How to Prepare Your Website for YOUR Holiday!
Tips For Running Your Website While You Are Away On Holiday
In time for the holiday season, it’s important to consider how your website will serve its intended purpose while you’re away. We have a couple of tips that, if you utilize them, your transition to and from vacation will be pretty seamless. While these tips are useful for the holiday season, they can also be utilized for any vacation you plan on taking. In fact, many of these tools can be used on a day-to-day basis. Your website can function well and retain its usefulness even while you’re away!
There are a few things to keep in mind before going away in terms of your website. First, you’ll want to make sure you have complete access to your website during your time away. Sure, mobile devices are great, but they are not adequate for fully maintaining your site, especially on vacation. Depending on the scale of your website and if you sell products, it may be advantageous to hire holiday staff to handle order processing.
Additionally, many sites are created in the New Year. Make sure your site is not set to expire when you are away. As silly as this seems, it is pretty common. With the holiday season being so hectic, the last thing you want is to have to try and retrieve your expired domain. Some other things to consider, we’ve detailed below. Your implementation doesn’t need to be perfect but it does need to sufficiently cover the upkeep of your site while away.
Make Sure Your Content is Up-to-date
Prepare for the holidays or your vacation by making sure your content is completely up-to-date. Consider the length of your departure and plan your content to best fit that specific period of time. For example, if you plan on leaving before Christmas and will not be back until the New Year, it’s important to note that Christmas content may appear outdated even a few days after the 25th. If you can’t make this sudden content change during the break, consider using content considered ‘evergreen’, where the content essentially remains relevant. Something like, “Happy Holidays – We’ll See You in The New Year” might be fitting. While it’s not completely evergreen, it does work over the course of the December holidays. Something like, “Merry Christmas,” may look strange once the New Year rolls around. So, plan accordingly.
In addition to posting up-to-date content, be sure that your contact information is accurate and reflects any changes necessary. For example, if you have an in person location, be sure to specify changed hours or temporary closures. Conveniently placing this information on your website is vital, because after all, it is only temporary. Using something like a banner on the home page might prove to be a good idea for your website.
Reviews Should be Natural & Widespread
Since we just covered the natural ebb and flow of customer reviews – good and bad – we can now consider the location of each review. Sure, Google reviews are consistently number one; however, having reviews on other platforms is equally important. It shows internet users a more natural review approach. When you push Google-only reviews, reviews become saturated in one place. Encouraging your customers to leave reviews on multiple platforms is important. Those include Facebook, Yelp (the review app that feeds Apple Maps in the United States), and industry specific review sites. Here, we’ll focus on the importance of Yelp. Let’s consider why:
Yelp is generally associated with restaurant businesses. While this is true, it is also the review system that feeds into Apple Maps. While Google Maps is more prominent, Apple Maps still has a significant impact in the world of reviews. So, even if you don’t own a restaurant, you definitely want to rank as a naturally well-reviewed business on Yelp, thus Apple Maps.
Take Advantage of Automation
Just because you’re on vacation does not mean marketing efforts need to – or should – stop. With some vital pre-planning, automating your marketing can continue to pull in business while you’re away. Automation is a wonderful thing because it allows business to continually run without as much human presence. With that said, there are a couple of waits to streamline your marketing automation process:
Depending on the length of your vacation/holiday you may want to send a newsletter pertinent to the timing of your days off. Doing so will continue to engage your audience and let them know you’re still taking action.
Same as with newsletters, a simple email can inspire action and create connection in your period of absence.
Automate some content for social media
Similarly, to keep a lively business appearance, having scheduled social media posts is a wise choice. Consider using engaging, regularly-scheduled posts that let customers know you care.
Keep up with Website Monitoring
Website traffic and security doesn’t take a break when you do. You will need to ensure that you have a strategy to handle monitoring your website. When customers experience issues with your site, they may end up frustrated, or they may opt to leave the site completely. Either way, it’s important to address any issues prior to customers running into them.
One way to effectively manage site monitoring is to plan for potential issues, like if a page is having issues or if it goes down. Plan a strategy for each potential issue and offer this information to your team if you have one. Otherwise, plan to spend a bit of time on your break in the case that something does happen. Having access to everything you normally would is an important factor here; if you run into any issues, you can address them similarly to when you’re managing your website regularly. Remember, as we’ve mentioned, mobile phones are not the best option when it comes to website maintenance and monitoring.
Continue to Offer Support
On your vacation, you may not be able to offer ample support. This is okay given you have a strategy to offer continued support through the duration of your vacation. One good option is to have a live chat service available, if you don’t already have one.
Live chat services offer real-time, 24/7 support for your customers. The service is usually a small, yet eye-catching add-on to the site that, when opened, has a small window perfect for chatting with an agent. There are many live chat options available, so you will have to find one that works best for your business.
Not only are live chats useful during vacations, they’re also a handy tool to offer streamlined support in a passive way.
If you’re not looking for more automation, like a live chat, consider letting your customers know about your brief departure and when you’ll return. Sure, this can become an inconvenience, but knowing your availability will decrease disappointment compared to not saying anything.
Relax, and Enjoy Your Time Off
Going on vacation or taking a break for the holidays doesn’t mean website maintenance won’t be required. Maybe there will be less support and offerings, but your website will still be up and running. With these tips, you can ensure that your break and subsequent return go smoothly. These suggestions will also help you have a relaxing break from all the action.
With that said, enjoy your break! Just be sure to keep an eye out for potential issues that need to be addressed. Implementing these strategies will provide you with peace of mind and additional time to rest and catch up with loved ones.