HO! HO! HO! – The Holiday Spirit is Among Us
Once again, the holidays are just round the corner and we’re all making special plans. There are holiday decorations around the neighborhoods and fairy lights adorn Christmas trees. I saw Santa Claus (a decidedly plastic-y looking fellow) sliding down a drain pipe and in one yard this morning, I saw Rudolph and a veritable army of snowmen parading. These are all great things to see; they make me smile.
We decorate our homes and workplaces during the holiday festivities, so the question is, should we not also be decorating your online presence? It’s easy to forget your website or blog when you are preparing for the holidays but they are very important places. They are our online businesses and giving your website design a little decoration can get them broadcasting a little Holiday Spirit. This is great because it makes you seem a little more human to your customers and a little more in touch with the world around you both.
The holidays lie uneasily in the gap between spending large amounts of money on frivolous presents, and time for goodwill towards all men. When you go shopping around the holidays you are bombarded with holiday decorations and these sometimes start popping up in mid-October (sometimes earlier!). Now I’m not suggesting that you start decorating your website that early, but just be aware that the salesmen of the world do start selling based upon Christmas, Chanukah and Kwanzaa very early, using the subconscious connection as a selling point. This information here is not meant to increase your number of sales and I’m not suggesting you use this information to make more money … I’m just saying that a little Holiday cheer can better connect you to your clients and often this connection results in more sales.
Just making a few small minor changes to your website will give it a little of the spirit of the holidays and you may be able to make a connection with customers that you otherwise would not have been able to reach at the holidays. There are a few ways to do it:
- Give your website a “Holiday” look.
- Send out a special Holiday newsletter or Holiday cards to your customers.
- Give your customers something ‘special’ for the Holidays to show them you care.
It’s never too late; here are a few last-minute ideas to help you get your site ready for Holidays and give it some Holiday cheer. In fact, just putting some snowflakes on your site, letting your logo wear a Santa’s hat or placing a Christmas wreath or some tinsel on your home page can do wonders. We aren’t suggesting that you do everything on the following list but doing even just one or two can get your website glowing with the holiday spirit!
You may actually choose something very simple, like a background that has just Winter Colors or you may choose one with images of Christmas Trees, holiday lights or gifts from Santa. Always select the one that will look best on your website and keep in mind things like font colors when you are selecting your background.
Also, whatever it is you choose, you should always keep in mind that your visitors must still be able to read your content (i.e. no dark text on a dark background); it is there to make your visitor smile and wallow in the spirit of the Holidays.
Even adding a couple of strategic Holiday graphics can bring quite a lot of the festive mood to your website. Add a few small ones that will not take up too much space. Go for a reindeer, a bell, Christmas Trees red and white socks or anything else that you can think of that is related to the holidays.
If you can integrate your Holiday graphics along with the graphics that they already know (and love?) all the better. Your visitors want to see YOUR website dressed up for the holidays, not a brand new website with completely different graphics!
One of the easiest and smallest things to change on your website to bring a little bit of Holiday spirit to your website is to change the cursor. Just make sure that your Holiday Cursor matches your other decorations and doesn’t stand out too much from the overall design of your Holiday website.
Holiday Website Icons
If you have icons that you can change, make them to the holiday spirit. Many of your icons may be fairly plain and changing them with icons that are more cheerful is a great move. For example if you have an RSS Icon on your website, change it with one that has a snow effect or looks snowy or something – one that looks more Merrier.
Your Holiday Logo
Your logo is one of the most important graphics on your website so I am not suggesting that you completely change it, if you can Holiday-it-up a little go for it – examples could include a layer of snow atop the graphic for instance, using holiday colors in your logo or adding a little decoration, such as the Santa’s hat that you see in the Wikipedia logo on the right.
Don’t change your logo too much though, because it is an integral part of your web presence, your identity as it were and if you change it too much, you may find that your bounce rate increases because your visitors may leave your site because they are unfamiliar with the design.
Give your logo a make over for the holidays but don’t alienate your visitors! Just don’t go overboard on a full re-design.
The holidays are always associated with snow and what can be better than a snowy plug-in for your website. Snow flakes all over your website will bring the perfect mood of Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa and the New Year. Plus, they look absolutely beautiful so, do not forget to give the snowy effect to your website. Your visitors may absolutely love it. One issue with this type of plug-in however is that it will slow down the loading time of your website and this may in fact be detrimental to your visitor’s experience.
I might in fact advise against having pretty snowflakes drifting across the screen of your home page, not only can it distract from the contents of the website, but it can be seriously annoying to your potential buyers! A modest Holiday-themed border around the edge of your main page to give a nice nod to the festive season may actually be of more use to you. This way it won’t get in the way of the products or blurb on your site but it will still give the feel of the holidays.
A Holiday Gift for your Visitors
As a designer, giving a holiday gift to your visitors should not be that difficult. The best you can do is, create a web layout and publish it on your website. The visitors should be able to download it for free. This will not only prove to be a great gift, but it will also be a good marketing of your impressive, designing skills.
A Holiday Clock or Calendar
What can be better than a festive Holiday countdown clock or a cute calendar? It can guide your visitors for Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa and the New Year too. This addition can be a worthwhile as such clocks and calendars attract a lot of attention.
Google has been decorating their website for many years and not just for Christmas. They have archived their Doodles at the following URL: http://www.google.com/doodles/
For example, come the holidays, take a look at Google’s site, the Google logo will always be decorated in line with the current festivities or any special occasion. Try and do what Google does; just remember to keep your website dressed and in line with most of your website visitors’ believes. Go on, put a smile on your website visitor’s faces and make the Internet a more human place this Holiday.
As I mentioned earlier the holidays exists in the gap between frivolous spending and holiday goodwill. You can use your website to combine the two with links to charity functions that you support or, if you are holding one yourself, promote it on your home page. If you provide a service and not a product, give a reduction in the price and donate the rest to Shelter, or another charity that raises awareness of people who suffer particularly during the Holiday period.
Essential Holiday Attractions
Following are a few things which can be added to your website or blog to make it more Merrier:
- Christmas tree – There is no way that your website can do without a beautiful Christmas tree. So, make sure you have it on your website and it should be all sparkling!
- Santa Claus – The presence of Santa Claus will be missed.
- Christmas Balls – Christmas balls are considered to be one of the best gifts during winter season and they look beautiful too. If you can add a few logos in the shape of Christmas balls, do so.
- Candles – Candles, Chanukah and Kwanzaa have always been interlinked with each other. Bring some of their association in your web layout as well.
- Last but not the least; sweets are an importance part of the holidays. Logos related to sweets or cursors, anything will do.
Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa and the New Year are very special occasions and when a visitor visits your website he should feel that it is the holiday season. Try to come up with something a little mesmerizing for your users for this special occasion. Just do not let any of your decorations get in the way of your website or business’ message or content (that would be way too much decoration) and do not let your website become too crowded.
Remember though, when time has come to put away your Holiday decorations, it is time for your website’s Holiday decorations to come down too.
VodaHost wishes you and your family a Wonderful Holiday and a Happy and Healthy New Year and all the very best of luck!