This is the million-dollar question that many business owners of all shapes and sizes are asking themselves at present, with the exception of a few sectors and some major corporations that have actually benefitted from the global situation, mentioning no names cough Amazon. In seriousness, however, the issue of how best to protect your business in these times of almost unprecedented challenge and uncertainty is one that will have kept many a business owner awake at night.
Most adverse scenarios are given consideration, with plans in place should the worst happen.
Unfortunately, the nature of the Covid-19 pandemic has been such that nobody was well prepared. The threat of a pandemic has been here before in recent years, with the likes of SARS and the bird flu, but because the worries were largely proven to be overblown, everyone, governments included were blasé about the chances of a full-scale global pandemic. Of course, alongside the very human devastation, the global, national, and local economies have taken a massive hit. But what can businesses do to save their businesses now and in the event of a second wave or another pandemic in the future?
Obviously, online and mobile e-commerce has seen relative robustness in this period as people are forced to shop online, so if you are in a business that can shift your supply of goods to online, then it is certainly worth doing so, to avoid a huge problem should you have to close your bricks and mortar premises again going forward.
But having online solutions and being able to deal with the dramatic increase in demand has caught out many – most obviously the supermarkets – so, ensuring an emergency supply of delivery drivers and vans will probably be one of the biggest addressable issues going forward for many.
As online behavior shifts, different parts of websites come under stress, so solidifying servers and ensuring hosts can deal with all manner of traffic and user behavior is certainly a very solvable problem that all businesses can get on with.
Many retail businesses dabble in online sales; well now is certainly the time to ramp up the social media presence, invest time and a little of the grant money (if applicable) in building a more substantial, user-friendly website and advertising the availability of online ordering. Many small businesses have adapted well by offering door-to-door services, which may or may not be an option depending on the nature of the enterprise.
SEO is almost certainly one of the most important ways you can look to boost the performance of your online business, which will no doubt help to shield your business during a pandemic, or any other time when adverse conditions make physical shopping difficult or impossible. A full website audit will be a good place to start, enabling you or your dedicated SEO team to pinpoint any underperforming areas ripe for improvement.
Another key technique involves looking at site structure. You can remodel the way pages on your website link to each other for optimal performance – a strategy that Google’s algorithms love. Something that relates to adapting to the shift in user behavior well, is looking at ways to allow for shifts in user intent. For instance, the sort of searches that people make to look for local businesses that they intend to visit in person may shift subtly when the prospect of in-person visits is not there. Looking at what searches have brought people to your site in the early stages of any lockdown and adding them to your SEO strategy will pay dividends.
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