As we all face the COVID-19 pandemic, a top priority for many businesses is figuring out new ways to meet the needs of the people we serve. You might be taking your yoga classes online or offering your products through Ecommerce or providing curbside pick up or delivery of your healthy food.
Unless you don’t have a website.
It’s amazing to consider that nearly half of small businesses — including individual healthcare providers — don’t have a website. If you’re in that group, you probably had good reasons. Maybe you had more patients than you needed or you weren’t ready to make the investment. Perhaps you felt that your Facebook or Healthgrades account was enough of an online presence.
Whatever the reason, you probably find yourself scrambling now to get your practice or business online so you can work from home. If so, this is your question: How can I get online fast?
A WooCommerce Storefront
WooCommerce is the most popular e-commerce solution in the world. And they make their own WordPress theme: Storefront.
For many small businesses, a switch to Ecommerce is a game-changer. After all, people are still spending money, and they’re spending more of it at home. E-commerce overall has risen by 25% in the past month, according to Adobe Analytics. In many industries, sales are way up:
- Sales of hand sanitizer, masks, and other protective gear have risen by 807%.
- Toilet paper sales are up by 231%.
- Sales of medications like painkillers have jumped 217%.
- Non-perishable and shelf stable food sales are up by 87%.
If you’re a brick and mortar shop or you sell items in the lobby of your gym, studio, or practice, an online store can provide a revenue stream while your building has to remain closed.
Storefront gives you lots of control over your website with the Customizer — the sidebar on the left. Each of those items can be opened and customized.
The screenshot below shows the WooCommerce options.
While you still have all the usual design options for WordPress, this quick and easy Customizer set up allows you to get your store up and running fast.
Then, since you still have all the usual design options for WordPress, you can reconfigure your website to support your physical world business once you’re open again.
A WordPress.com website
We build custom websites with WordPress.org software. This kind of website gives you a robust Content Management System in a custom-designed website. But you can get online fast and free with WordPress.com. If you don’t have items to sell but want an online presence so you can communicate with your patients or clients, this is the fastest stopgap.
Josepha Haden Chomphosy, Executive Director of the WordPress Project at Automattic, tells us that WordPress.com is the best option for sheer speed, but that both branches of WordPress are seeing fast growth during the pandemic.
WordPress.com offers lots of themes, along with free hosting. Here are my tips for getting a good-looking website fast with WordPress.com:
- Decide what you want to include at your website first. Will you have blog, a gallery, or simple announcements about your hours and contact information? Sketch out the items you want on your homepage.
- Choose your theme by the boxes. Make sure you have all the elements you decided on in the first step, and don’t get distracted by colors or industry. You can change those things.
- Get high quality photos, either pictures from your business or stock photos. Make sure they’re top quality. Big, clear photos are the easiest way to make your website look good.
- Put your pictures into the boxes designed for pictures. Use the boxes designed for text to showcase your text. The biggest mistake is trying to force your theme to do things it is not designed to do.
Follow these steps and you will have a website that will work for you while your physical doors are closed.