Making your website work harder: how to use this time effectively
Like most of you, I am having the strange experience of working sitting at a repurposed kitchen table. My team are scattered in various living rooms and hallways around London, and we’re making the best of working from home by Zooming and Slacking. While it’s not quite the same sort of team working as we’re familiar with, everyone is gradually getting used to it. As for our clients, it seems that colleagues spread far and wide like ours are doing their often impressive level best to keep workflow going. Days are spent online, leading many of us to wonder how to go about making a business website work harder. Our personal and working worlds have shrunk, but how can we avoid our businesses doing the same?
Finishing what you’ve started
With the world moving at such an extraordinary pace at the moment, it’s hard to get a firm grip on facts or trends to make the right business decisions. From our perspective as a creative agency, things are continuing, albeit at a more sedate pace. Many of our clients are halfway through major projects, some approaching launch. This presents a dilemma as to whether to continue and if so, in what form. To my way of thinking, it’s a shame to abandon a near-complete project now.
It seems to me that now is the time to be pragmatic. See an investment already made as money spent, then the completion of a strategy as the conclusion of well-laid plans. With the vast majority of professional services businesses working remotely, your online presence has never been more important.
We have one client who will be going live with their new site this week. It’s a hugely significant project we’ve been working on for months and, while the business took a sensible pause to evaluate the marketplace, the management team has decided to press ahead. It’s the right decision and sets them up for the future. As a global business they’re keen to see their website work harder – and I can’t wait for the launch.
Business will be forever changed by this experience we’re all going through, but one thing we can safely say is that it will end up being more web-focussed than ever. Reviewing your site and ensuring it’s the best it can be, particularly in terms of completing work that’s well underway, is the right decision now.
Retaining your customer base with online sales
One of the most inspiring phenomena to emerge in recent weeks has been the way businesses have adapted to the shifting, sometimes not altogether pleasant, circumstances they’ve found themselves in. One inspiring story I observed first hand was the fruit and vegetable merchants at Covent Garden Market. For those based in London, it’s possible to order home deliveries, which I duly did. An amazing array of seasonal produce arrived, delivered by an otherwise unoccupied London black cab driver. Great stuff.
For many businesses, finding quick fixes like this just aren’t that simple, but I hope that for some, by working together we might be able to find a set of practical ways forward over the coming weeks and months. From my perspective, I’m contemplating future collaborations and new ways of delivering our creative work. It’s a thought process currently in progress.
Looking at the world of work from a broader perspective, I can’t help feeling that we are undergoing a sudden sea change, not only in how we operate, but how we go about delivering what we are doing. Prior to this experience, I would have online sales depend almost entirely on having a product to sell, but Spring 2020 has seen previous assumptions suddenly upended. Think of the professionals offering services such as online workouts or e-learning. Most will see this pivot as an investment in their careers, but I believe people are willing to pay (now and in the future) for these kinds of experiences.
And there’s no reason to wait. Swiftly adding e-commerce to a pre-existing website is uncomplicated and using services such as PayPal doesn’t have to even involve handling credit card transactions. An upgrade from static brochure site to an interactive portal is a classic example of how to make your website work harder. So long as you’ve got the infrastructure in place to service the requirements, there’s no reason not to.
Thinking about what comes next, now
The world seems to be moving so fast on the outside, but correspondingly jarringly slowly inside our homes. It only adds to the strangeness of this whole experience. Anticipating what happens tomorrow seems to be upended by a series of daily reality checks. However I hope a recognisable reality will resume before too long and with it, more familiar business practices. That’s not to say our businesses won’t be profoundly changed by this episode, but predicting exactly how this plays out is probably for the fortune-tellers.
This said, I’ve been really pleased to hear from clients old and new in the past two or three weeks who are keen to plan for the future. These have been solely focussed on digital assets that can be easily leveraged to present their businesses in a way that feels on brand but delivered remotely at a time. In person transactions are the ideal, but this approach is the only way forward while international travel is curtailed. I’m thinking of projects such as Google Slides online presentation decks, B2C brochures that can be sent via WhatsApp or a sharp set of business reports presented in PDF form or as downloads.
One easy task I’d recommend to every business owner is to review the content of your existing website and bring it up to scratch. That could be the relatively simple task of re-reading content throughout, finding rogue errors or performing a more general wash and brush up of dated or dry copy. Perhaps your services have expanded over time and these need explaining more fully. A cobwebby News section can (and should) have recent achievements added, perhaps retroactively. These chores don’t involve too much time and involve zero financial outlay but are a good activity for anxious marketing teams keen to consolidate their activities.
For some businesses, now is an ideal time for a more radical move. I’ve had several conversations in the last week with marketing leads keen to use this time to review their brand and entire online presence. To them, I say – let’s go! There’s no time like the present to radically rethink and reimagine when the world seems in a state of flux.
Brief us to make your website work harder
If you’re planning a to rethink of your business online, making a website work harder, why not get in touch to discuss different approaches. We can work on website reboots from the simple to the sensational, depending on your brief and budget. Call us on 020 7351 4083 or email us direct.