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More holiday shoppers than ever will be hitting online storesthis year. Is your website ready to meet their needs and generateas much revenue as possible during this key time of year?

Over 30 percent of online shoppers say they’ll make more oftheir holiday purchases over the Internet, citing convenience, easyprice comparisons, and the ability to avoid crowds as their mainreasons for increasing their online spending, according to a studyby BIGresearch.

If your website isn’t already in shape for the holiday season,now is the time to give it a makeover. The local Internet marketing expertsat Orange Soda offer the following tips for getting your websiteready for the holidays:

* Offer free shipping – and let people know about it.

It’s still a tough economy, and shoppers will be looking forincentives to shop at your online store. If you fail to offer freeshipping this holiday season, you might well be one of the fewonline stores that doesn’t; nearly 85 percent of online retailerssay they will offer free shipping this holiday season, according tothe BIGresearch study.

Get the word out by listing your free shipping offer They will include your logo on a list of websitesthat offer free shipping for a day on Dec. 17. Small businesses canbenefit from the exposure by registering on the site. It’s cheaperthan running an ad, and it can bring you new customers.

“Though last year’s participants included Macy’s, Kohl’s, Toys’R’ Us and other top retailers looking to leverage the traffic, some of the event’s greatest impact was onsmaller retailers without the marketing budget to spread news oftheir holiday offers across the Web,” according

* Run paid advertisements on search engines.

Called paid search advertising, these ads show up on searchengines and are triggered by the words people type when they do asearch online. They are a very efficient type of advertising basedon an auction-type model. Anyone can run a campaign (such asadvertising free shipping for the holidays), but it’s easy to losemoney and is quite technical to run. To get the most for yourmoney, it may make sense to choose a company like Orange Soda thatprovides pay per click management.

* Prepare an online gift guide.

Arrange popular holiday products by age, gender or price andlink to your gift guide on your home page. Make sure to promote theguide in press releases and on social networking websites as partof your searchengine marketing plan.

* Check that your shopping cart works and your website loadsquickly.

If you build it and they come, make sure your website works.Your website should load quickly and the shopping cart should workwithout a glitch or people will click away. Also make sure yourwebsite is accessible by mobile phone.

More shoppers will be using their phones this holiday season,according to Internet Retailer. Customers are starting to compareprices when they’re standing in a store looking at the merchandisethey want to buy. To capture their business, it’s important to makeeach activity on your site as streamlined and easy as possible forshoppers accessing your website from a mobile phone.

For more tips watch this video on optimizingfor the holidays.

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