As COVID-19 sweeps the globe and the world economy is on a knifes edge, it’s important for business owners everywhere to prepare their websites for an uncertain future.
One key issue with websites and content on the Internet is; can it be trusted? Particularly when it comes to spending money during the current pandemic.
Trust is perhaps even more important when looking for information around sensitive topics or important life decisions such as medical or financial advice.
With skeptism at an all-time high, your website should be amplifying trust and authority at every turn.
Salience has put together 15 actionable tips for your website to promote trust, provide help and to support your audience during Coronavirus outbreak.
1. Add COVID-19 FAQ Page
Customers will undoubtedly be full of questions when they enter your website. Are you still operating? Has delivery been postponed? Is there a delay with manufacturing? All of these questions and more can be answered with a simple Coronavirus FAQ , answering any queries customers may have.
Adding a way for customers to contact your business directly via telephone or email, if they can’t find the answer they are looking for, is a great personal touch to encourage interactions that could lead to sales.
2. Add FAQ Schema to COVID-19 FAQ Page
If you’ve added a COVID-19 FAQ page as suggested, next we recommend adding FAQ schema to this page so search engines can understand it better. Plus, with FAQ schema added, the business related Coronavirus questions and answers will appear directly in Google for customers to read before clicking on your site.
3. Offer Coronavirus Safe Delivery Options
Several big companies have changed their delivery procedure following the outbreak in a bid to keep customers shopping with them.
Just Eat for example now offers contactless payment on delivery to relieve hungry, yet anxious customers:
While this is not applicable for all businesses and it could be an unwanted expensive in this current economic climate, anxiety removing considerations like this could be essential in keep customers coming to your website.
If delivery changes like this are not applicable or possible, simple additions to your delivery page terms or even adding comment options within the checkout process, to allow customers to leave specific delivery instructions, is a great help.
4. Update Returns/Refunds Policy
The travel industry has been hit extremely hard following the outbreak, with thousands of travellers cancelling their trips and accommodations.
Elsewhere, recent product purchases will likely want to be returned as customers refocus their spending habits and plan their financial future for the months ahead.
Is your returns and refunds policy up to date to include the evolving COVID-19 pandemic? If not, you should reflect the businesses stance on returns and refunds with clear website messaging.
Additionally, is it possible to add details confirming that payment won’t be taken until the item is shipped? Customers might not want to buy with the hit on the economy possibly looming and any assurances will be welcomed.
5. Show Measures being Taken By Employees
Customers want peace of mind to see that every effort is being made to prevent the virus spreading from businesses they are considering purchasing from.
Has your business adopted more stringent hygiene measures when manufacturing the product or service that you offer? What are staff doing to protect themselves and the customer? Promote these internal changes with social media updates, short videos or blog posts.
6. Share if nothing has changed
If your business is unaffected by COVID-19, make sure customers know this too. If there are no delays on manufacturing or delivery, this could put customers at ease and make them more likely to convert with you than look elsewhere.
Update your homepage content, delivery page or even add an unobtrusive popup with these important ‘business as usual’ details.
7. Add Reviews to your site
User generated content such as reviews can provide a boost to organic search traffic by adding relevant content to a page. Positive objective reviews with names of people can also act as social proof and encourage potential customers to buy during an uncertain economic time.
Ensuring reviews are fresh and up to date is a good trust signal that other customers are still confident purchasing through your site and have not been deterred due to the outbreak.
The ability to vote reviews as helpful or unhelpful can be another good trust signal. It’s an additional layer of social proof which can further promote conversions. Amazon does this by showing the “Most Helpful Customer Reviews” on product pages.
Unsure which review platform to invest in and focus on? We recommend Google My Business Reviews and Trust Pilot.
Fresh Chalk did a 150k Small Business Website study which showed the higher your Google My Business review score, the better the website visibility and rankings should be:
As for Trust Pilot, this is perhaps the biggest third party reviews platform on the web and is extremely well respected and trusted by search engines and potential customers.
8. Signpost Reviews Everywhere
If customers like your products or services enough to take the time to review it, you need to shout about it.
