A website is the digital front door to your business. It is seen more often by your clients and prospects than your 'real' office so it's important to have it looking good at all times. Websites can be tricky for those who are not ex IT managers or not very tech-savvy, so we have put together top 5 tips on how to make the process as easy peasy as possible.
Tip 1 - Understand a website fits into your marketing
A website is the cornerstone of your marketing. It's a vital part of your digital ecosystem but must be integrated with your marketing to get the best out of it. Most Professionals that we work with (Accountants, allied health, consultants etc) rely on word of mouth referrals for their new business. Some of them think that their website doesn't matter because their new clients get referred by existing ones. However this is no longer true. There is a layer of digital in between someone referring you to a friend and them contacting you - it's called 'checking you out'.
When a client refers you to a friend they might mention your name, your business name or your service. You can't control how they choose to refer you and once your prospect has this information they will 'check you out' on a medium of their choice: usually Google, LinkedIn or your website, or al three! This is the change in business today, there is a layer of digital in between the word of mouth new business and having prospects contact you.
The job of your digital ecosystem is to ensure that these leads finds you and not your competitor. If you can't be found on Google or LinkedIn, chances are your prospects will be looking at your competitors. Then, if they do find you, do you look credible? If you don't match the perception in the prospects mind, they will bounce and go elsewhere.
Finally if you pass the first two tests, are your contact details easy to find? The Contact page is one of the most important pages and plays an integral part of your website, allowing visitors and potential customers connect with you.
Tip 2 - Choose a website system you can use
Another common problem with websites is that once you get someone to build it, you don't have the skills to easily go in and make updates. Making changes on your website yourself is mandatory as it enables you to quickly fix errors, update changes in your business and add new content. Improving your website and adding new content frequently is one of the major drivers of SEO or how your site gets on the first page of Google.
We recommend one of the new templated website systems as they are made specifically to be easy to use for the average business person. Squarespace is the system we recommend.
Tip 3 - Gather your brand assets
Once you have decided on a website template you need to get all of your content organised. For most clients this is the hardest part! An example of the types of content you will need to gather includes the following:
- URL location
- Logo in .eps or .ai
- Your biography
- Professional photos of you and your team, products, events etc.
- Images to use (these can be stock photos or your own photos)
- Descriptions of your business and services
- Descriptions of your products
Most Professionals don't have all of these in hand so it's important you choose a website company that can assist you in creation of this content.
Tip 4 - Decide to do yourself, own or rent
There are many ways to create a website. If you are IT savvy, you can try to build it yourself. If you take this option I would highly recommend getting a web agency to assist you in the design and again once you have it built.
You can outsource and pay an agency to do it all for you.
The final option is to rent the website from the agency. In this model they take care of the ongoing hosting, maintenance and ensuring the website always looks awesome for a consistent monthly fee.
Tip 5 - Keep it updated
The final tip is to keep your website updated at all times. Your website is the public face of your business and it's important that it has fresh content regularly. This can take the form of a blog, podcast, articles or news. If people join or leave your business, if you move offices or change your contact details, you need to be reactive quickly and update your website. If you create new products or promotions these also need to be reflected on your website.
Gone are the days when a website was updated once a year. It's now more like social media where you need to update it on a monthly, if not weekly basis. It takes some time and effort to get right, but the benefits of increased referrals and more leads will far outweigh the time spent. That is why the choice of website system is vital, if you can't use it easily, you will not use it! If you are too busy to do it yourself, get someone to do it for you.
There you have it, our top 5 tips for a new website for professionals to get more referrals. We hope it was helpful and if you want some individual advice please feel free to get in touch with us.