Today we’d like to present a strong case for how a good online presence can add value to your clients, to your business (and to you!).
While there are so many online avenues to share information and to interact with others, your website should be at the heart of your online presence. While having a Facebook page
and a Twitter account
is great – it should not be a substitute to having your very own online home.
So where do you start?
Nowadays, almost everywhere you look, there are adverts for platforms that let you create your own website. Many of them proclaim how easy and quick it is, enticing you with beautiful examples of what could be yours.
Some of these platforms are indeed great tools but, before you rush in, we’d like you to be able to make a more informed decision about how you’re going to proceed.
We’d like you to consider whether creating your own website is really the best and most economical way to go, or whether it might be better to hire a professional to do the job for you.
Before we get into the pros and cons of both options, we’d like to ask you to think about something very important:
The value of your time
Think about how much you charge your clients for an hour of consultation. Let’s use an example of £50. That means that for every hour that you’re trying to learn how to use a new tool, and trying to get things looking just so, you’re potentially missing out on earning £50. So, if you spent 2 working days of 8 hours each, trying to build your own website, you’d be potentially missing out on earning £800! Likewise, if you spend £800 on hiring someone to help you build your website, all you need is 16 clients and it has paid for itself.
We find that a lot of people opt to create their own websites, in order to cut costs. However, it’s human nature to not always look at things from both sides (we do this too). We tend to look at what we might lose, instead of what we might gain.
In the spirit of presenting both sides, below are some of the pros and cons of both routes.
Going the DIY route
- Higher time investment
- Steep learning curve (to achieve the design customisation that you want, you might need some more advanced technical knowledge)
- Limited design input (either because of the platform’s limitations or because of not having more advanced technical knowledge). This may mean that your site doesn’t look as professional and as distinctive as you are
- You’ll likely have to figure things out on your own
- You may miss out on opportunities to optimise your site, due to lack of technical expertise or experience
Working with a professional
- Less of your time required
- Technical knowledge is provided
- Professional design
- Bespoke design
- Advice and insights to help you create a better user experience
Our pros and cons do weigh largely in favouring working with professionals. We promise we’re not biased, even though we will be soon offering this service! Tracy has been working with a professional since 2006 and has been able to develop a simple but effective website that consistently brings new clients to her door.
Despite having considerable design and technical knowledge herself, Lulu has been so frustrated in when trying to create her own websites (spending days working at it and still not achieving what she envisioned) – that she now hires developers on her team, so that she can offer this convenience to her clients.
Our advice to you is this: think about what’s most important to you and let that guide your decision as to whether you want to invest in creating your own site, or to invest in hiring a professional website designer.
If you do choose to go with a professional, be discerning
Look at their portfolio before commissioning the work. Do you like the sites that they’ve produced for others? Do these different sites have a look and feel that’s unique to the each of the respective businesses or individuals? Talk to the professional and gauge whether they’ve understood your vision. Be wary of professionals who use templates or similar designs for their clients. Are they proposing any meaningful customisations that will help to express what’s unique about you and your practice? If you’re going to invest in a website, make sure it’s memorable! It’s really hard to know how you want a website to look and feel, which is why we also suggest you have a bespoke graphic design that will lift your site from the ordinary to the wonderful. Good design always stands out. Don’t be scared to be different.
“Always be a first-rate version of yourself, and not a second-rate version of somebody else.”
— Judy Garland
3 considerations for creating a remarkable website
1. Content is king
Never underestimate the power of great content. That means engaging, authentic and well-written copy, that answers questions that your existing and prospective clients might have. When it comes to copy length – remember that your website is an introduction and overview to your business – it’s not a full biography! Challenge yourself to include only what’s absolutely essential. Ask a friend or two to review your copy and give you honest feedback. We always send out trial text to many discerning friends for feedback, and listen to every word.
2. Great imagery
Pictures are important, and we mean high quality images that are bright, vibrant and positive. They should never be distorted (e.g. stretched out of proportion) or even remotely blurry. Stock images are commonly seen on the internet, but we never recommend using them because, they tend to be unoriginal, conceptually, and you have no control over where else these images are used. Visitors to your site will know when an image is from a stock library because it’s not likely to be authentic to you. We’ve said it before, and we’ll probably say it again – a professional photograph of yourself is essential
3. Consistent branding
Have you created a seamless experience for people, regardless of how they come into contact with your business? Have you used the same logo, colours, fonts and images/image style across your business cards
, appointment cards, emails
, website and social media pages? Doing so helps to build recognition of your brand and thus makes it easier for you and your business to stay front-of-mind.
We know we have just touched on the very tip of the iceberg today. Websites are such an important tool – there is a lot more to say. Don’t worry, we’ll be back with more articles and tips very soon. One of the first topics we have in mind is about your website content. In the meantime, just jot down ideas for your content in your practice notebook :).
Got questions about how to create a great website? Let us know in the comments section below.
Have a wonderful weekend,
Tracy and Lulu.
Not signed up to our mailing list yet? Sign up here for free weekly tips.
If you found this post valuable, please forward it to other practitioners who may benefit from it as well.