Last-Minute Black Friday Prep for Your WordPress Site

The turkey’s in the fridge, the pumpkin pies have been ordered, and you’ve managed to track down those crispy onion thingies for the green bean casserole. You’re ready for Thanksgiving. But have you done your Black Friday prep to ensure your e-commerce site ready for the day after?

Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and — increasingly — “Couch Thursday” are getting bigger than ever. According to Internet Retailer, e-commerce spending in the 2017 holiday season is expected to have another double-digit increase over last year. You have one week left to make sure your e-commerce site is prepped for the uptick in traffic! Here’s a handy checklist to get you started.

Test Your WordPress Site

Is your website up to handle the surge in traffic? The last thing you want is for your site to go down during peak holiday shopping times. Stress test your site now in order to avoid any unpleasant surprises later on.

Check out these tools:

  • Google PageSpeed Insights — Measures your site’s performance across a variety of devices.
  • Pingdom — Helps you analyze the load speed of your site and gives you tips for improving it.
  • WebPagetest — Run simple or advanced speed tests.

When you’re done, optimize your site’s speed in order to retain as much of that traffic as possible.

Streamline Your Checkout

Make it as easy as pie for customers to hit the buy button by streamlining your e-commerce checkout.

Ask yourself:

  • Do customers have a variety of options for payment (i.e. Paypal, credit card, etc.)?
  • Do you have guest checkout options enabled for speedy shoppers?
  • Are your “Buy” buttons obvious?
  • Is the next step clear?
  • Can you reduce the number of steps even more?

Learn more: Top 5 Ways to Increase E-commerce Conversions

Establish Trust

With high-profile data breaches and fraud transactions all over the news, consumers are understandably leery about handing over their personal information to a company they don’t know. Make sure your e-commerce site has all the markers of security:

  • Your photos and copy are professional (no spelling errors or issues with the design)
  • Enable your SSL certificate (HTTPS)
  • Provide safe payment options, like PayPal
  • Add social proof, such as social media badges, customer reviews, testimonials, and press coverage
  • Have a variety of real ways to contact you (phone number, address, contact form, email)

Learn more: 6 Simple Ways to Increase WordPress Security

Prepare Your Customer Service

Your website isn’t the only thing about to get overrun during the holidays! Make sure your customer service team is prepared for the increase in communications, too.

  • Beef up your FAQ page to answer any recurring questions and save your team’s bandwidth
  • Make sure your contact details are obvious
  • Consider adding a live chat option to help customers make decisions quickly
  • Monitor your social media to catch any questions there
  • Make sure your return policies are hassle-free and visible

(If you want to learn more about integrating live chat into your store, Shopify has a great blog post about it.)

Clarify Shipping Dates

The biggest question people have about online holiday shopping is: Will it get to me in time? Be especially clear about shipping specials, cutoff dates, and rates in order to increase conversions.

  • Advertise your free shipping or other shipping specials
  • Post your delivery dates prominently!
  • Work to get your shipping rates reasonable

Learn more: Do These 9 Things NOW to Prep Your E-Commerce Site for the Holidays

Capitalize on Browsing Customers

Along with good paying customers, you’ll have plenty of browsers over Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Most e-commerce sites see a big uptick in abandoned carts over that weekend. Of course, there’s still time to convert these lookers into buyers — if your site is optimized to take advantage of them!

  • Set up automated abandoned cart emails to bring them back to complete the purchase
  • Use Google Analytics to track site traffic and make improvements
  • Use retargeting ads to remind browsers about the products they were viewing

Learn more: Your 12-Step Plan for Holiday Email Marketing

Use Black Friday Prep to Launch a Fantastic 2018

Sure, there’s not much time left to capitalize on Black Friday — but improvements you make to your e-commerce site’s performance, security, and marketing automation will bring you great results far into the future.

Happy Thanksgiving! May your Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales be as fulfilling as all that turkey you’ve got your eye on.

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