As soon as the Halloween items roll into the clearance section of the store, the winter holiday items roll into place. If you have a brick-and-mortar store, you have to consider whether or not to add any decorations for the winter holidays, but what about your web site? From sales to events to well-wishes, how do you know whether your web site should be included in the holidays?
Large online retailers start the holiday reminders as early as possible. Amazon has started already with the "best of" lists for gifts:
And vacation destinations add special packages to their web sites:
These are the obvious ones -- of course big retailers and vacation spots advertise on their web sites for the holidays. What about your web site, though? Should you add holiday decorations, images, and wishes to your site? Here's a handy guide:
Are you offering special holiday deals? Definitely share them on your web site!
Are you having a public holiday event? Are you hosting a customer appreciation event? In-store demonstrations? A special one-hour sale? A community service event or food/coat drive? Post it to your home page!
Are you a religious institution? This should be a given -- add all applicable information for how your community plans to observe the holiday.
Are your hours changing? If you're in the US or Canada, no one expects you to be working on Christmas Day or New Years' Day. Any other times your hours deviate from normal, you should post that to your site. You never want a customer or client expecting to reach you and left out in the cold -- sometimes literally.
- If you're looking for nice holiday stock photography or clip art online, be sure you've chosen images for which you have republication rights.
- Any design changes to represent the holidays should be tasteful and appropriately represent your community's diversity
- Holiday-specific information and design should be taken down when the holiday is over. Nothing says "neglected web site" like a holiday sale you can still read about on the home page in April.
If, however, all your answers to the questions above lead to "ho ho NO," you should leave the holidays off of your web site. If there is nothing about the holidays that pertains to your business, then there is no need to represent them in your web site. On an individual basis, you can wish your customers and clients well, but your web site can stay the way it is.