We all deserve a break - but for people who run online stores, and in particular small one or two person teams, deciding what to do with your store while you are away can be difficult.
Although Shopify does not have a 'holiday mode' (similar to 'vacation mode' used by shopping platforms such as Etsy) it recommends 'password protecting your shop', which means that when people visit your site, they will see a login page which you can customise, but customers have no access to the store itself. Let's take a look at this option and see if there is a better method.
The Password Protect Method
Pros: Prevents users making a purchase
Cons: Prevents users making a purchase, can impact SEO negatively.
For the password protect method, the main pro is actually the same as the main con, and it's something you'll need to weigh up yourself. Although this method effectively takes your store offline and therefore prevents users making a sale, there may be instances when a customer would have still been happy to make a purchase.
You also run the risk that if Google's bots (or any other searchbots) crawl your website while it's 'offline' then your SEO can be negatively impacted and in some cases this can take some time to remedy.
A better way: Just Inform Your Customers
Sometimes we over-engineer things - I believe the best way to handle leaving your store for short breaks is to simply let your customers know, so they can decide for themselves if they want to purchase. You may still end up with some sales, your SEO will remain intact, and you might also have some customers view the site and decide to purchase later; the important thing is that your store is still there for the public and Google to see.
Carrying this out depends on your store's theme, but it's a good idea to carry out the following five things: (If you would like more help for the technical side of things in order to carry this out, please let us know).
- Run a banner across the top of your website to inform users of your holiday dates and the delays that can be expected.
- Add a message for each product page near the cart as a reminder of this (we want to make sure the customer has no excuse that they did not know).
- Update your shipping description to remind customers in the checkout.
- Update your delivery page that outlines delivery times and rates.
- Update your order confirmation email template to remind users of the delay.
And there we have it - a simple way to being able to earn while you holiday, while maintaining good SEO.