tips and tutorials

Optimizing your website for the holiday rush

Photo of Mikayla Fuller
by   Mikayla Fuller
October 21, 2022

One of the most important things for eCommerce holiday sales, if not the most important, is an optimized website. A well-optimized website drives traffic to your online store and converts site visitors into buyers. 

According to Wordstream, the average website conversion rate is 2.35% while the best websites have conversion rates of 11% or more. We’ve compiled a list of our top tips to optimize your website for the holiday season to put you on the higher end of the conversion rate spectrum. We hope this helps you increase your sales and drive traffic to your website! 

How to optimize your website for the holidays

1. Run a website audit 

A comprehensive website audit will allow you to assess and analyze any areas of opportunity, understand competitor strengths and weaknesses, isolate site errors, and conduct keyword research. 

To run a website audit, here are the things you should assess: 

  • Site health 
  • SEO health 
  • Website security
  • Keyword performance (also conduct research for keywords that need to be added) 
  • Off-site presence (social media, reviews, backlinks, etc.) 
  • Conversion rate
  • Competitor analysis 

Essentially, a site audit will improve the quantity and quality of traffic. Once you’ve completed the audit, it will provide direction for ways to optimize your site health for the holidays. 

2. Make checking out easy 

A confusing checkout process is a frustrating user experience that could result in abandoned carts. An effective checkout process should easily guide customers to purchase in as few steps as possible. 

When advancing your checkout process, keep these things in mind: 

  • Don’t waste customers’ time
  • Make error validation user-friendly 
  • Offer product or service customization 
  • Track abandoned orders and conversions

Once a customer has decided to add a product to their cart, creating an easy experience helps to keep buyers on track so you don’t lose them at the last second. 

3. Use cross-selling and up-selling to offer gift ideas and increase average cart spend 

Upselling is the practice of encouraging customers to purchase a comparable higher-end product than the one in question, while cross-selling invites customers to buy related or complementary items. 

Strategies for cross-selling and up-selling include: 

  • Using hyper-relevant suggestions
  • Adding eye-catching discounts and deals to suggestions
  • Use your website interface to the fullest 
  • Suggest bundles
  • Provide complimentary products
  • Utilize customer data

When incorporated correctly, product suggestions can benefit customers by offering them added value to their purchase based on what they are interested in. 

4. Test site speed 

Site speed is always critical. At a time when eCommerce is at its pinnacle, it’s even more crucial to factor in the increased traffic your site will receive. Before kicking off your eCommerce holiday sales, optimize your site speed and performance. This keeps visitors from bouncing before they’ve even had a chance to browse. 

Keep these things in mind when planning for increased traffic: 

  • Make sure that your payment processor is prepared to deal with more transactions
  • Ensure that you have the support to accommodate customer service requests (especially live chat)
  • Increase load time by optimizing images
  • If you have any video content, monitor its effect on site speed and CX

Prepping your site speed for the holidays is just one of many ways to receive more traffic and increase conversion rates. 

5. Keep your site’s mobile performance competitive 

It’s no secret that mobile-friendly sites rank higher in Google search results. According to the Drum…

Mobile accounts for 65% of all eCommerce traffic. 

For a better and easier shopping experience, here are a few ways to make mobile purchases as seamless as possible: 

  • Make your checkout process as reliable, simple, and straightforward as you can. Verify that your SSL certificates are current and that any badges, including those from McAfee or Norton security, are visible.
  • Make menus easy to navigate. The more visitors have to explore, the less likely they are to make a purchase. To help visitors find what they’re looking for as quickly as possible, place popular sellers near the top of each category and keep a search bar readily available.
  • Make sure your promotions and coupon codes are easily accessible from any place on your website – especially on mobile devices. 

Mobile-friendly accessibility will aid in boosting your holiday eCommerce sales due to its ease and convenience. 

Publishing holiday-related blogs allow you to rank well in holiday search results. If you have any seasonal products, you could write a piece on your inspiration for the product and include testimonials or a gift guide for who would benefit most from receiving that product. 

Updating your header images and messaging to reflect the holiday season is also festive and fun for your visitors. A few well-placed seasonal puns or merry keywords in your content will get visitors in the spirit and help to boost your visibility by exposing your brand to those looking to shop. 

7. Add a section for reviews or testimonials

Customer reviews and testimonials add credibility to your site. If you are an eCommerce business offering products that make excellent gifts, this is a great opportunity to highlight reviews where customers mentioned purchasing as a gift. It is a way to create trust and reliability. When visitors can see that other shoppers are happy with their product, it positively impacts their purchase decision.

How to get better online reviews during the holidays 

Featuring reviews during the holiday season is the gift that keeps on giving. Leverage your customer reviews with these 5 tips: 

  • Convert email subscribers to promoters. Consider adding a request for reviews in your welcome email to new subscribers. 
  • Ask for reviews on social or in your order confirmation emails
  • Run a post-holiday review campaign. 
  • Share reviews on social. 
  • Offer incentives. (Once when I was at the dentist, they offered me a free fluoride treatment if I showed them I left a Google review. 

Be sure to respond to your online reviews and take them seriously whether they’re on social platforms, Google, or your website. They give you valuable insights into what your customers think and are a great opportunity for any areas that need improvement. 

eCommerce holiday planning 

Gear up for the holiday season with our eCommerce holiday guide, which has everything you need to prepare for a successful season! 

Our goal is to provide businesses like yours with exceptional, world-class customer support outsourcing, no matter how big or small. We’re flexible and aim to develop long-term solutions while keeping costs low. Contact us today to see how we can help you scale.

About the author

Photo of Mikayla Fuller

Mikayla Fuller

Mikayla is an avid copywriter. If she’s not out on an adventure, you can find her somewhere with a book in hand.