Disclaimer: I know that I use virtual professionals (virtual assistants, virtual paralegals, etc.) as an example in a lot of my posts, like the one yesterday for example. But to be honest, most of my posts, e-books and coaching materials apply to any small or micro-business providing services. I just happen to have the inside scoop on my own industry, and like most people, I write what I know. So for my readers that aren’t virtual professionals, just replace that term with your own industry, because trust me, it applies there too.
Yesterday I published a post about some pretty sucky websites that I’d observed during a web search for virtual professionals. I’m sure a cry went up from tons of people with free or template driven websites defending their choice. And I know of at least one person that complained that my website was, in their own words and spelling:
“very “busy”, bad color selection, and hard to maniplulate – very wordy and doesn’t appear “professional” like she preaches. Just my opinion… “
I’m not going to defend my choice of colors, graphics or design. All I can say is that it works for me and the services I offer and scores a 96 out of 100 on HubSpot’s website grader. (and yes, I did compare my grade to the grade of the above commenter…their site got a… oops! that would be wrong, wouldn’t it?)
My bounce rate is low, which means that people that come here, stick around and read what I have to say and most of all, I get clients from my website. But the commenter is right in one respect, my site doesn’t look the same as other ‘professional’ sites out there.
And it’s intentional.
My business isn’t like all the others, it’s unique. I’m a huge believer in the SEO power of WordPress for business websites and of using the Headway theme, so that’s what I’ve used to create mine. I’m a self proclaimed girly girl geek, so the colors and images reflect that. I advocate blogging for business, and that’s why you’re here reading Tips from T.Marie. I practice what I preach and it works. And according to most of the feedback I’ve received about the design, it does in fact convey professionalism.
But this isn’t about defending my website design. This is about using your website to set yourself apart from the crowd. Because let’s face it, you’re not the only one out there offering what you offer. And getting someone to choose your services over your competition starts with getting their attention.
Perhaps what I failed to convey in yesterday’s post was this. The business world is changing. In years past it might have been sufficient to just have a website that looked somewhat business-like. But now a site like that is just one in a sea of others that look just like it. Anybody with a few hours to spare can throw an ‘easy template site’ together regardless of their true experience and/or expertise. If your website looks just like theirs, how is a client to know that you’re different? That you have that expertise and experience to offer?
And I won’t apologize for my thoughts on free websites either. If you don’t have enough faith in yourself and your business to spend money on a website, why should a client have faith in you? I’m not pointing fingers here. I went the free website route at the very beginning, in fact, I went the free everything route. It wasn’t until I started paying for things that the clients began to call. In fact, every time I invest in my business, my client base grows.
Every single time.
So even in the shadow of a negative review of my website, I stick by my guns. The whole point of Tips from T. Marie is to share what I’ve learned the hard way so that you can skip the same growing pains I did and find success quicker.