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During the Christmas season you can enjoy a festive atmosphere not only on the streets and in shops, but also online. Website owners should ask themselves what they can do to prepare their website for the Christmas season. From SEO measures to participation opportunities to social media engagement, website design and performance optimisation, there are plenty of ways to make your website more festive and engage your customers.
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Optimise your website for SEO
Throughout the year, but especially at special times like Christmas, it’s crucial that you use search engine optimisation - SEO for short - to ensure that your website performs well in Google search rankings and is found by as many users as possible. This involves ensuring that your website content is optimised in several ways - from content to media to text structure and more.
A few important actions you can take include writing meta information, inserting internal links, and adding keywords. Before you add any keywords, however, you should first conduct thorough keyword research to find out which terms and other phrases perform best in terms of search volumes.
Also, make sure that the data across all your pages, but especially on your landing page is always up to date. Visitors are easily irritated if they are greeted with Halloween content during Christmas time. Make sure users feel right at home the moment they access your site.
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Offer Christmas participation opportunities
During special occasions like Christmas, you can engage your website visitors by offering thematically coherent participation actions. There are plenty of opportunities and ideas to get your audience involved. WordPress site owners, for example, could add a plugin to create a WordPress advent calendar and embed it on their website. This can be combined with a competition, a raffle and/or a Christmas quiz. Naturally, none of these options are restricted to the Christmas season. Prizes for raffles could include small gifts, exclusive discounts, and vouchers for free delivery.
If your website has its own forum, make use of it. Encourage your users to upload Christmas photos and posts on a particular theme and reward the most interesting ones with a special award or offer. Or how about a scavenger hunt? You could hide a surprise across random pages of your website for every day until Christmas. Post relevant hints to find them on your forum beforehand.
Minigames are just as welcome. Users could count flying reindeer, catch presents with a sack, or steer a sleigh past obstacles. There are numerous games that can be embedded into a website using iFrames. Among them, for example, ‘Christmas Chain - HTML5 Game’ or ‘Game Christmas Furious’, both of which are available for purchase on Evato Market at CodeCanyon.
Use and embed social media platforms
It makes sense to announce any participation promotions on social media to attract existing and new users. Linking your website and content to platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, etc. isn’t just beneficial during Christmas time, but all year round. Through social media marketing, you can increase awareness of your website, but also your sales. Here are a few ideas:
- Christmas updates, e.g. with videos, pictures and info from your website crew and/or your products
- Announcement of promotions and vouchers for your website
- Showing an altruistic side, supporting a Christmas fundraiser and keeping users updated about it
- Advent calendar on Facebook with different voucher codes
- Sending an exclusive discount code when retweeting on Twitter
- Small gift for the most beautiful winter photo on Instagram
You should also consider linking to your social media profiles in your newsletter. Send a digital Christmas card, to share holiday greetings with customers and clients in a more creative way. However, be mindful of how you address your customers. Your copy should always be polite and in line with your website branding. For some, a generic Christmas greeting is adequate. For others, a casual ‘To all the good and naughty ones out there!’ or similar will work.
Add some Christmas sparkle to your website
Admittedly, some website owners will overdo it with the festive look of their website, but there’s nothing wrong with a little winter magic – on the contrary. By discreetly adapting your website to featuring festive content, you are ultimately showing your customers that you’re maintaining a professional web presence and are committed to keeping it up-to-date. Some website builders provide templates that you could apply. Other suggested design consideration are listed below.
Colour and font designs
Add a bit of Christmas sparkle by using a different colour palette. Red, green, and white lend themselves well to the holiday season as well as classier options like gold and silver. Fonts decorated with snowflakes, reindeer, holly leaves, etc. provide the right touch. The DaFont archive offers a massive selection of beautiful custom fonts in the ‘Christmas’ category, which you can download for free. However, be sure to narrow down your search results to ‘100% Free’.
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Of course, visual embellishments such as videos, photos, or illustrations can leave your visitors with a positive impression of your website. For example, add a festive header to your homepage wishing users a Merry Christmas. You can find suitable banners and photos in image databases such as Pexels, Pixabay, etc. Simply search for terms such as ‘Christmas’ or other Christmas-related motifs that come to mind and fit your brand image. In the case of a website with a botanical background, for example, images of poinsettias, also known as Christmas stars, might be a good idea.
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Animated effects and decorations
Other decorations you can use to give your website that wow effect are (animated) Christmas decorations. There are various plugins available for download to add them. How about a Christmas garland as a banner for your website? Or a flying cartoon reindeer sleigh? WordPress plugins such as ‘Christmasify!’ and ‘Christmas Panda’ are great decoration options alongside simulations of falling snowflakes.
You could also embed Christmas-themed melodies and songs to your website. Similar to visual decorations, WordPress website owners can install an audio plugin like ‘Christmas Music’. Alternatively, you could upload a desired music file to your website’s storage space. However, make sure that you use songs, compositions and melodies that are royalty-free. You can purchase these on sites such as Musicfox. Next, locate the page code and embed the following code text:
<embed name=“Songtitle” src=“songtitle.mp3” border=“2” width=“152” height=“24” autostart=“true” Delay=“0” VOLUME=“35” loop=“true” controls=“smallconsole”>
Simply insert the name of your selected song here instead of ‘songtitle’. A ‘true’ at Autostart ensures that it will be played as soon as the page is opened. Swap ‘true’ with ‘false’ to turn off autoplay. Do the same with the Loop feature, which decides whether the song runs in continuous loops or not. We also recommend that you adjust the volume level. Avoid large music files as they may slow down page loading speed.
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Performance is the key to success
Once your website is all set for the Christmas season, it may see higher traffic than usual. So far, so good - but beware! A high number of website visitors could mean longer page load times for your site and thus a poor user experience. Managed or shared hosting solutions can help you to address the problem. In addition to the highest security standards, these models offer optimised loading times for your website as well as protection against server failure.
If your website is an online shop and you do not have in-depth knowledge of web development, consider using a webshop software to keep your e-commerce activities as straightforward and easy to manage as possible. If you purchase your desired online shop platform through a hosting provider, you’ll receive technical support and your shop will be ready for a rush of visitors. This way, you only need to worry about the content on your site and welcoming the Christmas season with open arms.
With the tips mentioned above, you can get your website ready for the Christmas season and provide your audience with an engaging experience. However, it takes more than the above website ideas to successfully establish an Internet presence for the long-term. Even though the road to the perfect website isn’t an easy one, your efforts will pay off in the end - and wouldn’t that be a great New Year’s resolution?