Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Holiday Optimization Tips : Getting Your Ecommerce Site Ready For The Holidays

The holidays are right around the corner. Is your site ready for the holiday shopping season?

If not now is the time to start focusing on getting your site ready for the holidays.

I get a lot of questions from website owners like yourself, wondering when they should begin optimizing their holiday categories and products for the holidays. My answer to them is always, YESTERYEAR!

As I know you are already aware that holidays are competitive and the sooner you began optimizing your site and products for the holidays the better.

Here are some examples of when you should start optimizing:

If you have any products that are holiday specific like Halloween, and Thanksgiving you should have already begun to optimize your site months ago.

If your products are Christmas related you should begin to optimize your products and categories Today! 

Don't wait until October or November to try to start ranking for Christmas baby outfits or Holiday themed photo cards. Get started on your optimization today.

Holiday products especially Christmas themed products are very competitive and difficult to rank for if you wait until the last minute. By knowing this here are some tips that you can do to help with ranking:

1. Go through your site and pick out all of your holiday related products whether that be Halloween products, Thanksgiving Products or Christmas products.

2. Start working on your keyword research now. You will find more Halloween related search terms now since October is right around the corner. Make a long list of keywords that are being searched for. You can use Google's free keyword tool at the link below or Wordtracker's tool. Whichever you prefer. Narrow down your list of keywords to low to medium competition keywords.

3. Take those keywords and start optimizing your holiday themed category. If you don't have one set up yet but have holiday related products. Set one up now. Actually set one up for each holiday. You can have a main category that says Holiday Products and the sub categories can be Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas etc..

4. Next use those low to medium keywords in your product's title, your product's description (very important), your product's meta description and meta title (if your hosting company has separate fields for meta tags), and your product's images. Make sure that each product has it's very own unique meta title, on page description etc..

Examples are always fun, so here's an example:

You have two products that are similar. One is a red and white holiday dress and one is a red, white and green holiday dress. Here is what you can do to separate the two:

Meta title: Red and White Holiday Dress
Meta Title: Red White and Green Christmas Dress for Girls

Always differentiate your products by including the colors, who it is made for and any other specifics to help with creating unique content for each product.

5. Once you have optimized each holiday themed category and the products within the categories, now it's time to start doing some off page optimization. Start taking each one of those categories and start link building with them. Submit your categories to social bookmarking sites for the quickest exposure. Some sites would include Stumble Upon, Kaboodle, Mom Faves, Fave and others.  Create a blog post based off of each category. Once you create each blog post, submit your blog post to Stumble Upon, Digg, Delicious, Share it on Facebook and Twitter. Ask other's to pass it along.Create articles or Squidoo lenses (MY FAVE!)

Contact blog owners to see if they can do a product review and or add your link to your holiday category from their blog roll. This can be achieved here at the Circle. There are many members who would love to add your site to their blog roll.

6. Last but not least, invest a little money in Adwords especially for Halloween items, since that is right around the corner and steadily creeping up and even Back to School items. I know Adwords is intimidating but it's not impossible. Sign up for an account and set your daily budget to something you feel comfortable with. You can pause your ad campaigns whenever you want to. Keep an eye on your ad suggestions that Google makes and keep an eye on keywords that aren't preforming so well. Make sure that each ad you place has keywords in the ad that are related to the page that your visitors will see. Direct your visitors to your holiday pages, not your home pages. You have a higher chance of converting a sale that way. The less your visitors have to click to find what they are looking for, the better.

If you follow those tips, you have a great chance of benefiting from being listed on the first page of the major search engines.

Holidays are big money makers and there is no reason why you shouldn't be getting a piece of that holiday pie too!

So start on your holiday optimization right away, especially any Halloween or Thanksgiving related products. Don't wait until the last minute to start!

When all else fails, consult with a search engine optimization specialist to help you get your site prepared for the holidays.

Good Luck to you all and I hope to see you at the top!

Here are your resource links:

For all of your Holiday SEO needs visit My SEO Gal

Contact Us to find out how you can get 15% off our services for the holidays.

Carla Phillips

Friday, July 2, 2010

Images of heaven

We live in an age of images, in which photography and photoshop, CGI and advertising, surround and enfold us in an inescapable cascade of pictures and fragments of pictures, sometimes to the extent of seeming to create a whole artificial world. The elderly are often dependent on the TV that serves as a companion and tranquillizer, the young live their lives through the computer screen on their phone or laptop. The word "icon" now signifies for most people something purely secular - a tiny image that opens up into an application, or else the trademark appearance of some celebrity. Paradoxically, in this Age of the Image, we have lost the ability to read images - to see through them into their meaning. Instead we go through them to other images, and are caught in an endless chain of distraction. To read images we must appreciate symbolism. The image signifies something ultimately real yet invisible, something grasped by intuition or intellect using the image as a support. We need a revival of "mystagogy". This is something church architects and artists have rediscovered, and as a result many new churches may be easier to pray in than some built in the last generation. Matthew Alderman writes about this in "Heaven Made Manifest" from Antiphon magazine ("The crucifixion is just a symbol, but symbols still have meaning, especially in this age so starved of symbol, sign, and iconography"). The symbolism of the Christian temple is analysed in great detail by Jean Hani in a book of that title. The leader of the new movement in church architecture is Duncan Stroik, who directs the Institute for Sacred Architecture at Notre Dame and its brilliant journal. Take a look, also, at Liturgical Environs by Steven J. Schloeder. The beacons are lit...

Photo of Westminster Cathedral by Rose-Marie Caldecott.