Web site tips for the holidays

Each year, the amount of revenue generated online increases. More and more consumers are turning to their computers to buy products as opposed to getting in their car and driving to the store. According to internetretailer.com, in 2007, 21% of e-commerce retailers reported sales of at least $1 billion. This goes to show that the trend of consumer spending is starting to lean towards the Internet. Last year, OfficeDepot.com generated as much revenue as 565 of its brick and mortar stores, which accounted for 32% of its annual sales.

Because the Internet has become such a popular place for people to shop, the importance of effective online advertising has greatly increased. With the holiday season coming up, here's how your Web site design can effectively market your products in order to compete with other retailers.

– Change the look of your e-commerce Web site. Update your look to match the upcoming season. If you own a clothing company, for instance, doesn't it make sense that you would sell more cold-weather clothes if your Web site had a ‘wintery' feel to it?

Increase your brand awareness by using appropriate seasonal elements on your company's logo or banner. You can also place such elements and illustrations in advertisements on your site. Google adds visual elements almost daily to its search page and visitors frequent the site just to look at the latest elements.

Showcase a special offer or sale by applying seasonal appropriate colors to your copy, or background design. Graphics that portray the holiday season coupled with traditional holiday colors can really help establish a holiday motif and help make special offers stand out. Changing the look of your Web site design keeps it new and exciting for those who frequently visit it.

– Encourage sales with holiday offers. According to BizRate and Shop.org's 2006 Holiday Mood Study, almost half of the consumers polled reported that their primary motivation for buying an item online was the fact that the company offered ‘free shipping' for their products. Using such tactics in addition to changing the look of your Web site will entice consumers to buy what you are selling. Have fun with your offers by using creative copy. One example on Vertical Response's site, suggests you offer a buy one, get one free and call it the "Holiday Recession Sale."

– Update your pay-per-click campaign. In addition to changing your actual site, change your online marketing campaigns such as pay-per-click so it is current with the season. Ad copy that reflects your holiday sales will steer customers with holiday shopping in mind to your site. If you do create holiday campaigns for PPC, make sure your landing pages reflect the same offer. You might also want to consider increasing your PPC budget, especially if you are a retail or online shopping site. Holiday keywords tend to be much more competitive so you want to make sure your bid is high enough for the keywords you select.

However, make sure this is relevant to your business. Typically, this works well for retail and online shopping sites, but doesn't perform well for B2B sites.

The holiday season is a great time to capitalize on consumers who are looking to spend money on gifts. By adding seasonal elements to your web site and changing your holiday PPC campaigns, you will appeal fresh to your current customers and reach new ones.

About the Author: Betsy Brottlund