How To Optimize Your Website For The Holiday Season

By: Hannah Pinchbeck

November 21, 2019


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The last couple of months of the year usher the beginning of the long-awaited holiday season in most parts of the world. As audiences’ excitement levels soar, it’s time for brands to get on the bandwagon by ensuring their digital properties, most importantly, their website, welcome and engage with visitors with the same enthusiasm. However, if you are unsure of how to go about optimizing your website for the upcoming holiday season; these tips might offer a good place to start:

Create Holiday-Themed Landing Pages: The obvious first step would be to revamp the look and feel of your landing pages to align with the holiday sentiment. By simply redoing the page colors, imagery, and copy that aptly represents both the holiday theme and your brand message, you can assure your visitors that you are up and ready for the holiday season.
Here’s how the retail giant Target revamped their website for the holiday season:

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If not landing pages, you could also simply add a little festive element to your brand logo or give your header design a festive spin to add the holiday theme to your website. Here’s an example from Allstate where the company redid their brand logo to give it a festive tweak:

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Another one from a digital agency where they optimized their website header design from the holiday season:

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Split Test Your Holiday-Themed Webpages: Before you finalize on the final version of your holiday-themed webpages, you might want to split test to narrow down on the best-performing version that also causes minimal changes to the website functionality, leads to minimum load times and highest engagement. Since traffic is likely to spike during the holiday season, you can’t afford to risk performance issues. Therefore, it is better to test various versions of the revamped webpages on a fraction of your visitors to spot and fix bugs before you make it live universally.

Run Holiday Promotions On Your Website: No matter what the nature of your business and who your target audience is, deals and promotions can work like magic in luring your visitors into making a purchase. Therefore, leverage the holiday season to your advantage and offer exclusive promotions and incentives that you can highlight on your homepage and boost engagement, as well as conversions. You can also create a sense of urgency by emphasizing that the offers are running for a limited period or that a price hike can be expected in the New Year so that visitors convert quicker. Here’s an example from Macy’s you could take inspiration from:

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Use Gamification To Engage Better: To make your landing pages more interactive, you can gamify your website experience (based on the holiday theme) and offer incentives to get your visitors to stick around and possibly boost conversions. Whether it is a simple ‘Spin The Wheel’ or a full-fledged treasure hunt, your visitors are likely to engage (and convert) better if you offer them a fun and enjoyable way to earn incentives that they can spend on your website itself.

Here’s an example of the same:

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Do Your Research And Learn From The Past: Holiday marketing has been around for quite some time now. Whether it is your own marketing campaigns from the previous years or industry-wide best practices, there is tonnes of data and reports you can analyze to figure out what works for which segment of your visitors. Using this, you can gather valuable insights that can shape, streamline, and inspire your current holiday marketing strategies.

Optimize For A Mobile-First Web Design: In today’s day and age where mobile usage is significantly higher than any other device, not optimizing your website for mobile could result in a huge loss of business opportunity. Therefore, make sure all the tweaks you make, webpages you redesign are well-optimized for and tested on mobile, so your website is ready to welcome the busy visitors looking for a fast and convenient way to engage with you.

Optimize Your Website For Performance: While you work relentlessly to create an unforgettably delightful user experience, you also need to make sure your efforts don’t go futile due to technical glitches and website performance issues. Therefore, while revamping sections of your website, you must optimize for page load times, make minimal changes to the UI and navigation of the website, and ensure your servers are prepared to handle the sudden influx of traffic.

There are multiple site crashes that have happened in the past few years’ sale seasons due to little or no load testing. Here’s a snapshot from J.Crew’s website crash due to heavy load during the Black Friday sale of 2017.

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With these actionable ideas, you are all geared up to give your website a holiday spin, offer an enjoyable holiday-themed visitor experience, and watch your engagement metrics soar. Since this is just a beginner’s guide, don’t restrict yourself to these ideas or hold back from experimenting with any other interesting and innovative ideas you might have. So, set the ball rolling to delight, engage, and convert better this holiday season!

VWO are Gold Sponsors at DMWF Europe on 25 – 26 November.

Used by 6,000 customers in 90+ countries,VWO is the only connected platform that enables organisations to optimise their entire audience journey – from click to retention. Build stellar digital experiences that convert better by discovering visitor behaviour insights, easily turning these insights to experiments, expanding experiments to multichannel digital properties, and bringing back lost audience through effective engagement- all via a single connected platform.