What to do with your website during the COVID-19 lockdown

In this blog we outline some simple actions you can take to ensure your website works hard for you to 1) update your clients and 2) lay a foundation for the future.

At Rocketspark we have clients across a broad range of industries and have observed the impact of C19 on many businesses.  We’ve seen the good news stories of businesses who have innovated and created brand new businesses, we’ve seen some massive uplifts in online sales via our ecommerce platform and sadly we’ve also heard the stories of thriving businesses such as mobile massage therapists whose business stopped almost overnight.  

Whether you are able to continue trading or not your website is a key communication tool. 

(if you are an online store please head across to see what we recommend for ecommerce)

Make it clear to customers your current status

To maintain a connection with your customers it’s good to explain to them your current situation.  There is still a lot of confusion in some sectors about what is an essential service business that is able to remain open during a lockdown. You can remove all doubt for your customers as to your status and in a time of confusion for customers will appreciate the clarity that you can provide.

See our guide for How to add a COVID-19 stack to your website

Explain to clients the steps you are taking to keep them safe

There is a lot of nervousness about catching and spreading COVID-19.  If you are a business that is able to keep operating it’s important to explain the steps that you are taking to keep customers safe.

If you are not currently able to trade there is a high likelihood that when you return to operating again your customers will want to know what steps you are taking and this is content you can be working on now to be ahead of the game.

Leave your service pages online so that they’re visible to Google

It takes time and effort to improve your search rankings and your pages will disappear from Google very quickly if you turn them offline.  Leave your various services pages online and communicate what services you are and aren’t providing to maintain your rankings.

Take bookings and prepare quotes for future services

While there is a lot of uncertainty around how long lockdowns will last you can at least continue to lead clients towards preparing for when you will be open again.

If you are operating in a sector that serves clients through appointments you could continue to take bookings through your online booking system.  My wife has purchased some hair colour for me to do the job while in lockdown and she’ll be hanging out to be able to to book in her next appointment ahead of the stampede that will occur worse than the 2020 toilet paper rush.  

The lockdown period might also be a great chance to prepare quotes and pricing packages for customers. Perhaps you could prepare a page which explains the information you need to prepare a quote and make it clear to potential customers that you are able to prepare quotes via email, voice calls or video calls.

Do you have a service or product you can provide online?

We’ve had a big increase in queries from clients asking how they can sell their services remotely such as fitness or yoga classes.  Even better, can you sell your classes on subscriptions. One of our clients (who is also a Rocketspark design partner) has added an online fitness class service (see Flourish) which people sign up to via recurring subscription and join the class via video. Liora from Flourish reports that the initial results are very encouraging.  

Our COVID-19 Pharmacy Playbook has some great information about online chat services and appointment booking services such as Calendly.  

At Rocketspark we’re predicting that the longer the lockdowns are in place there will be a broader range of product and service providers who are able to resume trading.  For example, you might be a food service provider such as a bakery who was previously required to close but as the restrictions ease you may be able to operate online ordering and collection services.  Preparing your site for ecommerce is not overly difficult but it does take time to get your products set up online so it's worth investing the available time to be ready to take orders as soon as the gates open.

Contact us to discuss ideas for how you could convert your normal service into an online service and we’d be pleased to help.

Also see our guide on setting up an online store in a hurry during lockdown.

Write, write, write! Answer your clients questions via your website

Working your way up the search rankings takes time and effort.  The most consistent way we see for improving your search engine rankings is to have great content on your website that covers very specific topics.  A great place to start is to think about the top 10 questions you are regularly asked by clients or potential clients. Then, write down the answer and add it to your website as either a blog post or as a landing page.

Landing pages which are focussed on a very specific topic can be very beneficial for your search rankings.  They take time to prepare but are worth the effort so if you have some capacity to produce more written content it’s worth the investment.  When I was involved with setting up this store www.pureandwholesome.co.nz we set up landing pages for the specific brands we sold and the landing pages linked to the product pages to buy the product.  The brand landing pages didn’t feature in the website’s menu but did help our search rankings for the brands we had landing pages for.

The content that you prepare can then be shared via email marketing and social media so you’ll have some great resources for your upcoming marketing efforts.

Connect with your customers through email marketing

When the lockdowns start to lift you’ll be raring to go again so it will be really beneficial to establish a connection with your customers and potential customers through email marketing. You should never do bulk email via your business email address as you’ll risk getting blacklisted by spam filters so it’s important to use email marketing software which also has a number of other benefits such as creating beautiful email campaigns and seeing which emails are opened and clicked.    

Rocketspark has a beautifully simple connection with Mailchimp email marketing and you can add a Mailchimp email signup form with just a few clicks (after you've set up your Mailchimp account).

Add a social media feed to your website

I’m not usually a fan of having social media feeds on a website home page as it’s like showing your visitors an exit door to the world of memes and funny videos and you’ll have lost them for hours.  However, in the current environment where the world around us is changing by the day, a social media feed is a great way to communicate with visitors arriving at your site and showing them that you’re on to it and up to date.  

Experiment with live chat

Live chat on your website is typically a powerful tool to convert visitors into customers or clients.  However, as a small business you may not typically have the capacity within your business to be sitting around responding to chats which do require a timely response.  However, if you have been required to close down currently you may have the capacity to add a live chat service to your site and maximise every opportunity for when we’re let loose again.  

Good chat software will let you configure the hours you provide live chat and you can also only trigger the live chat if a customer does certain things on your website such as visiting a services or pricing page.

See our guide for how to Embed Live Chat Software into your website and How How to add Facebook Customer Chat to your website 

Read the book

We’ve written a great book on making an effective website.  It’s called How to Build a Website Click by Click and is a nice step by step manual that walks you through all the essentials for making your website effective.  The book is written in plain language so it is easy to follow. The book is also used by The University of Waikato as a textbook for their digital marketing course.  

eBook - How to build a Website Click by Click

We’re here to help so please ask us

The team at Rocketspark are ready and willing to help you through this time so please don’t hesitate to reach out to our Customer Success Team if you need help with your website or want to discuss any of the suggestions above.