Keeping your website updated from home during Covid-19
In this article, we'll walk you through everything you need to know about updating your website during Covid-19, including specific tools you can use and strategies that can generate additional income.
21 April 2020 · 8 min read
Looking for ways to keep your business going strong during the Covid-19 pandemic? Though these times are uncertain, it’s an opportunity to polish parts of your business that have been neglected, like updating your website.
In this article, we’ll walk you through what you need to know about updating your site during Covid-19, including specific tools you can use and strategies that can generate additional income.
3 ways to update your website
Most methods for updating your website fall into one of three categories: DIY, outsourcing, and CMS. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. Below, we explain each option and give advice on which businesses or individuals should pursue each method.
1. Do it yourself
The first way to update your website is to do it yourself, which you should be able to do from the comfort of your home office. The odds are pretty good that you’re reading this because you don’t know how to update your website yourself. Although we aren’t doing a full tutorial right now, there are several resources that you can access for free, like Codecademy, that will walk you through the process.
Updating your website on your own is a good idea if you already have a bit of coding knowledge under your belt and you don’t have an overly complicated website. The DIY approach will work best for tech-savvy individuals and small businesses.
2. Hire someone to do it for you
If you don’t feel comfortable updating your website during Covid-19 on your own, not to worry! Hiring a developer remotely is easier now than it’s ever been before. There are thousands of developers all over the world who would love to help you keep your website in working order.
The trickiest part of hiring a developer is the hiring process. You’ll have to first find a developer to interview, vet them, discuss your plans with them, and pay them. All of these things require a bit of hiring know-how, as well as the ability to invest in a developer.
There are two primary ways to find a freelance developer to update your website during Covid-19. The first is to find a web development agency; these agencies employ several different developers, acting as a simple and friendly way for you to outsource the job. The second is through freelancing websites like Upwork. Although this is option is generally cheaper, it can also be a bit more hit and miss.
3. Use a website builder
Lastly, we have website builders or CMS services. You’ve probably interacted with one of these at some point since they’re so common. These platforms include Wix, Squarespace, WordPress, and more.
For most businesses and individuals, updating your website through a CMS is going to be an ideal solution. They’re much more intuitive than interactive with code directly, making them much easier to learn. They’re affordable as well, which allows you to skip the process of hiring a developer or working with an agency.
The catch of a website builder or CMS is that if your website doesn’t already use one, you’ll have to migrate your website to it or rebuild it from scratch. Fortunately, this is usually much easier than you would expect (especially at B12!), and certainly much easier than building a website completely from scratch. If your website isn’t too large and you want to use your time at home to invest in a big website update, now is a great time to make the switch to a website builder or CMS.
Updating your website during Covid-19
Now that you’ve (hopefully) decided on how you want to update your website during Covid-19, it’s time to decide what you want to update. We’ve put together a couple of ideas that will benefit you and your customers during this stressful time.
Add your updated hours
If you have a physical store location, this is one of the first changes you should make when updating your website. All over the world, governments are passing emergency legislation to limit the activity of walk-in businesses to help slow down the spread of the virus.
Businesses that have already had to change their hours likely have signage posted at their physical location, letting people know. However, you may not have thought of updating your displayed hours on your website yet.
This is equally as important as updating the hours on your building, as it will prevent customers from leaving their homes to visit your business, only to learn that it isn’t open. This short trip can further the spread of the virus and create frustration for your customers. Updating the hours on your site will avoid these negatives altogether.
Notify customers of operation changes
You’ll also want to let your customers know if anything about your operation has changed. Once again, this helps avoid frustration, confusion, and the spread of the virus. Your operational updates should answer questions like:
- Are you still shipping packages?
- Is your dine-in area open?
- Are you taking on new clients?
- Are you holding meetings over Zoom?
- Will my service be canceled?
- Can this month’s installment due date be extended?
