Taking action for your business feels good; that rush of crossing things off your list and getting all your ducks in a row. Unfortunately, it can also feel hard to take action as a business owner when you’re at home 24/7. Big or small, all businesses are having to adapt rapidly to our new reality. If you’re trying to run a business from home, you may feel like your options for growth and improvement are somewhat limited right now. Luckily, there are ways you can take action to support your business from the comfort and safety of your own home.
One of the easiest ways to ensure your business is getting the exposure it needs during this time is by setting up or maintaining your website so that your customers and readership know where to find you and how to support you right now. Our go-to platform for building websites is always Squarespace, because of their easy-to-use system and built-in integrations. Read on for more ways to set your biz up for success right now:
Sometimes it takes years of careful planning to build a business, while other times, a business can grow seemingly overnight in a really organic way. There’s no right or wrong way to start, but over time as your business evolves, you’ll probably reach a point where you have more time and resources to invest in a few areas you initially couldn’t.
Enter: a rebrand. Many businesses—small and large—undergo rebranding as they grow and change. Remember the old Instagram logo? We also went through a rebrand here at The Everygirl, updating our website from the original we launched with in 2012. Rebranding can feel scary or overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to! Start from the top, and look over your current business plan and mission statement. What is working and what isn’t? Does your logo still feel like your business? What about your website? Go through and make a list of “dream updates” you’d make.
From your logo to tone to your brand’s ethos, there are many areas of your business you can refresh in a rebrand. Just tweaking your color scheme from a bolder palette to softer, lived-in tones or utilizing a different heading font can make a huge visual difference in the way your brand is perceived. Even if you’re not a graphic designer, there are things you can do at home to start the rebranding process:
- Easily refresh your logo. As we mentioned above, Squarespace is our go-to platform of choice for building out a website and as a bonus, they offer a free logo creator that helps you build a minimal and modern logo without any design software.
- Do your research. We put together a quick guide on things to know when creating your own graphics or website—from utilizing hierarchy to balancing white space.
- Hire a designer. If you’re dreaming of a major rebrand and have the capital to invest in your business, consider hiring a graphic designer to work with you to create your new look.
2. Build or Refresh Your Website
Whether or not you’re working on a rebrand, building a website or giving your existing website a refresh should be on your to-do list while spending all that extra time at home. Before you dive into making any major changes or building a website from scratch, check out your competition. Review a few dozen websites for businesses similar to yours and see what design and functionality features you like and dislike about each. You don’t want to rip anyone off, but try to review each website from a user’s perspective. When it comes time to build a website or makeover an existing one, you can implement the features you love and avoid the ones that you didn’t care for.
Go through your site and ask yourself: is it easy to find my contact information? My social channels? To understand what my business does? Ask friends or family to review your site as well and listen to their thoughts from an outside user’s perspective. Getting a basic website up and running that has updated contact information, an “about” page, and a way for you to market your offerings is key. But now is a great time to dive deeper and implement user-friendly and business-friendly features.
We love Squarespace because everything you need is built into your platform. No need to fuss with plugins or worry you won’t have the right functionality. Plus, all Squarespace sites are built to be responsive on both desktop, mobile, and tablet screens which you can immediately check off of your to-do list. Other things to consider:
- Make sure your contact information and social platform are integrated into your site in multiple places—you don’t want it to be hard for people to get in touch with you! Consider embedding your Instagram feed directly into your site or including both a contact form and your physical email address on several pages. We like to add them in the footer on all pages as well as having them live in the “Contact” page.
- Prioritize your navigation and make sure it’s easy to see and click on all your links. Website visitors should know where to click if they want more information on you, to get in touch with you, to shop your products, to read your story, etc. You don’t need to have a million pages on your site, just ensure that the information is presented clearly and your viewer knows what to do.
- Consider implementing a few features or extensions within your site that will help boost your workflow. If you have an online shop, connect a program like Shipstation to help you stay on track with your shipments and streamline your orders and tracking. If you have a business that requires scheduling or booking appointments, Squarespace offers scheduling blocks that allow you to take appointments directly through your site and manage them all.
- Include calls-to-action throughout your site. Make use of Squarespace button blocks to give your viewers something to do on each page and section of your site. Encourage them to “Shop Our Products” or “Learn More” and link to deeper pages throughout your site. Your goal is to get your viewer to click around and stay on your site. The longer they stay on your site, the more likely they are to buy your product or service or to become a loyal reader.
3. Refresh Your Social Media Presence
Do you have a Twitter page that hasn’t gotten much love lately? Are you curious what all the TikTok buzz is about? Now is the time to get social, especially as people are spending more time engaging on social media while at home. Take some time to get a solid social media marketing plan in place. Grab your ideal handle on all social media channels possible (even if you don’t plan to actively post at the moment), create a backlog of content to post, and do some research on which social media scheduling app is right for you.
