In 2021, the online Black Friday sales hit a whopping $9 billion in the US, with around 88 million American online shoppers in just one day! Here in Canada we’re also getting into the Black Friday and Cyber Monday groove with 59% of Canadians on the hunt for deals, especially online.
But here’s the deal: it’s also a friendly warning. Waiting too long to gear up for the holiday season can be a sales killer. Shoppers are gearing up, credit cards ready, and if your site isn’t prepared for the Black Friday and Cyber Monday frenzy, they’ll happily move on to your competitors. 😬
The good news? We’ve got your back! 🙌 We’re here to help you get your website prepped and ready for the holiday shopping season. We’ve even prepared this handy guide full of tips to make sure you’re ready.
Table of Contents
Creating your promotion
Before you create your first promotion, first you need to get to know your audience inside out – who they are, what makes them tick, etc. Dive into your sales data or social posts to uncover what your customers love most and where you’ll resonate the most with them. Once you have an idea of what you to offer, you can start whipping up content that’s not only super informative but also exciting and spot-on. This can be on your homepage hero spot, adding clear calls-to-action buttons throughout your website, a promo banner in your header at the top of your website, edits to an existing product page, or even a separate landing page altogether that you can advertise separately on Google.
It’s all about creating a story that’ll have your audience hooked from start to finish.
The next step will be to get that content out there on different platforms – be it through blog posts, social media posts, ad campaigns or good ol’ email marketing. For all you artists, it’s just like promoting your show to bring in a crowd. Here’s an approach that we’ve often used:
Look at what’s selling best
Dive into what your customers are buying the most from you and what they’ve been requesting.
Research competitive offerings
If your competing with the big box retailers, chances are they might have their sales out already. Check out what they’re offering and how you can 1-up them.
Lower your costs
See what you can do to negotiate better wholesale prices from vendors/suppliers to give you a better edge with pricing.
Price your promos
Determine your promo pricing and length, but make sure you’re not compromising your business.
Write some compelling content for your website, email campaigns and social posts to support your new promo.
Schedule your campaigns
Schedule your email marketing, Facebook/Google ads, blog posts and social campaigns in advance and ensure they’re set to go out at a time when your customers will see them the most.
Monitor the progress of your sales and traffic activity to your promo pages so you know exactly what to improve upon.
Optimize your content to be found on Google
Once you’ve determined your holiday promotion, the next step is ensuring your catchy content is also found by Google so your audience can easily find you. This is what we call SEO (Search Engine Optimization) – because as everyone knows, if you can’t get found on Google, you might as well not be in the game! So, let’s make sure you’re rocking the search rankings now and forever.
Spruce up the classics – Still pushing that “Best 2019 Father’s Day Gift Ideas” post or mentioning Google Plus on your social media? Time for a makeover! Update your content to keep it relevant and super valuable. Nobody wants to look out of touch, right?
Bring on the new stuff
Fresh content is the name of the game. Both people and search engines are all about it. So, if you’ve got some free time, why not start crafting some killer new blog posts? Get ahead of the holiday rush and schedule them out!
Get the basics right
Take a good look at your product descriptions, titles, reviews, and pricing. Optimize them from top to bottom, and then check again! Also, make sure your site map is in tip-top shape, and those search spiders can navigate it with ease.
Link it all up
Ever wondered why your awesome, optimized content isn’t ranking? It might be because search engines can’t find it! Ensure all your pages and content are interconnected. Share the link love within your own site, especially for those important pages.
Improve your website's usability & navigation
Now no matter how polished your SEO is, your site won’t cut it if visitors find it a pain to navigate. Making your website a joy to shop on will earn those loyal customers in no time! Here’s some tips to do just that.
Test drive your site
It’s like taking your website for a spin. Be your own QA team. It’s important to regularly check how user-friendly and accessible it is. This is crucial, especially if you’ve recently added new products, menu items, or sections. If it’s hard for you or your Aunt Velma, it’ll be hard for your customers.
Can visitors easily find what they’re looking for?
Are your product names and categories clear, or are you speaking in a secret language only a few understand? Let’s ditch the jargon and use user-friendly terms!
