How important is your website to your service provider business? Amazingly I still see some ‘so-called’ experts telling people it’s not all that important. In the recent past I’ve overheard at least two conversations in which the expert told the new business owner to ‘just get a free website or Facebook page‘. If I hadn’t been in a public place I probably would have screamed “Noooooo”, much like Obi-wan Kenobi when his mentor Qui-Gon Jinn was struck down by Darth Maul.
Your website matters. A lot. Want proof? Keep reading.
A friend in my legal network contacted me today looking for virtual paralegal services. I’ve made it policy to try to find reliable virtual assistants and paralegals that I can pass along when I don’t provide the services needed. That was the case today. I gave a couple of names that are always at the top of my list but the individual was looking for someone more local. So I went looking for one of my virtual colleagues that would fit the bill.
The first one I came across was eliminated because of their website. Landing on their home page I was greeted with the same tired,overused business stock images and lackluster copy that my brain translated into ‘blah, blah, blah’ two sentences in. Not to mention the fact that their title simply read “Home Page”.
Then there was the fact that their copy ran off the white ‘text space’ into the colored background below, which would have made it hard to read if I hadn’t already lost interest. Scrolling down I had my ‘a-ha!’ moment…there it was the infamous ‘Website Tonight’ logo. I should have known, since it had that outdated, cookie cutter look to it.
I then proceeded with my search and landed on many more sites that were all so generic I didn’t even bother reading the text on the pages. The majority of them had no pictures of the virtual paralegal/assistant, just stale stock images. And lots of them had that ‘free website’ look to them like the one below. I didn’t even have to scroll to the bottom of the page to see the telltale logo.
Then there were the names that kept popping up as a virtual paralegal in the location I needed, but try as I might, I couldn’t find their website to learn more. Chances are, they didn’t even have one. Something that is incomprehensible in 2011.
With Google failing me, I decided to look a little deeper by visiting the forums. where I was shocked at the number of virtual paralegals and virtual legal assistants that either don’t have a website at all or don’t have it listed in their signature line on the virtual assistant forums. And going through the directories? I clicked on website links that led me to pages like the ones below rather than business websites.
After my search I came to the conclusion that there are very few virtual assistants and virtual paralegals out there that I’d feel comfortable recommending based on their websites. Of the 50 websites I visited today, only 4 of them left me feeling like the owner was a true professional that knew what they were doing and could provide the level of services they were advertising.
That’s 46 of you that failed miserably.
Think I’m being too tough? Trust me, as a virtual service provider myself I’m a lot more understanding than someone that is thinking of spending money on your services. I don’t care who is telling you that your online presence and website isn’t that important, I’m telling you it’s crucial.
Your website is the single most important marketing item for your business.
So why are so many of you are putting the focus on building something free and easy instead of showcasing your professionalism? I realize that not everyone is a geek that can build their own professional business site. If that’s the case, show how serious you are about your business and invest in having someone build it for you.
Because your website is that important.