Sex Work Hiatuses and COVID Notices
With lockdown 2.0 inevitable nearly everywhere, you may be considering taking a hiatus from sex work. You are probably wondering about the best way to let your clients know that you aren’t going to be working. Most of us will immediately jump on Twitter or our other socials to let our followers know. However, many of us may forget to update our websites with a COVID hiatus notice.
Even if you remember, you might not know which plugins to use, or you might choose the wrong one to display your new notice! So what is the right way to add a COVID notice?
An easy to follow guide for sex workers who are placing their services on hold or taking a hiatus due to COVID
Well, as any good sex worker knows, there’s more than one way to fuck a dick! Likewise, there are a plethora of ways to update your website in order to let your clients know that you are on hiatus. Below, we will run through a handful of different scenarios. For each one, I’ll give you a few recommendations and plugin options to try on your own website. These recommendations will be WordPress specific, but the general principles will still apply even if you’ve used a different platform to build your website.
Scenario 1: “I want potential clients to be able to read about my services and see my whole website, but I want to notify them that I’m taking a break.”
You may fall under scenario 1 if:
- You want clients to be able to read about your services and see your rates so that they can still learn more about what you offer
- You are still regularly updating blog or gallery during lockdown to keep your clients engaged and want to make sure these are still accessible
- You are offering alternative services, such as virtual dates or custom clips and want to make sure these are easily discover-able
- Add a notification bar – a notification bar is a skinny banner that generally sits at the top or bottom of your website pages. Simple notification bars may just display a text notice, whereas more advanced configurations allow you to add buttons, links, customise colours, choose which pages to display the notification bar on, and even add countdown timers.
Some WordPress themes and page builders come with notification bar options built in, but most of the time you will have to use a plugin. There are plenty of free plugin options, try Easy Notification Bar, WP Notification Bars, or Top Bar.
- Write a blog post – A blog post will feel more personal to your clients than a simple notification bar or a notice page. Plus, it’s always a good idea to keep your blog regularly updated because regular blogging can help boost your SEO.
You’ll also have more room to explain your reasons for taking a break in a blog post than you will on third-party platforms like Twitter and Insta. Don’t forget to share your post on social media when you’re done though! Sharing your post on social is a great way to drive traffic back to your own website.
Scenario 2: “I want to temporarily hide all of my website pages and only show a single page notice to let people know that I am taking a break.”
You may fall under scenario 2 if:
- You work in a place where the police have been harassing sex workers who appear to have “active” advertisements during lockdown periods
- You want to turn off your phone, ignore your inbox, and send a very clear signal that you won’t be responding to messages during your hiatus
Try a Coming Soon plugin. When these types of plugins are enabled, your website visitors will only be able to see a single “Coming Soon” page. They will no longer be able to access the other pages on your website. The page can be customised with your own headings, text, and images, so it doesn’t specifically have to say “Coming Soon”.
However, be aware of the difference between “Coming Soon” and “Maintenance Mode”. Coming Soon modes will allow search engines to continue indexing your website. However, when you enable “Maintenance Mode”, your website will send out a 5xx or 503 error to tell bots that the server is temporarily unavailable. This 503 error won’t be visible to your human visitors, but Google and other search engines will see this error and they will not index your website.
While this type of error is perfect for when you are genuinely doing maintenance (like during a plugin update), if this error is returned for an extended period of time(such as for an indefinite duration during a global pandemic) it could affect your SEO ranking.
For an easy to use Coming Soon plugin, try Coming Soon Page, Under Construction & Maintenance Mode by SeedProd. They make a clear distinction between Coming Soon and Maintenance Modes, and they’ve also written a very in depth blog post on the difference if you’re looking for more information.
If you’re using a different Coming Soon or Maintenance Mode plugin and you don’t know if it’s sending out a 503 or 5xx error, you can check by using a uptime service like Uptime Robot.
Scenario 3: “I would like to hide some pages, but keep some pages public.”
You may fall under scenario 3 if you’re wanting a hybrid solution. For example, you want to keep parts of your website publicly accessible, such as your blog, while still hiding other pages, like your service list.
The good news is that this is definitely possible, but you will generally need to upgrade to a paid plugin. For instance, the paid version of the Seed Prod Coming Soon plugin allows you to include and exclude individual pages, but the free version does not. The paid version will also allow you to set up a subscriber list and capture e-mail addresses of potential clients who visit you while your website is in COVID Hiatus mode.
I hope this short guide has given you some easy places to start if you need to update your own WordPress website with a COVID notice.
Your Sex Work-friendly Web Designer
If you aren’t comfortable making these changes yourself or if you’re in need of a more complex or custom solution, don’t hesitate to get in touch! Some of the solutions we can offer include:
- Custom Notification Bars
- Custom Coming Soon Pages
- Waitlist and subscription sign-up forms – so that you can build a list of contacts to reach out to when you’re ready to work again