The heat and lazy days of summer may be on your mind right now — not the holiday season. But fourth quarter is only a few months away, and now is the time to focus on making your website ready for the busiest selling season. Here are three ways to do that:
- Optimize your website for mobile by using responsive website design. According to eMarketer, mobile sales as a percentage of eCommerce sales will grow to 33% in 2016, and that number is predicted to continue to increase.
Your website should already be using responsive design, where the website responds to the device on which it’s displayed and shows information accordingly. Most eCommerce platforms, such as Shopify and BigCommerce, offer responsive design templates. You can learn more about responsive design here. Creating a site using responsive design doesn’t mean everything is perfect. Make sure to check out how your website looks on several devices, including iOS and Android phones, tablets and computers. Then input your website address into Google’s “Mobile-Friendly Test” site to find out if your site meets Google’s mobile-friendly standards. If it does, your site will be able to keep, or maybe even improve, its search engine ranking.
- Increase page-loading speed. We’re in a fast-moving world, getting faster, so it makes sense that no one likes a slow-loading website. If you think this is a minor issue, think again. As reported in Kissmetrics, according to surveys done by Akamai and Gomez.com, nearly half of web users expect a site to load in two seconds or less, and they tend to abandon a site that isn’t loaded within three seconds. Frighteningly, 79% of web shoppers who experience web site performance issues say they won’t return to the site to buy again and roughly 44% of them would tell a friend if they had a poor experience shopping online.
To find out how fast your pages are loading, free tools such as Google PageSpeed Insights and GTmetrix are helpful. There are several reasons why pages load slowly. You can check out all of the top issues here. The major culprit is images that are not optimized for quick page loading. To learn how to compress images for faster page loading, you can check out this excellent article from Practical eCommerce.
- Test your website’s performance. Hoping that you get a ton of website traffic and sales during the holidays? We hope so, too. Just make sure that you’ve load-tested your website to make sure it can handle significant increases in traffic. We’ve all heard horror stories about major companies whose websites crashed during the holiday season. Don’t become one of them. Use performance-testing tools, including a free one such as Neustar, to test your website, and make any necessary changes, before the holiday rush.
So take advantage of the summer’s slower pace to work on making your website stronger and faster. Doing so might just help you create Christmas in July!