With the pandemic making people purchase more products online, this year’s Black Friday may well be the biggest yet for retail websites. To make the most of the annual spending spree, however, your site needs to be prepared. Here’s how to get your website primed for Black Friday 2021.
Get your sales items ready in time
As Friday 26th November approaches, you should have your website ready in plenty of time for the sales. You may need to create a special Black Friday shopping category that contains all the items on offer, you’ll want to display an eye-catching Black Friday sales tag for each item and you’ll need to let customers know how much they are saving by displaying the discount.
Putting all this in place requires quite a bit of work. You’ll have to decide which products are going in the sale and how much discount you can afford to offer, you’ll need to create the new category, move sale products to it and ensure the discount and promotional material is displayed for each item. Additionally, you may also want to set up your site to maximise sales by offering upselling and cross-selling deals and displaying related products.
Get the message out
People will flock to Google in search of deals on Black Friday and its those websites that rank well which will take the lion’s share of visitors. For this reason, it’s a good idea to create special landing pages for Black Friday and ensure that these are optimised with relevant keywords and quality content.
While you don’t need to publish your sales products until Black Friday, the landing pages that link to them need to be live on your site well before 26 November, as they’ll need to be indexed by Google before they can appear in search results. You can add the links to the products when the sale goes live: in the meantime, use the Black Friday landing page as a teaser, perhaps even for taking email addresses so you can send reminders to interested shoppers on the day itself.
Not all your efforts should go into gaining traffic from search engine results. You should also consider using PPC advertising for the sale, though this might be the most expensive time of the year to do so. Another important part of your marketing should be to promote your Black Friday sale on social media. The earlier you can start doing this, the better – and remember to link to your landing pages.
Make sure your website can handle the traffic
Though Black Friday is the biggest selling day of the year for many websites, for plenty of others it’s a disaster. The main reason is that they get so much traffic, their server isn’t able to cope with demand. Without sufficient RAM, CPU and bandwidth resources to cater for the spike, your website may begin to function very sluggishly. As a result, you’ll see visitors leaving as quickly as they arrive and those much-anticipated sales won’t happen. The worst-case scenario is that your site will go offline: not only will you lose sales but any investment in advertising will also have been wasted.
If you are expecting significant traffic, the best way to avoid downtime is to ensure your hosting package provides all the resources you need. This may mean scaling up to a bigger package or a more powerful hosting solution like VPS, dedicated server or cloud. Those sites using shared hosting are the ones most at risk here.
Make sure your site is secure
There are two reasons for making sure your site is secure in time for Black Friday. The first is to gain the trust of potential customers. You may get a lot of new visitors during the sale who are unfamiliar with your brand. Making sure your site is seen as secure will give them increased confidence to carry out financial transactions on your website.
The most important way to do this is to have an SSL certificate installed which encrypts data sent between a user’s browser and your server and which stops payment details being stolen in transit. Once you have an SSL certificate, web browsers will display the padlock icon next to your URL in the browser address bar, signifying to users that your site is safe. Without an SSL, instead of a padlock, users will see the words ‘Not secure’ and a triangular warning icon. If they click on this, they are warned not to enter sensitive information, like passwords or credit card details, on your site.
The second reason for ensuring your site is secure is that Black Friday is an exceptionally busy day for cybercriminals seeking to take advantage of the hectic goings-on. The day is associated with a rise in all forms of criminal activity: phishing scams, DDoS and ransomware attacks, online fraud, malware distribution and site hacking. It is imperative that, before Black Friday begins, you have made your site as secure as possible and that you have backups in place to restore it quickly if it is attacked.
WHUK provides a wide range of security features, including advanced firewalls, intrusion detection and prevention systems, spam filters and remote, encrypted backup solutions.
2021 could well be a bumper year for Black Friday sales with people buying online in greater numbers. To take advantage of this, you’ll need to prepare your site in time, optimise landing pages, promote your sales on social media and via advertising, make sure your site can cope with increased traffic and that it’s secure.
If your site needs secure, high-performance hosting, visit our homepage to see our range of hosting solutions.