Have you ever looked up a restaurant you heard great things about only to find an out-of-date website (or no website at all)? I know that I have. And while I may be more picky than most, I usually choose not to eat at that restaurant. It’s not that I don’t trust the person who referred me, but that I like to check things out for myself.
Recently, a client came to me in need of an updated website. Her business was thriving and she was booking new clients faster than she imagined through word-of-mouth referrals, but she wanted to appear more professional when people searched for her online.
Referrals are great – and my business is built on them – but it’s important that you don’t let a word-of-mouth business tempt you into letting your website remain less than professional. (If you’re just starting out, I totally support your DIY-ing it until you’re ready to invest in working with a designer.) You want your website to support the recommendations you’re receiving.
These are a few reasons why having a professional website is so important:
Have a Home
Your website is the online home of your business. And in an age where everyone is searching online, that home needs to reflect what you do and who you work with.
If you’re currently building your business based only on social media platforms, you really need to create a website as well. While social media is a great way to build community and share your work, it doesn’t belong to you. Facebook can shut your account down at any time, even if you didn’t do anything wrong, or they can decrease your reach so you have to pay for ads to continue growing.
A website is something you own and you can change it as needed to reflect your business. You can also use your social media to direct people to your website where they can more easily get in contact with you so that you can find more of your dream clients.
People judge a business based on it’s website. There’s no way around that, so you need to have a website that looks professional and trustworthy.
Your website should reflect your brand, be authentic to your voice, and provide value to visitors so that they can know and trust you before they even get in touch with you about working together.
Building trust can be done is many ways, including:
- Creating and sharing content
- Posting consistently
- Sharing images of yourself (head shots and at work)
- Featuring testimonials and projects
- Making it easy to navigate
The best websites will have all of these things, and you should be checking every few months to make sure they are all up-to-date.
Find Dream Clients
A well-designed website will show your dream clients that you’re the perfect fit for them (and it will turn off those not-so-dreamy clients so you don’t have to).
This is where your portfolio becomes really important – you want show work that you want to be hired for, not just every project you’ve completed. Here are a few tips to help you curate a portfolio that gets you hired:
- Only share work you loved and want more of
- Include a testimonial from the client along with a head shot
- Talk about some of the details of what you did and how that benefited your client
- Include a link to a blog post with more of the story if applicable
You can also make it really easy for visitors to know who it is you work with by telling them who your dream client is. Making a list of things your dream client loves, believes, and does is a great way to do.
The overall goal of your website is to get your dream clients to hire you and to turn others away for you so you don't have to say no.
Share Important Information
We all have information that we would like our clients (or other vendors) to know before they work with us and it can be exhausting to share that each and every time someone asks.
You can use your website (especially your blog) to education clients about the most important information, answer your frequently asked questions, and let people get to know who you are before they hire you.
By sharing this information freely and openly, you let visitors know that you’re an expert in your industry and that you provide even more value if they hire you.
Move to the Future
You can grow and expand a website as your business grows and changes.
They are easy to update (especially compared to paper documents), help you reach more potentials clients, and can help you build an audience over time so that you always have people supporting you.
While you may not know what services you want to offer in the future, a professional website will be able to expand with you so that you aren’t limited by the platform.
To-Do For You: If you don't already have a website, look into Squarespace. It makes it really easy to DIY a website until you're ready to invest in a working with a designer.
If you have a website, but you think it needs some improvements so that you can get hired by your dream clients, book a FREE website assessment with me. During this 20 minute assessment we'll
- Review your website together
- Talk about ways you can tweak your website to attract your dream clients
- Come up with three simple updates you can make today
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Lemon and the Sea is a brand and website design company located in Richmond, VA. I specialize in making the branding process personal. I work with creative women who have a heart to serve others grow their businesses so they can focus on what's most important - family. I work closely with small businesses to help them dig into what makes them unique, share their vision, and build a business that genuinely represents who they are.