If you haven’t already noticed, we’re about a month away from Christmas. Yep it seems like yesterday that decorations were coming down, but now everyone is prepping for the festive season all over again.
While you’re readying yourself for parties and gifts, have you paid any attention to getting your WordPress site ready?
Yeah that’s right, your WordPress site needs some year end loving too. November and December are some of the most productive months of the year and if you’re not getting ready you’re missing out.
Here are 5 simple suggestions to get your WordPress site in gear to kick ass this festive season.
Increase email subscriptions
If you run an email newsletter there is no better time than now to ramp up your subscriber numbers.
People tend to switch off from work towards the end of the year, spending more time browsing the web, reading content and shopping. They can be more receptive to signing up for newsletters so it’s a great time to put it front and center.
A simple email subscription pop up box works wonders for driving up subscriber numbers. Have a simple pop up appear only for new visitors and schedule it to appear after a user has been on your site for 15 seconds or after they’ve seen 2 pages.
If pop ups aren’t your thing try using a tool like Hello Bar for an attention grabbing email subscription bar. These are really effective and doubled the newsletter list for one of our clients.
Play dress up
Forget the daggy Santa Claus outfits. Theming your site for the holiday season is a great way to reinforce the festive mood.
The best thing is that it doesn’t take much. Adding a simple Santa hat to your logo goes a long way. If you’re really feeling up for it try adding a dancing reindeer and Santa like Zappos 😉
For those who have a slideshow plugin, slot in a special Christmas image to get in the mood fast. If you’re struggling for Christmas design ideas there is of course a nice little showcase on Dribbble.
Test Test Test
Sites usually get a bump in traffic during November and December which makes it a good time to run conversion tests. Whatever goals your website may have (selling products, subscriptions, sign ups etc) you should be testing to improve your conversion rates. The higher traffic volume allows you to reach a conclusion on your tests much faster because you’re showing it to more visitors.
Some great tools to use are Visual Website Optimizer and Optimizely. If you’re looking for something free you can try out Google Analytics Content Experiments.
Like I said before, people tend to switch off from work during the end of the year and naturally they spend more time in places like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. Now is a great time to give your social profiles more real estate and get your visitors actively engaged on conversations with you on social media.
I’ve broken down some of the great plugin ideas for Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram for you.
If you’ve got a blog with comments enabled try using Facebook comments. This allows you to take the comments discussion to facebook and drive up engagement with your content. Alternatively you can try Disqus, a great social commenting tool.
To get even more ideas take a look at Facebook’s list of different plugins you could integrate on your site.
Simple plugins like Twitter Widget Pro help showcase tweets on your site which is great for bringing the social conversation to your visitors. Another favourite is Twitter Tools which includes a great feature to help you generate blog posts from your Tweets.
Instagram is growing at a phenomenal rate and if you’ve got an account that’s posting regularly you really should be showcasing those photos on your WordPress site. Instagram for WordPress (no longer available) displays all your latest photos on a sidebar allowing visitors to see your latest photos and, more importantly, follow your Instragram profile.
Instead of joining the bandwagon and tell you how big Pinterest is becoming, just know that integrating your WordPress site with Pinterest is pretty darn simple. Plugins like Pin it on Pinterest make pinning your site’s content simple.
You might notice by now that I like emails and this one is another beauty: Auto-responders. If you’re not sure what they are, Auto-responders allow you to automatically send a series of emails to a user once they complete a specific action.
For example a arts and crafts blog could give new email subscribers a 4 week series of emails with free cross-stitch patterns. Another could be an e-commerce site sending customers an automated email once they abandon the shopping cart.
So what now?
All these tweaks are things you could do right now, so why wait? Some of these tweaks can be done by yourself but if you need technical help ask your local developer or try the general WordPress community for advice.