Using social to market yourself can feel challenging at times, but remember that authenticity is key. Don’t try to be on all social apps just because you think you should. Do your research and remember that at the end of the day, it’s better to focus on one app that you feel good posting on than trying to spread yourself thin.
4. Set Up an Online Shop
If you’re not already selling your products on your own website, now is a great time to get the logistics in place to do so. Your customers will naturally gravitate towards your businesses’ website, so they shouldn’t need to leave to make a purchase!
You don’t need to have physical products to open a shop either. Consider digital products your audience might be interested in during this time. Maybe you’re an eco-friendly blogger and want to start selling an ebook about sustainability in the time of COVID, or maybe you’re an artist who can start offering printable versions of your physical prints. Spend some time considering alternate products or services that could make sense for your biz, and don’t be afraid to ask your audience what they would want to see from you!
When setting up your products within your Squarespace store, you’ll choose which category they fall into and Squarespace will automatically set them up with either shipping applied or no shipping costs at all.
Once you’re ready, setting up an online shop with Squarespace is a breeze. The integrations to start accepting payments—like major credit cards and Paypal— are already included in your site, so you can start selling immediately. During this uncertain time, you can also offer gift cards through your Squarespace store so that customers who can’t support you physically can still invest back in you and your business.
5. Learn Something New
As a business owner, chances are that you’re a jack of all trades. From product development to sales to accounting, you do it all. If there’s an area of your business you’re struggling with, or one you’re simply passionate about diving deeper into, consider spending some time learning new skills. Take an online course or pick up a new book that can help you build a technical skill or teach you about a new area of your business.
6. Build an Email List
Email marketing is where it’s at, but only if you have a strong email list. 99 percent of consumers check their personal emails daily, which means you’ll have plenty of opportunities to catch their attention. Depending on what types of products or services your business provides, you may not be making as many sales as you typically do, but you can start to prepare for when life and business returns to normal.
Take the time to build your email list now. Host giveaways, start an email newsletter, or give customers free downloads for providing their email address. Begin to build an email audience and provide them with value in your emails. Then you can start to sell to them. The stronger your list is, the easier it will be to leverage it to your advantage when you’re back running on all cylinders.
Now is also a great time to set up email automations, which you’ll thank yourself for later. We love Squarespace’s integrated email platform because it has so many options for pre-made automations ready for you to customize. Think: an automatic welcome email when a subscriber joins your list, an automated email that goes out to a subscriber on their birthday with a discount code, emails set up to automatically send when you publish a new blog post, etc. Using down time to set up a few essential automations can help you retain customers in the long run and save you time from having to send individual emails—a huge plus when the world reopens again and you can make dinner plans.
7. Spread the Word
There are a million ways to market your business, but one of the easiest (and totally free!) ways to market a business is through word of mouth. If you’ve been keeping your business on the down-low, like many people do when first launching side hustles or freelance careers, now is the time to shout about your business from the rooftops. Reach out to old colleagues, post in Facebook groups relevant to your industry, and ask loyal customers to post about your business on Yelp or Google reviews. However you do it, make sure everyone knows about the great services or products your business is offering.
This can feel uncomfortably or “braggy,” but shake off that feeling! Have confidence in yourself and your business. Focus on real authenticity and your drive and passion will come through to your audience.
8. Start Taking SEO Seriously
SEO: three little letters with a whole lot of potential. SEO stands for “search engine optimization,” aka techniques that can help get your website a nice shiny spot at the top of search engine results when people search. Ideally, you want to land on the first page of search results when someone searches on Google or another search engine for keywords related to your business. If you’re not familiar with SEO best practices, you should brush up on these 10 SEO practices everyone should know. There should be some easy steps you can take to make sure your website gets more visibility on search and attracts your ideal visitors.
As we’ve mentioned, one of our favorite parts of Squarespace is how seamlessly everything is integrated so you don’t have to worry about installing any plugins on your site to get the functionality you need. SEO is no different! You can utilize all of the built-in features to help optimize your site, pages, and blog posts so you end up on the holy grail: the top results of a Google search.
Sure, you can give your home office a good scrub if you want to, but when we say housekeeping, we’re referring to business tasks that need attending to. These are the operational and organizational tasks that can keep your business running smoothly, but are also kind of a pain in the butt to deal with. Use some of this time spent at home to clean old files out of your Dropbox or Google Drive, finally trademark your business, or follow up on any business leads you’ve been pursuing. Network, clear out your inbox, set up a better accounting system, or find a new supplier that offers great wholesale deals. Sometimes the smaller tasks we forget about during the hustle and bustle can make a huge difference in how a business operates!
This post was in partnership with Squarespace, but all of the opinions within are those of The Everygirl editorial board.