11/13/2014 04:46 pm ET Updated Jan 13, 2015

How to Prep Your Website for the 2014 Holiday Season

With the holiday season quickly approaching, now is the time to take an in-depth look at your website and get it ready to perform during the most important time of year for online sales. Whether you are a B2B or B2C business, the holidays are the most important times of year to make sure your website is performing as well as it can be so that you don't miss out on the estimated 72.4 billion dollars of sales that will be made this season. Here are just a few ways you can get your website prepared for the holiday onslaught:

Make Sure You Are Optimized for Mobile
Many different experts have said this many times over the years, but a lot of businesses still haven't gotten the hint. If your website isn't optimized for mobile devices, you're likely going to miss out on a large percentage of potential sales that continues to grow every year. If you don't have one already, a responsive website is a great gift that you can give yourself now that will pay huge dividends for your business down the road. A responsive website for your brand helps mobile users have the same streamlined experience with website that your desktop users already enjoy. Putting a mobile-optimized function in place for your website allows mobile users to make a purchase right from their phone - making the buying process easier for them and helping to increase your online revenue during the holiday season.

Create Holiday-Focused Landing Pages
If you haven't started getting holiday-specific landing pages ready yet, now is definitely the time. Particularly if you're using paid digital marketing channels like Google's AdWords or Facebook's advertising options, having landing pages that reflect the holiday season will help drive traffic and revenue immensely. Getting everything ready to go weeks in advance can help you can make sure that landing pages are optimized to convert users and that you're getting the most out of your online advertising budget.

Start Creating Great Holiday Content

If content marketing is king, holiday content marketing is a king with a flowing cape and a sack full of toys. Creating holiday content for your website's blog like holiday-themed posts, infographics, or videos can help to generate tons of sales and traffic to your website. The further out in front of a holiday you can start this process, the more time and resources you're going to be able to dedicate to making the highest quality content possible. As a result, when you release the content right around the holiday season, you'll likely be able to drive more traffic and leads to your website than you would have if you started the process only a handful of days prior.

Learn From Last Year's Analytics
If your website has been around for some time, now is the time to look back at your analytics from last year to help inform what you do in the upcoming holiday season. Take the time to understand what types of traffic to your website performed the best, what kind of content people gravitated towards, and where resources were wasted. By doing this, you can create online marketing strategies for the coming year that are based on more than gut instinct. If you had great success last year with an email campaign or an infographic, replicating and updating those marketing strategies for the coming year is a pretty safe bet for success and certainly a better use of your resources than trying a marketing tactic that has already failed in the past.

Check Website Stability
The holiday season can be a season of great new sales opportunities and massive new sources of traffic for your website. However, if your website isn't able to handle all of the traffic without crashing, it can become a season of lost opportunities and low revenues. If you have a great new piece of content or a new product that people love that suddenly gets massive amounts of traffic because it is featured on a huge website or a viral post, you want to make sure that your website can handle traffic spikes and convert interested users. Don't wait until it's too late - test out how stable your website is now so that you can make appropriate upgrades to keep your website online through the thick and thin of the holiday season.

For Some Channels It's Already Too Late
Lots of brands know that the holiday season is one of the most important times of the year for their online business. What they fail to understand is that preparing for it only a few weeks in advance is not enough to make sure that they drive as many sales as possible. Things like conversion rate optimization (CRO) tests, PR, an active social media presence, and SEO are things you need to be doing year-round. If you're suddenly concentrating on these marketing channels only a few weeks before the holiday season begins, you're unlikely to see much benefit. However, by focusing on short-term marketing strategies that you can still optimize, you can still make sure your website is ready to convert sizable amounts of traffic during the holiday season.