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5 Top Tips To Get Your Website Ready For The Holidays

With just days until the start of November, now is the perfect time to get your website ready for the Holiday traffic surge. Nearly half of an average retailer’s sales for 2017 occurred in November & December according to Deloitte, so preparing for this critical sales period has never been so important.

From making sure your website can handle the extra seasonal traffic to checking the payment options you offer, our blog post will ensure your site is fit for the season ahead.

 

Evaluate your site

Many e-commerce stores start small and grow over time, this is an excellent way of minimizing risk and keeping start-up costs low – but before the peak traffic season kicks in take some time to check if you’ve evaluated your website against your competitors in terms of functionality, some key questions to consider:

  • Is your layout intuitive for your visitors? Think names of menu items & position of your site search bar.
  • Does your website load perfectly on mobile devices? Grab a mobile and tablet to take your site for a test drive. A lot of your visitors will be using mobile devices so be sure to cater for them on every page.
  • Are all of your images present and high resolution? Seeing is believing, your visitors will want to take a close look at your products before purchasing so be sure to check that all your products have images uploaded and look crystal clear.

 

 

Make sure you can handle traffic spikes

Check your hosting plan, look at key figures such as bandwidth allowance and resource limits. A good host will surface your usage statistics with you from their control panel, take a moment to look over your usage and ensure you have at least three times the headroom before the holiday season takes hold. For example, if you have a limit of 15GB of bandwidth but see you’ve used 9GB this month already, then it’s time to upgrade your package or change hosting provider if you’re considering the latter be sure to take a look at our generously allocated Europe and USA located website hosting plans!

 

Check your payment options

Having a wide range of payment options is key to ensuring your customers can complete their purchase once they’ve decided what to add into their carts. Alongside offering industry standard payment processors such as Stripe, be sure to offer a backup processor in case your primary has any service issues – you don’t want to stop your online register ringing due to a technical glitch outside of your control. Consider partnering with another processor like Due and Square.

In addition to your main card processors like those mentioned above, we strongly recommend offering PayPal as a payment option on your website’s checkout. PayPal allows its users to pay for your products without having to enter their credit/debit card details on your site, something that appeals to many of its users.

If you’ve already implemented the above and are looking for something a little more unique, why not consider accepting Crypto Currency as a method of payment? CoinGate is a great way to get started.

 

Secure your site

Take a few minutes to check your Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is applied correctly and expires well beyond the holiday season if it expires soon consider an early renewal so you can be sure your visitors will always see your website as secure.  If you don’t have an SSL right now then get one right away, an insecure website will drive visitors away. All Hugoton Hosting web hosting plans come with free SSL!

Securing your website also goes further than an SSL, head over to our ‘How to secure your WordPress website’ blog post to be sure your online store is secure.

 

Implement a review system

So your website has an array of products with high-resolution images and perfectly crafted descriptions for each – but can your visitors see what others who’ve purchased from you in the past thought of the products they received?

Implementing product reviews is a great way to boost confidence for shoppers buying your products, take a look at WP Product Review Lite and Rich Reviews to get started.

Reviews on their products are something every e-commerce store owner should offer, but you should also host reviews of your website as a whole, TrustPilot and Bazaar Voice are leading the way in this space.

 

Conclusion

Hopefully, the above tips have given you some food for thought on how to get your website holiday ready! We love to hear from our visitors, why not drop us a message and let us know what you’d like to see us blog about next?

 

6 Steps To Speeding Up Your WordPress Website – Infographic

Following on from our very first Infographic published earlier this week (Launching Your First Website) we’re pleased to share a brand new one, this time focusing on how to speed up your WordPress website. No one likes waiting for websites to load, so our 6 simple steps will help ensure your WordPress website loads quickly for all of your visitors, from CDNs and Image Optimization to Lazy Loading and Database Optimization, we cover it all!

As always, if you have a specific topic you’d like us to cover on an Infographic please let us know via our Contact Us page!

You can also download a high-resolution PDF version of our infographic here.

Launching Your First Website – Infographic

We’re excited to share our new infographic below to help you launch your first website!

We will be producing many more of these in the coming weeks. If you have a specific topic you’d like us to cover please let us know via our Contact Us page!

You can also download a high-resolution PDF version of our infographic here.

Why your website should be mobile friendly and how to make it so!

