Nine Ways to Prepare Your WordPress Site for the Holidays

If you had to describe the holidays in a single word, from the perspective of many who run a website, it would be this: busy.

The holidays are a busy time, and for many companies, the most important time of the year. And not just because of sales. Schedules adjust. Employees take time off. B2B businesses change their routines. Bloggers create new holiday content.

So whether you’re hoping to increase sales revenue, draw more traffic to your site, or keep your customers or readers in the loop, there’s a lot to do. 

The last thing you want is to be scrambling to put out fires and make last minute updates because you didn’t plan ahead. Here’s how you can prepare your website for the holidays.

1. Communicate clearly

If you’re a retail or online business and you have holiday sales, feature them on your website and make sure the offer is crystal clear. Include shipping details, special hours, in-store events, and curbside pickup information. Make these things easy to find by using special popups for the holiday season or including banners at the top of the page. 

2. Check your site’s speed

A slow site can be disastrous for business, especially during the holidays when people are shopping around and wanting to get it done as fast as possible. If your site loads too slowly, people won’t wait. 

Jetpack offers several tools for speeding up your site, including a site accelerator and lazy loading features. Learn more about Jetpack’s speed tools

Not sure how quickly your site loads? Use tools like GTMetrix and Google’s PageSpeed Insights to find out.

3. Go the extra mile to serve customers

Customer service is so often what determines where the money goes. Give bad service, and you’ll make less money. Don’t treat your customers and readers like inconveniences. They’re the most important people in your life! 

If you’re a restaurant, don’t just say you offer curbside pickup. Explain any relevant details. Does the customer wait outside? Go into the welcome desk? Use their phone to say when they’re there? Don’t make them guess. Make it easy. 

If you sell online, give more than one payment option, especially for larger purchases. Consider offering “buy now, pay later” options or allowing monthly installments. Accept multiple payment methods — like PayPal, credit cards, Apple Pay, and more — for optimal convenience.

If you have special extended or reduced hours on particular days, don’t bury them on your site. Make them impossible to miss. This is especially true for retail stores and restaurants — and especially with all the confusion caused by COVID-19 — the last thing you want is for customers to show up to a darkened store. 

4. Make sure your site is mobile responsive

Check your site on devices of all sizes: desktops, tablets, and phones. Make sure it’s easy to use, nothing’s cut off, and visitors can find what they’re looking for instantly. If you don’t, you’re missing out on traffic, sales, and search engine rankings. 

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5. Secure your site in advance

A website going down during the busy holiday season can be catastrophic. Don’t let it happen to you. 

With malware scanning, backups, brute force protection, and many other security features available through Jetpack Security, you can protect your site from attacks, restore it fast if it goes down, and keep it running smoothly and reliably.  

Jetpack Scan working on a website

6. Write specialized content

If you’re a blogger, you could create content that readers will appreciate and find valuable. Go for super practical stuff here: gift guides, special recipes, outfits for holiday occasions, time-saving tips, activities for kids, getting along with cranky relatives, and whatever else fits within your niche. 

If you’re a B2B company, you could write about what’s happening during the holidays, including special hours and how you can be reached in an emergency. Think about what your clients might need, and explain how they can get it.

If you’re a restaurant, you could announce holiday specials like limited-time desserts and drinks, as well as free gifts with particular purchases. 

7. Make sure key pages and processes are working

If you’re an eCommerce store, walk through your purchase process. Do you receive order confirmation emails? Do customers see receipts and order summaries? Is the process easy to get through or confusing? 

Also, test important links throughout your site, including those that go to important holiday information pages. 

You can also implement Jetpack Search to make your site easier to use. It’s a robust tool that allows visitors to quickly find what they’re looking for. 

GIF showing how Jetpack Search works

8. Run load tests

A load test, also known as a stress test, is a process that simulates how a surge in traffic impacts your site. 

Imagine a big-name celebrity or niche influencer mentioning your blog or product. Or a well-known brand linking to a page on your site. Maybe your Cyber Monday deal goes viral. These and many other events can cause a surge in web traffic that can overwhelm your system, depending on your host and other factors.

A load test is a way to find out in advance how your site will perform in such a scenario. Find more information on load testing.

9. Automate as much as possible

You’ll be busy during the holidays, just like your customers and visitors. The more you can set up now to run on autopilot, the less you’ll have to worry about when things get busy. 

If you’re an online store, write and schedule your emails in advance. These messages are critical for communicating with customers. After checkout, they should get a receipt, and if they agreed to marketing messages, should later get new offers and deals. You can also set up autoresponders for people who abandon their carts before checkout — a proven way to boost revenue.

If you’re a B2B business, you can automate appointments using Jetpack’s Calendly block. And if you’re a blogger, you can automatically set blog posts to go out on social media. 

Have your best holiday season yet

Preparing your WordPress site now to handle increases in holiday traffic and serve customer needs will reward you with a more relaxed December, and better outcomes for your website or business.

Jetpack offers an array of tools to make all this happen in the simplest way possible.

Prepare your site for the holidays

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Kathryn Marr profile
Kathryn Marr

Web developer, graphic designer, copywriter. Co-founder of Blue Ivory Creative.

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