As a result of the COVID-19, many of us are figuring out how to operate without a physical storefront, in-person events, and other core services. Which means our website is now our only “location” open for operation.
The little update banners we put up the first few weeks were a nice first step, but since this new normal is here to stay, we have to go much further than that.
We need to turn our websites into vibrant digital storefronts that continue to serve our communities and clients while keeping ourselves afloat.
This is the first of a three part series on how to revamp your website to help your business or nonprofit organzation thrive—or at least survive—in these uncertain times. And many of us, I suspect, will find new ways of using digital tools to serve our audiences that we might actually like and continue using one things go back to normal.
- Part 1: Perfecting Your Online Presence
- Part 2: Moving Your Products and Services Online
- Part 3: Building Your Audience
Let’s dive into Part 1.
How to pivot your website for the Covid-19 lockdown
So the first thing to keep in mind is the path your user takes on your website—which is likely very different now than it was pre-lockdown. You want to make sure that the first thing they see is the product or service you are currently offering during the lockdown.
- For Everyone: Have a disclaimer or short paragraph on what exactly has changed for your business or organization during this time. And let people know how they can continue to support you! This will likely be the first thing people want to look at.
- For Restaurants: You’ll want to have your takeout menu and your order online option as the very first thing people see when they hit your website. You’ll also want to have your menu right below it or somewhere easily seen. Your updated hours and any other relevant information should also be extremely visible.
- For Museums: Consider showcasing your virtual tours on the front page, learning resources, or galleries right on the front page.
- For Shops: Let people know if they can shop your store online and what your shipping times are looking like.
- For Nonprofits: How you have adapted to serve your community better during this time. And how people can continue to offer support.
- For Services: Make it clear what services you’re still able to provide and what adaptations you’ve made to keep everyone safe.
Basically, the idea here is to make it easy for people to quickly figure out what they can purchase or how they can support or interact with you during the lockdown.
If your website content is still fully living in the good ol’ days, customers will likely assume you’re closed. Don’t leave prominent calls to action for people to come in for a consultation, reserve a table, etc.
Remember, your online presence might be your only presence at this point. The goal is to optimize your business accordingly. Just like you would optimize your physical presence to make your business stand out, you should be doing the same for your online presence during this time.
Social media vs. organic web traffic
I see a lot of businesses optimizing their social media presence at this time, which is amazing! You can log onto Facebook and see their updated hours, or take a look at their latest Instagram post to learn that they are still delivering beers during this time.
But keep in mind that everyone who interacted with your business in the past may not have social media or may not follow you on Instagram. There are still plenty of people who are searching up your business on Google and checking your website for up to date information.
We are updating our online presence for these people so that they can still support us in the easiest way possible during this time. We don’t want people to come to your website and worry that they aren’t getting updated information. Your website should feel like a living, breathing, reliable presence. So people should be able to log on to your website and know exactly what is going on and how to interact with you moving forward.
Keeping in touch with your users
Lastly, you’re going to want to have some sort of way to let your community know when things go back to normal, or when you make another change to your offering/service in the future. The best way to do this is to collect emails.
Everyone has an email, and yes, they do check them most of the time. Have a way to collect emails so that you can send periodic updates to your community whenever things change. This is also great for when you run promotions or sales…you can simply email your community about it.
Another option here is to have links to your social media and update your community there. However, I do think having both options is important as an email list is something completely owned by you, and its a direct line to your most loyal subscribers.
That’s it for part one of the lockdown series! Be sure to check back for parts two and three that will be dropping soon.
Stay safe and stay on point!