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COVID-19 has made your business’ website more important than ever. Here’s how to make sure it’s up to the task.

Because those in professional services sell their time instead of products, the COVID-19 pandemic has been especially devastating. How do you find leads if you can’t network or go to conferences? How do you provide a client with expertise if you can’t meet in person? What are you supposed to do if your business requires you to go into someone’s home (e.g. plumber or electrician)?

Your professional services website may hold the answers to these questions. Before — because most of your business was conducted in person — your website may not have been a top priority. Now, in these times of social distancing and quarantine, it’s the critical link between your business and its clients.

So, if your website has just the bare minimum or you’ve been merely “keeping the lights on”, it’s time to focus on improving it. Here’s how.

1-Highlight your expertise

If people can’t meet you in person, your website needs to validate who you are and why you’re worth hiring. Look at your bio, is it up to date with the most recent information? Make sure you highlight any accreditation, awards, certifications, etc. Include testimonials from previous clients. Communicate what makes you, your business, your benefits, and your approach unique.

2-Update your design

First impressions matter, and your professional services website is now the first thing a person will likely see when interacting with your business. If your site looks dated, sloppy or dull, a client may assume your work is as well. Also, remember, people’s attention spans are much shorter online. If information is hard to find or the experience is frustrating, they’ll leave your site and find one of your competitors instead.

3-Outline your COVID-related operations

You’ve probably said or heard it a hundred times: “These are uncertain times.” Use your website to give people some certainty. Create a pop-up or a prominent page that clearly communicates how you’re working. Explain changes to your hours, locations, services, and workflows. Provide non-in-person ways people can work with you, such as calls or video chats.

If your business requires some form of physical contact or proximity (e.g. a plumber going into someone’s house), put people’s minds at ease by outlining the safety precautions you and your staff are taking.

Also, consider adding virtual payment, scheduling, and ordering systems to your website, as more people are expecting to perform these logistical operations virtually.

4-Focus on SEO & social media

It was typical for professional services companies to rely on referrals for new business. But with prospects stuck at home, they’re using search engines and social media to find what they need. Invest some resources into updating keywords for your site, updating (or starting) a blog to help with SEO and be more active on social media.

And remember, when it comes to SEO, think like your potential clients. For example, if you’re a CPA, there are countless financial-related tasks you can perform. But a potential client is likely searching for one, specific thing, such as “amending my tax return” or “setting up a trust”. So be sure to use words, terms and phrases a client may be searching for.

5-Review technical capabilities

Whether you use WordPress, Go Daddy, Squarespace or one of the other countless web hosting or building services, now is a good time to review it and ensure it’s meeting your needs. Are there beneficial features available that you’re not using? Are there services you’re paying for but don’t need? Also, make sure your software and plugins are updated for the best level of security. If you’re planning on updating content or the design of your site, you may find another platform is better suited to perform those tasks.

Use this opportunity

While our current situation presents countless challenges, try to take advantage of this time to help your business grow. As you adapt to how your business operates, make sure part of that process includes critically evaluating your website. Oftentimes, the most effective approach is refreshing the content, design and technological capabilities at the same time — as each element will likely impact the others. If done thoughtfully and properly, a professional services website can help you find new clients as we adjust to a “new normal”.

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