Lessons 2020 Taught Us About Our Website

No one can say that 2020 wasn’t a good teacher. With every passing week and every “unprecedented” news story, we learned all kinds of things. The definition of terms like “social distancing” and “super spreader.” How to master the intricacies of Zoom. What to look for in a face mask. And exactly how many times your spouse uses the term “leverage” on business calls.

We also learned just how important a robust, useful website really is.

Your Front Door

The adage that “your website is your business’s front door online” is as old as the consumer internet, but many small businesses didn’t actually treat it that way before 2020. Instead, the website was a bit of an afterthought. After all, you likely found clients and customers through your brick-and-mortar locations or through conferences, conventions, and other types of events. All of a sudden, all of these avenues for conducting business disappeared in 2020.

And abruptly your website became a lot more important. If you let that front door get a bit dusty and out of date, that really is what your potential clients saw first. You can’t see people in the wild anymore. Now your website really is your front door.

Good Enough isn’t Good Enough

I can’t tell you how many times prior to 2020 I heard from client prospects that their website wasn’t great but that it was “good enough.” It conveyed basic information. It allowed potential clients to contact them. It made them look like a legit business rather than one that also sold auto warranties in a back room. Many businesses saw their website as little more than a digital version of their marketing brochure.

But that didn’t work in 2020. Suddenly your website needed to do more work.It needed to make it easy for potential customers to find you. It needed to handle a high volume of online orders. It needed to convey enough information about your company that someone would want to pick up the phone or fill out a contact form. 2020 was the year when a “good enough” website wasn’t good enough anymore.

The Ability to Pivot

In 2020 we also saw that successful small businesses were the ones best able to pivot and change direction to meet the shifting circumstances. They were able to change operations, staffing, delivery methods, etc. according to the needs of the moment. The ability to pivot allowed them to create the best environment for the delivery of their product or service—and ensure satisfied customers. If your business is going to pivot, then it needs a website that can pivot with you.

You might have a beautifully designed, detailed website that fits your business like a glove, but that can actually be a hindrance if you need to make major changes to your business operations and bring attention to things that are outside the normal scope of your business. 2020 has taught us that the best sites have room for flexibility. They allow you to easily display new information and make the changes this year has required.

What to do Now

Now, at the beginning of 2021, it’s time to consider 2020’s lessons. Take stock of your website. Does it truly reflect your business? Does it serve as a good front door? Does it provide the information your customers want? Does it offer the flexibility you need in unpredictable times? If the answer to any of these questions is no, then maybe it’s time to think about redesigning it.

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Author: Erika Dickstein

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