Coronavirus Update23 Mar 2020
Maybe ironically, there is an old Chinese curse that says "May you live in interesting times". We are definitely in interesting times now, but they are also somewhere between nervous and frightening for most people.
As small a business owner, my life has been dominated for as long as I can remember by my family and by my business. I do not know how I could survive without either of them. A situation like this threatens both and that makes me very uncomfortable. I imagine you are in a similar position so I would like to affirm my commitment to you and your company. You are part of the GMAC Internet Solutions family. If we are positive and work together then we can all overcome any challenge.
As of now, if you need a special announcement put onto your website about the coronavirus then let me know and I will do it at no charge. At the time of writing I have added notices to https://www.wheatbelt.com.au/ and https://www.alphaloan.com.au/ as well as this one for my website.
I also have a new version of TimelineCMS for WordPress and custom sites that I will be rolling out to everybody over the next week or two.
What will the coronavirus lock-down mean for us and the place we do our business?
- I expect websites to get a big increase in traffic over the next month as people spend far more time researching products and services than they normally do. Buyers and customers may not be able to act now due to the lock-downs, but this is still a good time to get in front of people and establish who you are and what you do. I notice that companies like GoDaddy and Squarespace have stepped up their marketing so they are expecting a boom in website creation.
- The big boost in web-related activity during quarantine should be in on-line shopping. I am not sure of the ability of many companies to fill orders within Australia at this time, but I am sure that a fundamental shift in thinking will happen while people are forced to stay away from retail. Unfortunately, Australian retail has generally not embraced the internet properly compared to places like the US, so our infrastructure is generally pretty bad and our on-line offerings generally leave a lot to be desired by comparison. Now everybody will be forced to see that. Hopefully this period drives a better appreciation by government and some old-school business leaders of the powerful communication and commerce tool that the internet is.
- If you have been thinking of adding an on-line store to your website then now is a good time get serious about it. There may not be much of a "wave" to ride during the quarantine due to the difficulties I expect in sourcing and delivering, but you can be prepared for when this is over and be ready for a population that has been browsing and bookmarking everything they can find for weeks (if not months). So if you have products you can sell on-line then let's talk now while we have time to properly plan.
- This is also a good time to revisit your website if you have not done so for a long time. Let's go through it and make sure it is up to date. Do you need new pages? Does your site need a clean-up or a re-design? Let's make you stand out while people are looking.
- Anybody with a service that can be delivered over the internet should be looking at what information is on their website and if visitors can easily contact them. It is more true than ever that your website is your salesperson. If it doesn't have correct and compelling information, or if the contact details are not up to date, then your website can not sell you.
- If you believe there is an opportunity for your product or service during this period then it may be wise to start or boost your SEO or AdWords marketing effort.
I will be stuck working at home with teenage children for the foreseeable future. If you are also a parent then you know that can be a challenge, so will share some tips on how to prevent your children from driving you crazy while you are all locked away together for an extended period. If your children are at the age where they play a lot of games (and let's be honest, most are) then:
- If you have a console then grab a subscription to PSN (if the have a PlayStation) or XBox Game Pass (if you have an Xbox). Those services charge a monthly subscription of around $15 for hundreds of games that can be downloaded and played as much as you want.
- If you are a phone gamer then Apple Arcade or Google Play Pass are very good options. Both are subscription services for under $10 per month that allow you to play hundreds or ad-free, micro-transaction-free games as often as you want. There are some surprisingly good games available considering they are phone offerings.
- If you have a Nintendo Switch then Animal Crossing, Legend of Zelda or Splatoon 2 will take up lots of time. For same-room, family multi-player then check out Smash Bros or the ever-reliable Mario Kart games.
- If you are a PC gamer then Steam and Good Old Games have a lot of very cheap options, and both look like offering free games during this quarantine period. Stream's first free game is the Tomb Raider reboot which is definitely worth the time to play. Its story was written by Rhianna Pratchett, daughter of fantasy writer Terry Pratchett.
Please stay safe and take care of your family and loved ones. We are fortunate to live in an age where communication is so easy. If you have older relatives then don't forget to check in on them.
If you would like to talk or email then I will always be available for you.
I look forward to seeing you on the other side of this.
GMAC Internet Solutions