Throughout the year we try to encourage our clients to provide their websites with fresh and seasonal content to engage visitors, encourage repeat traffic and ultimately increase sales.

Often businesses struggle to think of inventive ways to achieve this and as a result end up with the same content on their websites all year round. With Christmas just around the corner we have come up with 10 ideas that businesses can incorporate on their websites in the lead up to the festive season.

1 - Add Festive Graphics and Animation

This is probably the most implemented option on websites throughout the Christmas period. You could go for something simple such as an animated falling snow background, although this has been done time and time again, so you may want to think of something a bit more out of the box to stand out from the crowd. There are also some more subtle ways in which animation and graphics could be included, for example you could temporarily change your social media icons to festive ones or add Christmas borders to highlight products and/or services.

Alternatively, you could include something a bit more complex and creative depending on your budget. For example, a nice touch could be to animate graphics of your staff members in their Christmas attire. If you are looking for something more formal you could include a bespoke Christmas scene on the home page with a few elements that are animated. Whatever you decide it is important that the graphics coincide with your branding therefore, where possible, it would be advised that you have bespoke graphics and/or photos created for your business; this will also avoid you having the same graphics as any of your competitors.

2 - Run a Christmas Competition

A competition is a great way to engage your website’s visitors, they can also increase traffic to your website when advertising them through channels such as social media. It is important to think of a prize that is big enough to give people a reason to enter but not too big that it breaks the bank! Depending on your business the prize could be one of your products or services, alternatively you could offer something more festive, such as a Christmas hamper.

When running a competition you could include a form on your website that captures the information for each entry such as their full name, contact details and of course the answer to the question (if this is how they are in with a chance to win the prize).

As with any competition, remember to include terms and conditions and a privacy statement which will highlight important information, such as the closing date for entries.

3 - Advertise Exclusive Christmas Offers

Everybody loves a special offer and Christmas is the perfect time of year for your business to run one. Once you have decided upon an offer you will need to effectively communicate it to your audience. The most obvious place to do this would be on your home page, preferably near the top of the page, for example if your website has an image banner at the top this may be the ideal spot. You should also advertise on any other appropriate pages throughout the website.

The imagery and text used should be bold and clear to grab any visitors’ attention and make it obvious within a few seconds what the offer is. Remember to also include a call to action and/or link on the banner so that if someone is interested they know how to proceed. If you have an ecommerce website, it could be that they need to enter a coupon code at the checkout or the website may automatically make the deduction for them. If you do not have an ecommerce facility you could instruct visitors to quote a reference code when making a purchase, this way you can track the success of the promotion.

Also ensure that you highlight a sense of urgency with the offer, using phrases such as ‘for a limited time only’ or ‘only 2 left’.

4 - Add a Festive Game

This is probably one of the more costly options but if it is within your budget it is a great way to encourage visitors to share your website’s content, in turn driving more traffic to it. It will also increase brand awareness and definitely make your website stand out from the sea of others within your industry. It is often the simplest of games that are the most successful for this type of scenario, also something light-hearted and even comical would be suitable for the run-up to Christmas.

Once you have a game it is important that you make it really easy for people to find on your website, as well as advertise it on all of your other marketing channels, such as social media.

For further publicity you could award a prize to the highest scorer at the end of a given period.

5 - Highlight Seasonal Products/Services

This is another popular suggestion to implement on websites during the festive season. Depending on your business, it may be obvious what products/services are more relevant in the lead up to Christmas, for example if you are a retail company you may actually sell Christmas merchandise. Alternatively, it may be that you can advertise your products/services as an ideal Christmas gift.

Remember to highlight these products/services on your home page as well as any other appropriate pages throughout your website. This may be achieved using bespoke banners and bold typography, also the position in which they are placed on the page will play an important role. You will also need to make it clear how a purchase can be made with the use of items such as buttons.

6 - Give Away Freebies

Again you do not want to break the bank in doing this, but this can be a great way to encourage traffic and content sharing. It is also an effective way to capture your visitors’ information using an electronic form. One option would be for you to give up some of your time to create a downloadable Christmas gift that includes free advice such as ‘top tips for…’.

7 - Create a Christmas Landing Page

If you run a Google Adwords campaign or any social media paid advertising you could create a Christmas landing page for these. You could then setup specific adverts geared around your festive promotions and redirect any clicks through to the landing page. The content of the page would depend on what you would like to specifically highlight or increase the conversions for. Most importantly you will need to remember to include a call to action on the page so that visitors can proceed with a purchase if they wish to.

8 - Optimise for Christmas

Around this time of year the type of searches that are carried out on Google will be largely Christmas related. It is important that you do not miss out on the opportunity to increase traffic to your website and therefore you should ensure that it is optimised for any key phrases that potential customers will be searching for.

The first thing that should be carried out is research as to what key phrases are going to get you the most conversions, as this is not necessarily always the ones that obtain the most searches. It may be more beneficial for your website to be optimised around a more niche set of key phrases where the searches are lower but also the competition for them is minimal.

Once a set of key phrases has been agreed the next step would be for you to get an SEO expert to optimise the website in time for the busy period.

9 - Keep your Customers Updated

This may seem like an obvious suggestion but many businesses do forget to add their Christmas and New Year opening times to their website. This is very important as it will avoid frustrating your customers and the last thing that you want to come back to after a nice break is a set of complaints from people who could not get hold of you.

The opening times should be clear, perhaps on your home and/or contact page. You may also wish to include an emergency contact telephone number.

10 - Wish your Customers a Merry Christmas

This sounds simple but it is something that everyone can do. You can include a Christmas message on a home page banner, within a blog post or perhaps just a small message somewhere on the website.

One final note… remember to add to your diaries to take down any festive additions that are on your website on your return in the new year.