As local businesses in unprecedented times of crisis, we need to do everything we can to increase our online presence. 
Whether you are an offline or online business, it is now more critical than ever to look at how our websites are performing because it has a big influence on the way customers make their buying decisions. 
Having a good online presence is one of the most important investments a business can make at times like these, making sure your business is not left behind.  
We can help to put you ahead of your competitors for when recovery starts in a few months' time, giving you the best chance to make your business successful. 
As a local web design business, we have put together 10 ways to help your business during the COVID-19 pandemic: 

1) Google My Business 

Every business should make sure they are registered with Google My Business. It is a free online tool that allows business owners to create a Google listing which appears when customers search for related products and services on Google.  
You can manage your Google My Business listing yourself to help attract new customers and to share information about what makes your business special. 
Top Tip – keep all of your listings consistent in how you present your address and phone number and in particular the name of the business. For example, make sure you are listed as ‘Web Design Cheshire’ everywhere and not ‘Websites Cheshire’ in some places as well. Google will reward listings that are consistent with higher website rankings. 

2) Video conferencing 

Due to mass isolation and social distancing measures that are being urged of all of us due to the coronavirus outbreak, you can keep connected with your employees and clients through video communication platforms such as Zoom to operate meetings and webinars.  
Before you cancel any planned events, decide whether you could still carry it out as a virtual event.  
Get creative in how to keep your business community alive online. 

3) Your business website 

If you already have a website, is it still a good representation of your business? 
Websites can become quickly outdated if they are not adapted as your business grows, and a well designed website can give your business a lot more credibility. 

4) Update website content 

Make sure that you spend some time regularly, ideally once a week, updating the content on your website so that search engines such as Google can see that you are an active business.  
When Google sees that your content is being regularly updated - and is of a consistently high quality - you will get an increase in traffic that will make the small amount of work required well worth it. 
Top Tip – if you have a blog, ask your web designer to add a blog feed to your home page, so that every time you update your blog, it will automatically update the content on your home page. 

5) Partner with other businesses 

Partner up with other related businesses to share links to each other’s websites. This can be a useful resource for your customers, as they look for services or products related to those that you can offer them, from trusted local suppliers. 
Backlinks are important for search engine rankings because they represent a vote of confidence from one website to another. 

6) Check social media links 

Make it really easy for your website visitors to connect with you on your various social media channels by checking that your links to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn are all up to date. 
Top Tip – make sure these links open in a new browser page so that the visitor is not taken away from your own website. 

7) Post more content on social media 

Spend time posting more content on social media including live videos. You need content that engages, entertains, and informs your audience, and video content just happens to be the best medium to achieve that. 
Remember that the more people there are that are isolated because of COVID-19, the more they will be spending time online. 

8) Is your site responsive? 

A responsive website design will make your website mobile-friendly, meaning that it will adapt to any device - and will therefore increase the amount of time a visitor using a smartphone or tablet spends on your website.  
A responsive website will also help your ranking in the search results, as Google now uses mobile-first indexing, meaning they use the mobile version of your website to determine where you should appear in the search results. 
You can test if your site is mobile-friendly using Google's free tool here. 

9) Is your website secure? 

An SSL certificate is a type of digital certificate that provides authentication for a website and enables an encrypted connection. The primary reason why SSL is used is to keep sensitive information sent across the internet secure, so that only the intended recipient can access it. 
If your site is secure, this shows Google that you are a trustworthy business, which can help increase your rankings. If your website is not secure, visitors may see a warning message when they land on your website, which will often mean you lose them before they have even reached your home page. 

10) Strong call to action 

Make it really easy for visitors to your website to know what you want them to do. Have at least three call to actions on your home page (such as contacting you via your phone number, email address, and contact form for example). You want it to be as easy as possible for visitors to take the desired action. 
These are just some of the actions you can take to improve your online presence and get yourself in the best possible position to stay ahead of your competitors. 
If you find any of this confusing and you would like it broken down simply for your specific website, please get in touch or register for our free website health check
Stay safe and keep positive. 
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