We’re in a crazy time right now. And there are so many questions floating around in regards to what’s happening, dealing with the chaos, your health, your family, and your business.
So I wanted to help take one thing off of your plate.
When it comes to your website, what should you be doing during this crisis to make your announcements, business updates, and customer acknowledgments easy to find for the people that are searching for you?
How can you strategize your website to both help your customers & maximize your SEO?
There are a few options, depending on your business type & website platform. Let’s dive in.
#1. Create a blog post with your announcement details on it.
The first thing you’re going to want to do is to create a new blog post that has all of the details of your announcement on it.
- Have your hours of operation changed? Include that.
- Are you closed until a certain date? Include that.
- Are you offering delivery or curbside pickup? Include that.
- Are you offering some kind of support for your community, customers, or clients? Include that.
- Do you have product or service specials or deals happening? Include that.
Basically, whatever information you want to get across to your people, put it in a blog post.
#2. Be clear about support options
At the bottom of your blog post with your announcements make it SUPER CLEAR how your people can SUPPORT YOU, especially if you’re a physical business that is relying on the support of your customers & clients at this time.
For example, if you’re a DIY Creative Studio and having people buy gift cards to use at a later time is what can REALLY help….say it.
People are coming together & down to support in any way they can.
It’s a beautiful thing — but you HAVE To be clear on HOW they can support you.
If it’s unclear how they can help, even if it’s just sharing a post on social media, then they’re unlikely to do anything at all…even if they WANT to help.
Take the guessing out of the equation for them.
And then make it SUPER easy to follow through with the type of support you need.
If you’d like them to buy a gift card, link to your online shop where they can purchase one.
If you’d like them to call in an order for delivery or curbside pickup, make your phone number IN THE POST clickable.
Don’t make them search over on your contact page for it.
How to make your phone number clickable:
Highlight your number like you’re going to add a link to it. And then put “tel:XXX-XXX-XXXX” in the link box, minus the quotes.
Don’t put the quotes.
And then obviously change the X to YOUR business’ number.
****After you’ve published your post, view it on your phone and test that the link works.
And then ask them how YOU can support them…
So now that you’ve included the details of your announcement, asked for support, made it EASY for them to support you, and gave them a call to action, now it’s time to flip the switch.
Ask your customers and clients how YOU can support them.
Why? Because this opens up the door to communication and allows you better guage what they’d like to see from you.
You can even give them a few examples of what you’re thinking, like “Want us to offer virtual classes or how-tos? Reach out to us on Instagram and let us know!” — and then link your Instagram account to that text.
Make this shit SO easy for them.
Even if you DON’T have examples, still ask how you can support them.
At the very least, it will let them know that you’re here for them, even if they don’t respond to the question.
#3. Include social media sharing buttons to your post
By including social media sharing buttons on your announcement blog post, you’re making it easy for YOU to share your announcement on social media…and you’re encouraging your website visitors to share the announcement on social media.
This is also why I suggested making your announcement into a blog post vs. a page. Most websites have automatic social media sharing functionality on their blog posts.
Create sharing graphics
If you’re feeling extra motivated, you can ALSO create social media sharing graphics to grab the attention of your customers and clients when you share the announcement blog post on social media.
#4. Put an announcement bar across the top of your website
Now that you’ve created your announcement post with all of your details, you’ll want to make sure your website visitors know about it as soon as they land on your website.
How can you do that?
By creating a CLICKABLE announcement bar that leads your website visitors to the details of your announcement.
Make sure your announcement bar STANDS OUT visually, and that it’s CLEAR to read & understand.
Include call to action words in the text, so something like: “CLICK FOR DETAILS”
So if you’re offering delivery & curbside pickup, your announcement bar could read: “NOW OFFERING CURBSIDE PICKUP & DELIVERY – CLICK FOR DETAILS!”
Squarespace users, here’s a tutorial on adding an announcement bar.
WordPress users, you can use these free plugins to create an announcement bar on your website:
- Simple Banner — this is the one I’ve been using on clients’ websites. It takes less than 5 minutes to set up.
- HelloBar — this one is an industry favorite.
- I’m suggesting an announcement bar because it’s less intrusive than other forms of attention-grabbing announcement elements, like a large pop-up, site-wide page takeover, or a cover page.
- Why do you want to worry about being “less-intrusive”? Because having intrusive elements that disrupt your website’s user experience can have a negative impact on your SEO.
- By using an announcement bar, you’re also making it easier to “bounce back” to normal when this crisis is all over. If you go in and start changing your entire homepage to reflect this information, you’re creating a ton of extra work for yourself.
- If you don’t think an announcement bar is eye-catching enough, you CAN change a few lines of text on your homepage and link to your announcement blog post there as well…but I would try to refrain from changing your ENTIRE homepage.
- Also, keep in mind that Google bots are always crawling and indexing websites. They’re not taking time off during the crisis. So if you change too much content on your website during this time, it could impact the content that the Google crawlers pick up on, which could impact your search rankings in the long-run.
#5. Update your Google My Business Listing
If you’re a local business with a Google My Business Listing, make sure you’re keeping that information updated as well.
What information would you want to update?
- Temporary closing
- Add announcements (you can copy and paste the one you already created into a Google My Business announcement too!)
Here are 2 posts that help you update your GMB listing effectively:
#6. Website information changed? Update your sitemap
If the content on your website has changed significantly, like events being postponed or canceled, you’ll want to update your website’s sitemap in Google Search Console.
Why is this important?
By updating your sitemap in Google Search Console, you’re giving the search engine the heads up that you’ve made changes to your content.
What that does is let them know to recrawl your pages so they can update the information showing up in search results.
How can you do this?
I hope this post helped explain how & why it’s important to strategize your website during a crisis.
And if you found this helpful, please please please share this with other website owners — I’d love to help alleviate some stress and prevent search engine rankings from being affected in the long run.