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July 1, 2008 | eCommerce , General , Merchandising , Site Design and Management | WineDirect Admin

Will your site be ready for the Holidays?

It’s only July 1, so you’re thinking you have plenty of time to get your site ready for the holidays – think again. Now is the time to plan and implement the changes to your site so that it is optimized for the traffic that is soon to come your way.

Do it now
Within the next month or so, rethink your keywords and keyword phrases with holiday shoppers in mind. Put holiday keywords in place months ahead – they can take time to propagate with search engines. “Christmas” is, undoubtedly, the most commonly used search term, along with “holiday gift”, “Christmas gift”, and “gift for dad”. Also try “wine-lover’s gifts”, “gifts for red-wine drinkers”, and “wines to go with Christmas dinner”. Be creative and use keyword phrases which are often better for SEO that just stand alone words.

To do in October:
Add seasonal categories
to your store— they can be turned on as soon as you need them. Use categories that describe the recipient: “Gifts for Geeks”, “Gifts for Chardonnay Lovers”, “Gifts for the Connoisseur”. Do the heavy lifting for your customers. Many shoppers already have some parameters in mind when they get to your site: “I need to get a gift for my aunt and I don’t want to spend more than $50.” Help online shoppers find gifts for different budgets: “Gifts under $50”, “Gifts over $75”. Avoid generic categories: “Gift baskets”, “Wine and Food Gifts” etc.

To do on November 1:
If appropriate, Dress up your site for the holidays. This could be as simple as changing pictures but may also include a new home page banner. This tells holiday shoppers that you’re ready for them. Follow suit with an email template that echos the same look and feel.

Update your content with holiday shoppers in mind. As the holidays approach, your home page text can be updated with more specific material for shoppers. Use relevant titles and keyword-rich copy that search engine crawlers like. Make sure that changes on your site get transferred to tasting room and other marketing materials.Give shoppers what they want right away.

Most holiday shopping is done for someone else. So, use kickers to help shoppers locate gifts from your home page; don’t make them have to search for gift ideas. Give them shipping information, such as costs and delivery times, right away (on the home page, at the top of the shop page and in every email). Let them know what your return/refund policy is. Answer their questions before they have to ask … or before they decide to leave for the next site. If need be, update the information as it gets closer to your critical dates.

Getting a jump on the holidays necessitates that you start planning now. If you need design or content help you’ll want to get that on the calendar. Planning ahead can be the difference between a very profitable holiday season and one that falls flat.

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