You might be saying to yourself that your business is safe and will survive during this unheard of in our lifetime pandemic. But simply having an online presence might not be enough. According to a study published by the U.S. Census, before the pandemic, nearly 90% of shopping still took place in brick & mortar stores, despite the huge shift toward online shopping brought about by mega sites such as Amaxon.com and others like it. Small mom and pop shops are struggling to embrace technology to stay afloat, to merely break even.
Being online during the pandemic might not be enough. Scrambling to stay afloat during mandated sheltering in place, many businesses figured out how to move their sales online. Some set up websites for the first time. Many offices started holding virtual staff meetings uing apps such as Go to Meeting. Doctors interacted with their patients via Zoom. Nearly overnight, technology was being embraced in a desperate attempt to stay relevant in a strange new world.
Law firms, which have long been bastions of privilege (but only if you were an attorney) suddenly decided it was okay, no, ESSENTIAL, for their support staff to work from home, long considered a perk normally reserved only for partners or senior associates.
However, even before the pandemic, a growing “gig economy” drove an increase in entrepreneurs and freelancers over the past decade. In fact, I’ve observed that the market is truly flooded nowadays with “WordPress developers.” But it is to be expected Now, with unemployment at an all-time high since the Great Depression and nearly 40 million jobs lost in the US alone.
What is your plan to enhance your online sales and outreach? Has the pandemic caused you to shift your focus? Do you need help figuring out which direction to take your online business or how to reach more consumers? If you are going online for the first time, here are some tips and tricks to help you along your way.
- Leave design to the experts. I know you want to save money where you can, but if survival online is critical, you will want to invest some money in making sure it’s done right.
- Optimize your site for mobile devices. Studies show that far more than 50% of people who shop online do so from either a tablet or a smartphone, note a desktop computer. Therefore, it makes sense to tailor the online experience to those users in addition to the standard site visitor using a desktop. Reach as many folks online as possible, and try not to frustrate them while you do! Otherwise, you risk losing their business forever.
- Write your content for humans, not search engines. Or better yet, hire a professional SEO/SEM expert to do this for you.
- Devise a complimentary social media strategy (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.). Cast your online net far and wide to reach as many potential clients and customers (and grner potential sales) as possible. This will mean you’ll ned to schedule posts on a regular and consistent basis.
- Invest in a reputable web hosting service. You won’t reach anyone online if your site is always down or loads so slowly that your users give up and leave. Make sure that your web host is reputable and that you have purchased enough bandwidth and disk space as you need not only now, but for the foreseeable future. Check out our short list of reputable and WordPress-friendly web hosts.
Joni Mueller has been designing web sites for hire since 2003, when she first blew up her web host’s server by insisting on running Greymatter. Since then, Joni has designed for Blogger and Movable Type, TextPattern, WordPress and CMS Made Simple. She lives with her cat and shoe collection in a bucolic old section of Houston called Idylwood. For some strange reason, Joni likes to refer to herself in the third person. When she’s not working on web design, she’s ordering lawyers around. And blogging about it. Or both.