In a matter of weeks, the world as we know it changed. Whether you were already an exclusively online business or you’ve jumped into e-commerce because of a temporary closure of your storefront, you want your conversion rate as high as possible. You may be getting more traffic than you did before the social distancing recommendations came into play.

The number of people utilizing consumer packaged goods (CPG) shopping was already on an upward tick. With the limitations in travel and local shopping, even more people shopped online in the last few weeks. According to Nielsen, the two weeks ending on March 21, 2020, saw an increase of $8.5 billion in sales, which is about 15 times the usual sales for that period.

Increased traffic is just one reason to improve your site during the COVID-19 pandemic. You likely have a bit more time than when your brick-and-mortar stores keep regular hours. Here are eight different upgrades that would benefit your site during this time.

1. Review Navigational Hierarchy

Navigation is what site visitors use to orient themselves to a new website. No matter where a person lands on your site, they can use the navbar to figure out how to move around your pages and get where they want to go. Over time, it’s easy for the navigational structure of a site to become a bit cluttered and off-kilter. Figure out what your main categories are and what subcategories fall under them and rework your directional cues throughout the site.

therocks

The Rocks has a left vertical navigation bar. What works particularly well for the site structure is that it limits the main categories to only four selections. There are some subcategories/links under those main categories, but it is clear from the bolder and larger typography that these four are their primary focus for the site.

2. Get Faster

As internet connection speeds increase, people expect websites that load at lightning speed. There are several things you can do to increase the speed of your site, such as paying for a virtual private network and compressing images. If you aren’t sure what else to do to decrease load times, hire a professional to review your site and make improvements. You can focus on sales and running your business and let a site manager make backend changes.

3. Cut the Clutter

Each page of your website should have a specific goal. The objective might be to convert a visitor into a newsletter subscriber or collect information from new leads. Whatever your goal, look at your page and cut out anything that isn’t related to moving the buyer toward the target.

korem

Korem Geospatial has a beautiful minimalist look with flat modern design elements. Notice how there is plenty of negative space, so the user’s eye is drawn to the most pertinent areas. The overall look is clean, with a limited number of colors and typefaces, and pleasing to the eye.

4. Upgrade Images

Consider the images on your website. If you’re using stock photos instead of unique pictures unique to your business, it’s time to upgrade. Hire a professional photographer to take product shots, and replace generic graphics with more specific ones.

5. Improve Your CTAs

Your calls to action (CTAs) can make or break your closing rate. CTAs should use actionable words, be in a contrasting color and guide the user to the activity you want them to complete. You should always try out your CTAs with A/B testing and see what changes your users prefer.

knapsack

Knapsack used the action word “meet” and offers site visitors the opportunity to chat with a designer. Note how the button color contrasts sharply with the white background and pops on the page. The eye goes immediately to the CTA button.

6. Check Responsiveness

Statista projects that between 2017 and 2022, mobile data traffic will increase sevenfold. More people will visit websites from their smartphones. If your site doesn’t present in a usable way to those browsers, you risk them bouncing away. Access your site through a mobile device and see how it looks and functions. If you have a signup form, how difficult is it for mobile users to fill in fields? Check for both usability and aesthetics.

7. Engage Users

The average person has limitless distractions, and with COVID-19 worries and kids being home for e-learning, the interruptions may be more than normal. Assess your site to see how well it engages users. From the moment they land on your page, they should be interested in what you’re saying and highly entertained. Get them moving, clicking things and checking out what you have to offer. Help them focus on only the most essential elements.

cellular-agricultural-society

Cellular Agricultural Society (CAS) has a highly interactive site that grabs the user from the minute they land on the page. First, you move your mouse to morph the screen from a simple circle into an image of cows looking at the city and leaves blowing in the wind. A slideshow starts offering various information about CAS. You can add elements such as animation.

8. Add Content

No matter what type of business you run, you likely have employees whose roles changed a bit with the stay-at-home orders. Tap into your talent pool and task them with creating exciting content for the website. Great photos, infographics and videos give you something to share on social media and hopefully drive even more traffic to your pages.

Tap Into User Emotions

Step back and think about what your typical customer is experiencing at this point. People feel fear, anger and frustration. If you can offer something that alleviates their worry a bit, they will remember that you cared about them during a difficult period. Look for ways to tap into an emerging online market. Be fair with pricing and shipping policies, and do your part to make the new situation we face one that is a bit more palatable.

lexieLexie is a digital nomad and graphic designer. If she’s not traveling to various parts of the country, you can find her at the local flea markets or hiking with her goldendoodle. Check out her design blog, Design Roast, and connect with her on Twitter @lexieludesigner.

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