the pages of your site, and establishing your marketing strategy well before hand.