Suspend the activity of your site

Certain crisis or unforeseen situations (like the Covid-19) can bring an upheaval in your activity and your website during a temporary period. As the solution to completely stop your site or change all its content can have very negative consequences for Google and permanently harm your SEO, you will find on this page some tips to minimize and avoid such a scenario.

Limit the functionality of your site

If you plan to resume your online activity at the end of the crisis, the preferred solution is to limit the functionality of your site and be able to put everything back in place very easily later on.

Deactivate the shopping cart of your e-Commerce site

If all your sales are impacted, deactivating the shopping cart of your site is the most comprehensive and simple solution to prevent visitors from ordering. In addition, your products will still remain visible to visitors and all of your catalog pages will also continue to be indexed by Google.
You can remove the shopping cart of your site and deactivate all e-Commerce functions from the "Options > e-Commerce" step of TOWeb and subsequently reactivate everything back with a single click from there too.

Deactivate only certain products of your e-Commerce site

If only some of your products are impacted, you can activate their "Product not available for sale yet" option (and deactivate it later on when the time comes) or modify your stock from your backoffice to set it to zero.
If necessary you can add an explanatory text to the introduction message of all your affected catalogs or modify the "checkout introduction message" of your cart (Options > e-Commerce > Shopping cart) and, if needed, add or deactivate your delivery modes.

Inform your customers or visitors of the situation 

 Pin important information on your social networks. If you do not yet have a Facebook page or Twitter account this will be an opportunity to set them up and use them rather than modifying your entire website. You can display social media buttons on your site from the "Theme" step of TOWeb and add the different URLs of your social network pages there.
Send mailings to inform customers of your situation and development. An email remains one of the simple and effective way to easily and quickly reach your subscribers or customers.
Use a script to display a banner or pop-up window that will inform your customers of changes in your business when they visit your site (or certain pages of your site).

Note : a script requiring the use of version 8 of TOWeb will soon be proposed on our site to allow you to display your information inside a pop-up overlay window. If you wish to be kept informed of the availability of this script and how to use it on your sites (but also receive other useful information for your sites or regarding TOWeb as well as our future promotional offers), do not hesitate to subscribe now to the TOWeb's newsletter.

Add a new "alert" paragraph to the home page of your site by making it clearly visible to your visitors but with the shortest possible content in order not to the information on your home page and if needed, use a link/button pointing to a new page that will explain the situation of your activity. If you have one or more new topics dedicated to the explanations of all the changes in your activity, don't forget to use the "Disable search engine indexing of this topic" option located in the "Search Engine Optimization" properties of your page so that they are not taken into account by Google. And for the CSS style of your "alert" paragraph this can be done:

  • by applying "Panel" or "Highlight" or "Custom 1-5" to its "Style" property and then by modifying this style from the CSS editor of the "Theme" step to change its background color, its borders, etc.
  • by adding to it a possible object that can enhance your information, for example Note or Card object.

Add a temporary introduction page to your site. By adding a new "introduction/agreement page" to your site, this page will always be read first when accessing your site. Then indicate in this page the necessary content that will inform your visitors of all the functional changes of your site. And later on, when resuming your activity, simply delete this introduction page and republish your site. But be careful with this solution as using an introductory page for a long time may have an impact on your SEO.

Delete or adapt the content of the necessary paragraphs

If some of your paragraphs no longer need to be displayed on your site for a temporary period and their content is not of essential interest in terms of SEO for your page (for example a paragraph containing a form which is no longer appropriate to the situation) you can optionally apply the value "Not published" to its Display property. And if a paragraph needs to be largely redone, rather than deleting it permanently, you can:

  • either mark it as "Not published" and duplicate it so you only update its new copy and be able to quickly return to the situation before by just deleting it and changing to "Visible" your original paragraph,
  • or, if you have a Studio edition of TOWeb, use the paragraph export function to keep backups before deleting them and be able to put them back later on using the paragraph import function (choice accessible when adding a new paragraph).

Update your structured data

If your site uses structured data, them accordingly. As part of the Coronavirus, you may be required to use the structured data "SpecialAnnouncement" to highlight your information related to Covid-19 in Google's search results. If you are unable to add structured data to your site, you can also add a Coronavirus announcements via the Google Search Console.

Notify Google of updates to your site 

After each change and publication of your site, use the TOWeb buttons to notify Google and Bing that you have modified your site (a version 8.00 or higher of TOWeb is required for this).

Deactivate your site only as a last resort

If all the previous tips are not enough and you have to deactivate your site then you will have to delete it from your web space (function located in the "Publish" step) and republish only one web page instead that will explain your situation or add rules in your .htaccess file to redirect all your pages to a single explanatory page.
But deactivating your site and its content is not recommended by Google as it could permanently damage your SEO. If you ever have to do it then :

  • your site should only be inactive for a very short period of time (a few days at most) in order not to have a negative impact on your SEO,
  • and you should avoid notifying your changes to Google after updating your site.

Additional tips

See also the following pages:

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