This is probably one of the toughest areas to give advice on, as depending on the company, you are going to have starkly different uses and goals for your website. If you’re an eCommerce brand, this will be your bread and butter. If you’re a media company telling stories, you’re website is at the core of your reputation management. No matter what you are using your website for, it’s important that you update it as soon as you can once a crisis breaks. Here are some areas to take special note of:
Hero Image + Story
If the crisis directly affects your company and/or primary target market, your hero image and story need to be updated to your statement and a corresponding image.
If the crisis is at the peripheral of your brand and target market, you should add an FAQ page showing you are acknowledging what is happening.
Press Page (+ Blog)
MANY PEOPLE (press) are going to jump to your press page right away. Does it reflect what you need it to in order to defuse the crisis? Is it tone-deaf to what is currently going on? Does it have articles published that make you look worse as a brand in the face of this crisis? Edit it accordingly and make sure your statement is the #1 item popping up on that page.
Read and re-read. Does your about page help or hurt you in the current crisis environment? Is there a way that it can be rewritten to align better with what is happening currently? Edit it.
FAQ Page (+ Crisis Page)
Add a FAQ page and/or crisis page if this is a crisis that directly affects your company and target market. This will allow all of the current news, talking points, answers to questions, statements to be in one easy place for everyone from press to concerned consumers to employees to find.
Are your customer service hours limited or extended during this crisis? Call this out loudly wherever customer service appears on the site.
Does this crisis involve an employee in a negative way? Delete every single thing that mentions the employee from the website ASAP.
Websites are tricky little things because tons of content can get hidden within the layers, especially at larger corporations. Take the time to look and look again for anything that might make the crisis fire burn brighter, and look for opportunities to put the fire out.
– Marji J. Sherman