Add a Search box
It’s like a mini Google for your site! Don’t underestimate the power of a good search box. Make sure it’s easy to find (we recommend in your main navigation) and easy to use.
Simplify your store’s checkout
Gone are the days of confusing, multi-step checkouts. Stats show 75% of customers are more likely to purchase if a one-click checkout is offered and 52% of customers are likely to abandon their carts if it’s too complicated. Try simplifying your checkout to a one-page checkout instead.
Make your website mobile friendly
In July 2023, a whopping 91% of our fellow Canadians were rocking smartphones. That means a good chunk, if not most of your website visitors are likely swiping and tapping on their phones. Additionally, Google tends to favour good mobile sites as well.
Wanna make sure your site’s all mobile-friendly and responsive? Give Google’s Mobile Friendly Test tool a whirl. Just type in your domain, and it’ll tell you whether your site is mobile-ready or could use a little TLC. Plus, it’ll dish out handy tips to share with your web designer.
Secure your site and add trust
90% of shoppers will pay more for a product from trusted brands. We know how important it is to earn your customers’ trust for your business to thrive. Here are some simple tips to add security to your site make your store look rock-solid reliable:
Whether you have a store or not, your site should have an SSL certificate installed (https vs http). You’ve probably seen those “not secure” warnings in the address bar on some websites thanks to Google Chrome. Don’t be that person!
Add security monitoring
Running a WordPress site? Make sure to add a security plugin to monitor any kind of activity such as brute force attacks and help ensure your site can’t be compromised.
Add trust badges
Gain additional trust by showing your secure payment icons (credit card/PayPal icons), and trust badges such as SSL icons, compliance icons and more.
Add customer reviews
Show off those customer reviews up front and add testimonials to show your credibility.
Include all the right policies
Boost your store & website performance
Did you know that almost half of all online shoppers will bounce from a page if it takes more than 2 seconds to load? That’s a big yikes especially during the busiest online shopping season.
Here’s a few things you can do to make sure your website loads lightning fast, even if you’re doing it last-minute.
Update theme & plugins
If you have a managed WordPress hosting service, your core install should be kept up-to-date however you’ll need to make sure your theme and plugins are also updated to ensure better performance and security.
Large images are typically the culprit of most slow loading websites, especially with the advent of high pixel cameras. It’s important to ensure that not only do your images load quickly, but that they are sized properly (since many sites will still load the original size). This is vitally important for mobile viewers with limited data available on their mobile plans. Once you’ve sized them appropriately the next step would be to compress them. This is easy thanks to plugins such as Smush Pro. Another great solution is to ensure your images are served from a CDN such as Cloudflare.
Setting up caching is one of the best ways to speed up a website. Caching will store copies of your pages in the server’s RAM so that it doesn’t have to load it from the site every time a user accesses it. There’s some great plugins such as W3 Total Cache or Hummingbird Pro that we recommend.
Clean up database
Databases can get pretty clogged up is your site is constantly changing or being updated. It’s good to clean up the tables once in a while. There’s some great plugins out there to help achieve this.
Make sure you have backups. Always make sure you have regular backups. We suggest daily or even hourly (for e-commerce sites). Just in case!
Check for broken links
Make sure to check for broken links, outdated pricing, product inventory mismatches or broken images and avoid those 404 errors.
Make use of services like Google Page Speed, Google Core Web Vitals and GTMetrix to monitor your site’s speed and response times. The faster your site, the less likely customers will bounce due to slow loading times.
Putting it all together
If you’re running an online store, it’s time to get ready for the holiday season! Start by making sure your website is all set for a smooth and secure shopping experience. This way, your customers will be happy, and your sales, traffic, and revenue will thank you. Give top priority to nailing SEO, beefing up security, and making sure search works like a charm – these are the secrets to owning Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Xmas and Boxing Day shopping this year.
Now go get ’em! 🚀
Overwhelmed by all techie this stuff? Let our roadies do the work for you! Our Be Loud Maintenance plans include all the plugins and services in our guide above to ensure your site runs smoothly.