According to Statisa mobile traffic to websites globally has increased from 31% in Q1 2015 to 51% in Q2 2018. This 20% increase shows the clear need for your website to be mobile friendly, when your visitors open your website on their phone or tablet they want to be able to browse your product and services the same way they would on their desktop or laptop. If they try to navigate around your site on their mobile device, only to find images don’t render correctly or text is too small to read they will likely abandon their visit and look elsewhere.

 

So, what are the main problems if my website isn’t mobile friendly?

First off zooming in and out on sections on your website isn’t something visitors will be willing to do anymore, they expect a clean & easy to use version of your website that compliments their experience when visiting you on their laptop.

Then what happens when a customer wants to call you? Are the phone numbers on your site click-to-dial compatible? If they’re not, then the chances of your visitor manually changing between their mobiles web browser and phone keypad to manually enter the number are slim. Instead, they should be able to click any phone number on your website to commence dialing.

Google also favor mobile responsive web designs, in late Spring 2015 Google altered their algorithms, commonly known within the industry as “Mobilegeddon”, they pushed websites with unresponsive (non-mobile friendly) designs down in results made on mobile devices.

Forbes identified that a whopping 31% of all referral traffic to websites comes from social media, couple that statistic with the fact that over 80% of all social media engagement originates from mobile devices and the need for your website to behave perfectly on mobiles and tablets becomes crystal clear.

 

Okay, how do I make my website mobile friendly?

Making your current website mobile friendly (responsive) may not be as difficult as you are thinking. The best place to start analyzing how complex it may be is by checking how old your website is and what technology/software it runs on. If your site is less than 2 years old and runs on WordPress you have a good chance of making it mobile responsive easily. If your site is more than 2 years old and was written with HTML or PHP code as a bespoke project, then mobile optimization may need professional input, don’t forget you can contact Hugoton Hosting to discuss such a project.

Let’s imagine your site is less than two years old and runs on WordPress; you have three main options available to you …

 

Use a plugin to generate a mobile theme

Using a plugin will create a separate mobile theme, shown only to visitors on mobile devices. The two options we recommend are the Mobile Theme module in Jetpack and WPtouch (or WPtouch Pro).

The benefits of this method are simplicity and cost. The downside, however, is that the mobile site/theme created will be basic in nature and will likely not match the look & feel of your desktop website, so while this method is good as an entry point to pleasing your mobile visitors, you will likely need to have a more ‘natural’ mobile experience developed

 

Modify your current WordPress theme

Your WordPress theme is likely something you’ve grown to love over time, and probably something in which you’ve invested both time and money into. You can look to modify your existing template to become mobile friendly, we recommend you contact a web design company to analyze the work needed to do this. Hugoton Hosting have converted numerous websites to be responsive, typically using BootStrap to make sure mobile visitors browse your site with ease.

Of course, depending on the theme you’re using, mobile optimization may not be perfect and could be seen as “putting lipstick on a pig”, this is why we strongly recommend contacting a Web Designer so you can be sure of the results of mobile optimization before investing in such.

 

Use a new WordPress theme

The vast majority of WordPress themes created in the last 0-12 months come with mobile optimization as standard, be sure of course to check the description and try the demo on your mobile to be 100% sure.

While this option may seem like the most expensive and time-consuming, it is also the one which will deliver the most joined-up experience for your visitors whether they visit your website on the mobile, tablet, desktop or laptop. There is also the opportunity with this option to add more functionality to your site and fix those ‘little things’ that have always bugged you on your current website.

Similar to option 2, we recommend you engage with a Web Designer to assess precisely what themes would work best for your site and to check-in plugin compatibility with your new theme choice.

 

Conclusion

Hopefully you now agree that your website should be mobile friendly, exactly how you ensure this is up to you, but one thing is for sure – your brand is paramount to your business and the look & feel of your website should be as identical as possible for your visitors irrespective of the device they use to visit your website. Cost, time, complexity and compatibility will all be factors in your decision on how to proceed, if you want to talk it through with an expert you can schedule a completely free consultation session with Hugoton Hosting today!

Independent review from ReviewsPilot

We’re really excited to share the new independent review of Hugoton Hosting from ReviewsPilot.

ReviewPilot’s Pranay walks through our various offerings from WordPress to VPS’ to Reseller Hosting and analyses how we stack up to the competition in many different ways!

With quotes such as “I don’t think there is a chance of disappointment.” and “I don’t think you should give it a second thought.” we invite you to take a look at the full review here >>