Review data can be pulled through to various locations on your website via API’s. These API plugins can then be placed on your homepage, category pages and, crucially, on product listing pages:
9. Display Secure Payment Options on Products
If customers are shopping online while stuck at home, they want guarantees that their payments will be secure. If you accept recognised online payment providers, then signpost this across your website in the footer, on category pages and even on product pages themselves:
This will promote trust and calmness for customers who have enough to worry about.
10. Promote Unique Selling Points
What makes you stand out from the crowd? What makes your product or service unique to your competitors? Whatever it is, make sure your customers can see it.
Promote your businesses USP’s across your website so unsure customers can see the things that make you great.
These trust signals could be crucial, especially to older demographics who are less familiar with shopping online.
11. Add Product Schema
Want to show customers how highly rated people think your products are, how competitive the price is and crucially how much of the product you have left in stock? You can do all of this by adding Product schema to your product pages. Once applied, this schema will give you these rich snippets:
Implementing this product schema is a great way to stand out from the crowd in the search engines results page.
Salience has written a complete guide here on Schema For eCommerce Sites.
12. Add Organization Schema
Organization schema is structured markup for your homepage that helps generate brand signals and enhance your website snippet in the search results.
You can add important company info such as contact details, opening hours, reviews data and even the business address. All essential information during the Coronavirus outbreak:
13. Add or Update About Us Page
About Us pages are a great way to speak to your audience in a friendly and accessible way. Here you can discuss your business history, company origins, USP’s and talk about the key people behind the service or product you offer.
These details add a personal touch to an otherwise faceless website and you can also update this page to include information on how COVID-19 has affected the business, the precautions taken by staff and what it means for customers.
The Silent night About Us page is very detailed and includes information on the following:
- Company age and experience
- Recognised Superbrand for 13 years running
- Sleep experts
- Which? Award winning products
- Corporate social responsibility e.g Modern Slavery Act & Ethical Trading Initiative
- Handmade in the UK
- Award winning apprentice scheme
- Tested by scientists from University of Central Lancashire
- Sustainable product development
- Partnership with Marine Conservation Society
- Carbon neutral business
- Awarded the Furniture Makers’ Company Sustainability Award for 2017
- Recycling information
- Cutting transport emissions
- Supporting ethical shopping
This is a hugely significant trust resource to both search engines and customers. We recommend beefing your About Us page up similar to this example.
14. Add Author Name & Date/Date Updated to Articles
Adding author details along with dates for when the content was published or updated adds legitimacy to what you are saying. If you are willing to put your name to something written, customers are more likely to trust what they read.
Reliable information is essential during the current Coronavirus pandemic, so this should be a key focus when producing content for the foreseeable future. This strategy is used on the majority of health sites, including Women’s Health:
Verywell Health extend this with an information ‘i’ symbol next to the author name which when hovered over shows a quick user bio of that author:
An ‘updated date’ or ‘modified date’ is shown on medical-related posts too, like with this notice on WebMD posts:
We recommend adding author name, date published and the ability to show an updated date where relevant. This shows the user and Google exactly what wrote the article and when, ideally when it was last edited too.
15. Content Reviews & Fact Checking (Health/Finance Industry)
If you are writing informational content that relates to either the health or financial industry, this suggestion is critical in these tricky times.
We recommend reaching out for the use of a third party, with some expertise in the financial or medical field, to ‘medically review’ or ‘fact check’ articles and content published on your site. Various health-related sites refer to individuals that have medically reviewed their content, like Healthline as shown:
Similarly, some site’s articles are ‘fact checked’. Again, this is an example from Heathline:
Below is the notice Heathline displays when clicking the button above the headline, referring to their standards of accuracy, sourcing and objective analysis, while also linking to their Editorial Policy:
Elsewhere, medianewstoday.com do similar:
While this may be a longer term startegy, if you are publishing critical content like financial or medical advice during the Coronavirus pandemic, we highly recommend your content is reviewed or fact checked for validity.
There we have it, 15 website tips to help your business during Coronavirus. Have we missed any out that you think should be added? Let us know in the comments below. If you would like to speak with our friendly team for some more advice on how to protect your online efforts during this pandemic then please get in touch today!