If your website is not up to speed for the holidays, you’ll be missing out on potential customers. Every second of website load time, 20% of consumers leave and seek one of your competitors for their purchase. Also, bear in mind that you need to keep your website running fast late into the season, as the highest amount of traffic actually occurs on December 26.

In addition to speed, mobile web design is essential, as half of all holiday sales are made on a mobile device. Plus, it is equally important to optimize your website for desktop users — to provide them with the festive experience they need to convert.

1. Figure Out How to Make Your Website Fly Faster Than Santa

First, you need to find out if your website will be able to handle an increased amount of traffic. This will depend on your hosting solution. It’s a good idea to contact your hosting provider and ask if your current solution is sufficient. If the company tells you that your website will not be able to manage a large number of simultaneous requests, look into upgrading.

2. Check Your Website Usability Score

A website usability score tells you how your site is currently performing and shows you what you can do to make improvements. You can receive a free website score that shows things like:

  • Local presence: Find out where you lack local SEO and what you can do about it.
  • Mobile analysis: How mobile friendly is your site currently and what can you do to optimize?
  • Organic search analysis: What keywords should you use to improve seasonal search rankings?

3. Help Customers Purchase Gifts with Ease

A usability score will tell you plenty, but you also need to examine the website for yourself to see where it’s falling short. One area that can often be improved is the checkout process on your e-commerce store. If checkout requires too much information or too many steps, you may find that you have a high number of abandoned shopping carts full of presents never to be bought.

A simple fix is to make it easier for new customers to purchase from you. Do this by removing the requirement to register. You can always incentivize customers to register later, such as advertising your loyalty program or asking them to sign up for notifications of special offers.

4. Repurpose Seasonal Content from Last Year

Content falls into two categories: evergreen and time sensitive. Normally, seasonal content is part of the latter, meaning that it only has a short-term role in your strategy. However, it is possible to gain greater use from your seasonal content by repurposing it.

If you have any successful blog posts from previous years that remain relevant, find a way to revive them and add them to your strategy for this year. As well as reducing the amount of time you need to spend on your content strategy, you know that customers like and will respond to the content. You may be able to use the exact same piece (just updating some statistics and information) or you can create a new post about the same topic.

5. Run A/B Tests to Improve Your Site

A final way to ensure that your website is optimized is to run A/B tests. It would be unrealistic to try and test every element on every page. Instead, focus on just the most important pages for the holidays and aspects that matter the most. These may include:

  • Placement and wording of CTAs
  • Navigation
  • Color of buttons
  • Information on product pages
  • Forms

Preparing your website for the holidays is about ensuring your site appears in high in the search results and then increasing the chances that users stick around by working on UX. This process involves discovering where you may be able to make improvements, followed by testing different ideas to figure out what leads to the most conversions for your site.