Why You Need a Website in the Age of COVID-19
If you didn't need a website before, chances are you need one now. And soon.
There's no question that COVID-19, the pandemic affecting the entire globe and altering the course of history, has forever changed the way business operates.
Let's just use "business" as shorthand for any kind of work, be it in public, private, or non-profit sectors. Chances are if you were in the workforce in early March 2020, the way you work now (Zoom, Zoom, Zoom) looks nothing like the way you worked then. That is, if you still have a job.
The unemployment rate across the globe is soaring due to the effects of global health pandemic Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). Since January of this year, there are 11.5+ million
confirmed cases, 6.21+ million recovered cases, and 535K+ deaths. Following CDC and WHO guidance, mass lockdowns and quarantines caused many businesses to shutter, resulting in job loss so severe that in the United States, "unemployment rose higher [14.7% at its peak in April] in three months of COVID-19 than it did in two years of the Great Recession. (The Pew Research Center).
Things are looking pretty dire. But there's also opportunity to rise above and come together.
We've heard stories of communities hooting and hollering for healthcare workers every night, of neighbors delivering groceries for the elderly, of pollution vanishing from empty streets, of families coming together in creative ways, of volunteers sewing thousands of face masks (the defining trend of 2020) for essential workers, of a greater appreciation for natural surroundings.
So how can our work adjust to this new "normal? For starters, a trusty Internet connection does wonders. It allows us to meet with clients and have team meetings; to connect with customers and colleagues and share best practices; to crowdsource funds to help those less fortunate; to use our voices to stand up for justice and truth and science. What the Internet can do, and by proxy, a web presence, is level the playing field and provide everyone with a voice. And since most of the world is still in some form of quarantine, requiring the Internet to communicate, what better way to do that than via a website?
Here are our top 5 reasons why you need a website, STAT.
1) All the world is online right now.
Yes, certain countries worldwide and states, here in the USA, are starting to open up after months of lockdown and quarantine. Yet we see the ebb and flow of opening up too soon and seeing COVID-19 cases spike. The unknown factor is at an all time high. And while what we hear and read is assuredly frightening, the time is now to get online (if you're not already). Be prepared to conduct your business from your home office and stay adaptable.
2) Easily illustrate your COVID-19 response -- and your response to social justice issues.
Not only has COVID-19 plowed right through human life and economic prosperity, it's also uncovered systemic disparities in healthcare and highlighted racial injustices toward Black Americans. Protests over police violence and explicit racism erupted around the world. Via the Internet, and especially social media, people came together to showcase their love and support and educate each other on the importance of anti-racism. Solopreneurs and Fortune-500 companies could illustrate, on their websites, not only how their businesses were operating during the pandemic (takeout/delivery, telemedicine and telemental health, reduced or extended hours, etc.) but could also make public statements on social justice and future goals. A website is a digital ambassador for a business and now is the time to be represented.
3) Cultivate brand authority + credibility.
Whether you're a therapist in private practice or an entrepreneur building a business, a beautiful digital hub for your business incorporating user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) design is the key to more brand authority and credibility in your field. Start a blog and share your insights. Position yourself as a subject matter expert. Incorporate Zoom and pricing plan apps into your site to conduct business virtually all day, every day. Ask satisfied customers to write testimonials that you can showcase on your piece of digital real estate. A website that represents you and your business is the most effective marketing tool out there and will continue to serve you, even while you sleep.
4) Connect with customers - current and new - almost instantaneously.
Geographic borders don't mean as much when everyone is online (see reason #1). While we may want to get back to seeing customers in person -- maybe you're enjoying more work-from-home time -- this new all-digital environment allows us to conduct face-to-face meetings in a virtual environment, relatively seamlessly.
Imagine that email blast about how you're conducting your business now. Maybe you include a testimonial or two (see reason #3). You send the correspondence to your contact list of, let's say, 50 with a simple ask: that they forward the email to just one person they know. Even if just 1/5 of those people reach out to you, that's potentially 10 new customers. Never underestimate the power of referrals.
5) Build community + collaborate.
With COVID-19 threatening the health and impacting the livelihood of nearly every single person on the planet, and an environment exposing serious cracks in social justice issues, there really isn't a better time to come together. We can't put it off any longer. Eckhart Tolle speaks to "the power of now." We have today, we have the here and now. Let's use it to build bridges, not walls. To build alliances, not enemies. To collaborate, not compete. Use what's going on around us to make the world a better place, starting with you and your business. It is this spirit of community and collaboration that many workplaces large and small are hoping to capture as they move forward in this new post-COVID world. Perhaps they'll share these stories on their websites.
It's time for you to join them.