How to Post Sitewide Alerts for COVID-19

Imagine your CEO walks into your office and says, “We need to put an alert message on every page of the website, and we need to do it today.”, could you?

“We need to put an alert message on every page of the website, and we need to do it today.”

Over the past few weeks, there has been a tremendous amount of activity centered on conveying important information about COVID-19, and it’s kept us busy.

Isovera assisted the developers at Tufts University with a communication strategy for their COVID information site. We helped the Archdioceses of Boston rapidly develop an online giving page after their parishes were closed to public access.

Large institutions around the country are releasing critical announcements concerning work from home policies, facility closures, and providing contact information for those in need. Unfortunately, for other companies, delivering these announcements and updates has proved harder than they thought.

The key challenge that these groups face is their website was never set up for emergency announcements and the systems currently in place for adding and editing content don’t provide solutions for this new urgent need.

The good news is, if you’re in one of these companies, fixing your website may be easier than you think! Special “announcement” regions can be included in your website templates that will only display when they have content to show. This allows them to be ever-present but invisible to the user until an announcement needs to be displayed. Specialized content types can be created or a specific taxonomy can be used to select existing content items for displaying in this announcement area.

You can include options for rotating messages, images, or any other type of display that you need (see above how Tufts can simply add in its “COVID-19 GUIDANCE” banner?!).

The way to implement these solutions depends upon the content management platform that your site is running on, but all of the most popular platforms like Drupal and WordPress support this kind of functionality.

Implementation Modules:

If your needs are basic, there are even a few off the shelf solutions that you can quickly implement.

Drupal has a module called Site Alert.

“The Site Alert module is a lightweight solution for allowing site administrators to easily place an alert on their site, for example for maintenance downtime, or any general informational message. Alerts have start and end date/times, and can be assigned a severity level.”

https://www.drupal.org/project/site_alert

WordPress has the module called WP Notification Bars.

“WP Notification Bars is a custom notification and alert bar plugin for WordPress which is perfect for marketing promotions, alerts, increasing click-throughs to other pages and so much more.”

https://wordpress.org/plugins/wp-notification-bars

There are, of course, many more solutions for each platform and while they will get the job done they may not have all the functionality you need.

If you’re in need of a specialized solution or want to implement one of the above modules, we are here to help.  By performing a quick site audit we can assess your site’s current capabilities, create a plan for providing an announcement functionality, and rapidly deliver it.

Please reach out to me and we can discuss the right options for you.