There has never been a worldwide pandemic of this magnitude during the Internet age. Many businesses have been ordered to shelter-in-place by the government. So what does that mean for your website? In this article, we will share what some of our clients have chosen to do and answer some common questions on this subject matter.
Every business has been impacted differently and therefore each response will be different. What needs to be done is to communicate to your audience what they should expect out of your company.
For some, it is the changing of business hours. For others, it is a complete suspension of service. Whatever severity it may be, do not bury the lead as you may risk inconvenience for people who are potentially still interested in what you do now or after the COVID-19 pandemic.
If your company is deeply affected by government quarantine orders, you should consider a persistent banner that appears on the top of every single page on the website. The reason for this is that some visitors may come in through a bookmark or a search engine and may not see the homepage or other sections you have updated. The message itself should be brief in nature and can be in the tone of your brand voice.
For some companies, a more thorough message is necessary to let the audience know what issues they are up against. In this case, we still recommend a persistent banner on the top of every page but you can also link to your News or Blog page from there. This means you can get the best of both worlds.
Companies that require immediate notice to their customers for an essential service can do both the persistent banner, news/blog update as well as update the homepage. Depending on the type of business, you can reroute the audience to the proper alternative or use this time to build a relationship with your audience by being a leader and properly communicate with them what to expect.
In the case of an online store or service that is not operational — turn off the functionality so the audience is not tempted to try to use it. Make sure they are well communicated on what to expect from you as described above.
Do not take down your website. Even if you are not operational, it is still to your benefit to let potential customers know you exist for when the pandemic is over. Taking your website offline can negatively impact Search Engine Optimization, publicity from other websites linking to yours during this time or even confuse your existing customers as to what your current status is.
Another recommendation is to limit the topics of communication to how your business is affected and leave political and medical commentary out of it. The visitors to your website during quarantine are seeking updated business information so it is risky to provide ancillary commentary that might be erroneous and cause you more pain later on. Our recommendation would be to use your social media channels as a better channel for this type of conversation.
For some companies, it’s a time of adjustment during this time and you can look into what you can be doing online instead of what cannot be done. If your business website needs help with the production of banners, articles or homepages during the pandemic please contact Amanda Ray for more information on how Westminster can help you.