Adding a clear and concise section on your website dedicated to addressing these sorts of concerns will put your customers at ease. It will also alleviate some of the burden on your customer support staff, which is more than likely being inundated with questions, concerns, and agitated customers.
Let customers know how they can help
A great way to use your website to show customers that you care is to incorporate ways for customers to support you during this pandemic. As the economy’s disruption affects small businesses and employees, you can use your website to improve the situation and garner support from your loyal customers.
One way to do this is to have links on your homepage where site visitors can donate to help fight Covid-19 and support your business. If your business relies on in-person interactions, you can also create a new product or service that customers can access online. For example, restaurants can share recipes with their customers over email or cooking tutorials via Zoom.
Add new ways to interact with your service
Last but not least, you can use this time to take certain aspects of your business online. This will help you maintain customer retention during this period and could even generate a revenue stream depending on how you go about it. Here are a few ways to use your website during Covid-19.
Move your appointments online
This is one of the simplest and most common strategies that businesses are implementing during the pandemic. There are several different services you can use for this purpose, including Skype, Google Hangouts, Zoom, FaceTime, and even old-fashioned phone calls.
Just make sure that you’re aware of any security issues that these services could pose. Find the solution that’s right for you without compromising your customers’ security.
Create strong online customer support
If you have any sort of customer support line, whether it’s live chat, email, or phone, your customer support team is likely overwhelmed right now with questions and concerns from customers. People want to know when your new hours are, what services you’re still providing, and if you’re doing anything to address the pandemic.
As mentioned, you can alleviate some of the strain on your customer support staff by adding a Covid-19-specific FAQ on the front page of your website. You can also hire additional customer support staff and create faster ways of responding to customers.
Ramp up your email marketing
Another great way to expand your company’s online presence during this time is to increase your email marketing output. Email marketing is one of the most cost-effective methods of reaching your customers, and with everyone staying at home, people may be more likely to read a weekly newsletter.
In addition to keeping your customers connected through email marketing, you can also create new website content, like videos, blog posts, and social media posts. This way, customers don’t feel as isolated from your service during the upcoming weeks.
Choosing the right website platform in 2020
We’ve already covered ways to learn how to update your website on your own or to find someone else to do it on your behalf. Now we’re going to suggest a few of the best platforms out there. These tools will give you the ability to easily create a website from scratch as well as update it on your own for an affordable price.
Naturally, we suggest using B12 as your website builder for several reasons. With B12 you can:
- Design your website yourself or work with experts
- Easily manage online appointments with your customers
- Communicate with your customers through integrated chat and email marketing
- See the first draft of your new website right away, with a finished site ready in 1-2 weeks
- Benefit from our combination of artificial intelligence and expert designers
- Easily update your website at any time based on your specific needs
All of these features and more are available with B12!
With a significant percentage of the internet running on WordPress, it’s an option that you can’t ignore. It’s one of the most affordable CMS services available, with a plethora of add-ons, integrations, and templates to choose from.
A downside of WordPress is that it has a bit of a learning curve to it, which can make it difficult for those new to web-building to fully dive in. Still, if you have the time to invest in learning, WordPress is a great option.
For something a little simpler than WordPress, there’s Wix. Wix is more costly than WordPress, but it features drag-and-drop web-building, which makes it easy to build your website in just a few hours. It may not be as personalized or intricate as other platforms, but for freelancers and some small businesses, Wix’s features will get the job done.
Keep your website updated during Covid-19
The current pandemic is a stressful experience for businesses and consumers alike. However, it’s also a great time to focus on the customer and brainstorm ways to keep them connected to your service at all times. Updating your website is one of the best ways to stay close to your customers while also maintaining your distance.
At B12, we give you the option to make website updates any time, but we also make it easy for you to work with our experienced design, SEO, and copywriting experts. During these unprecedented times, we want to help you manage and communicate changes to your business.
For more articles on improving your website and business during this time, check out the rest of the B12 Resource Center.