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The 5 Most Important Things to Do With Your Website to Move Forward

At this time, the economy has been shut down 3 weeks with only essential businesses open - and others working virtually, as they can. Times have changed for sure and it's not easy seeing people affected by a serious flu outbreak.

Coronavirus - man using a face mask

So What Does This Mean For Your Business and Website?

It's time to move forward if your business can. Even now, if you're still in a holding pattern, you can turn your attention to your website now that you might have some extra time and make some important changes. What you need now is for your website to work harder for you and your business.

Here are 5 of the most important things to do with your website to get your business moving forward:

1. Convey to Your Prospects and Customers What is Going On

There are people looking at your website during this time. The first thing to do is to explain to them where you're at:

  • Are you closed?
  • Are you working some hours or by appointment?
  • Are your services virtual or contact-less?
  • Are you continuing to provide some services now?

The best place to do this is on your website's home page. You can find a place near the top to post this kind of message or even use a notification bar or popup. People need to be able to find it and it needs to work on desktop and mobile devices.

Here is a guide to how this message should be structured:

  1. Make sure you first comfort them and relate to the situation going on.
  2. Next, explain your situation so your customers understand what is happening on your end.
  3. Explain exactly what you're providing right now, if anything, and how those products/services are being provided.
  4. Ask your customers to bear with you and give them assurance that you're planning on getting back to normal (if this is what you plan on doing).
  5. Thank them for understanding and ask them to come back for updates or sign up for an e-newsletter to get updates.

Once this is over, your e-newsletter is going to be an important tool for you to broadcast messages to your clients and prospects, so make sure it's set up and running fine.

And then make sure the operating hours you have listed on your website are correct and up to date.

2. Update Your Hours on Google My Business, Yelp, and Other Websites

Google My Business

To make sure people searching for you on mobile devices or voice search gets the right information, login to your Google My Business account, Yelp, or any other website that lists your business hours.

Having accurate information out there will show Google that you're keeping things updated and, of course, keep your customers up to date so that they're not showing up at your business because they saw it was open.

Once this is over, make sure you have a checklist of what you need to do to bring your business back up and running and add an item to change your hours back on these websites.

3. Make Sure Other Information on Your Website is Current

While we're in a holding pattern, you can be going through your website to make sure the information on it is correct and up to date. Here are some things to check:

  • Is the staff list up to date?
  • Are your products/services up to date?
  • Is the information on your About Us page current?
  • Make sure your address is on all pages (usually at the bottom) and correct. It should match with how Google lists your address.
  • Check over other pages, making sure the information you list is still accurate.

Make those updates to your website yourself if you can or contact your website design company for assistance.

4. Make Sure Your Website Software is Up to Date

If you haven't been keeping up with updates to software on your website... first, shame on you. 🙂 Second, take the time to do it now. Right now, hackers have more time on their hands, too, and they're looking for easy targets. Websites that have outdated software are like houses with broken windows and doors left wide open. You wouldn't let your business building or office get this way, so take the time to fix things.

Here is a guide to updating your website:

  1. Take a backup of the website files and database. If you don't know how to do this, contact your host. Even if there are nightly backups taken, you want to take a backup right before the work so that you have those files readily available in case something goes wrong. If you don't do this, you might have to wait hours or even a day for your host to restore a backup for you.
  2. Perform the upgrades/updates. Most website software has some functions to get things up to date. Make sure you update everything. For example, with WordPress, you need to update the core software, themes, and plugins/extensions/widgets.
  3. Test your website. Go to your website and start checking it. Click from page to page. Go to important pages. Test any forms like on your Contact Us page. Test your e-commerce (do a test order and then refund yourself/void it). Check the website in an incognito/private window. Check on multiple computers and devices (like phones and tablets).
  4. Fix anything that is broken. This one's a little tricky because most people are PHP developers or are super skilled with CSS or JavaScript. Sometimes different plugins have JavaScript that clashes - meaning, an update on one plugin might affect another one. If you're not sure how to do this, get help - we have a Website Maintenance Department, for example.
  5. If it can't be fixed, restore the backup. If things are in bad shape, you might need to go to your backups and restore them. How to do this will vary from website to website.

Once that is done, make sure you have a plan in place to get regular website maintenance done. We have a program called Website Care where we update our clients' websites weekly. These sites don't see many problems at all in terms of compromises.

5. Use This Time to Improve Your Website/Online Presence

WordPress screen to add a new post

You might have more free time than normal right now, so use it to focus on your website. See this time as an opportunity to improve your website.

Here are ways to improve your website:

  • Update old content
  • Add new content on your blog or landing pages
  • Work on getting it to load faster
  • Work on making it voice searchable
  • Make sure every page loads securely
  • Do a redesign
  • Optimize pages for search
  • Add e-commerce
  • Add e-learning/training
  • Add a ticket system to handle support
  • Improve your newsletter/autoresponder
  • Set up landing pages and run pay-per-click (PPC) ad campaigns
  • Post on your social media pages (Facebook, Google My Business, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, etc.)
  • Do a business listing scan and make sure your citations (name, address, phone) are correct

Conclusion

Yes, times are tough right now... there's no doubt about that. Do what you need to do to keep you, your family, and your team safe and healthy. After that, use this time as an opportunity to make updates or improve your website. With the items listed here, we've now given you a lot to do - so get to it!

As always, Webstix is available for help. We have a very capable Maintenance Department, as well as designers, programmers, SEO people, PPC experts, and more. We're working virtually during this time and we're even getting new projects. If you need help, please contact us.

-Tony

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