Why do websites matter?
A lot of people contact me because someone else tells them they need a website- their publisher, their agent, their friend.
It’s a “should” or a “I’m supposed to” or “they say” – an obligation.
There are many reasons to have a website – but a sense of obligation isn’t going to be particularly motivating to you to pay for or finish the project.
There are SO many benefits to having a website, or a better website.
Websites are vital to doing business online, to doing business offline, or to establishing yourself as an expert.
They sell you. They work for you. They are open all hours of the day and night so you don’t have to be.
If you aren’t a huge internet user, I’ll share my own internet use to explain how central websites are to catching business.
As a 30-something millennial, I rely on websites to determine my purchasing decisions. And not just to buy things online. To pre-shop – see if my local grocery store carries my favorite brand of ice cream before I go. To check out menus of restaurants before I pick one. To check out preschool tuitions and handbooks before calling one for my son. To check reviews. To look up hours.
If a business or school doesn’t have a website, chances are they won’t get my business. I want to know what I’m getting into.
And I’m not alone – 81% of consumers say they research something online before making a purchase.
Your website should make your life easier.
Having a website can make your life easier, too, as the website owner. Here are a few ideas of ways websites I’ve launched for clients have made their lives easier:
- Creating online job applications for businesses.
- Automating the process after receiving the application – sending the applicant an email informing them of the next steps.
- A contact form with date selection for a doula so she could see right away if the client would line up with her availability
- Converting a paper volunteer application to a digital one so the volunteer coordinator didn’t have to go through the extra steps of emailing the applications, then inputting the data into a document when receiving the application back.
- After a potential client submits an inquiry, we can direct them to a scheduling page to schedule their free intro consult. Your sales funnel can be better with forms!
Sell Yourself 24/7
Whether it’s an actor with headshots and demo reel, a performer with music, or a copywriter with articles – portfolios and testimonials sell your work for you. You don’t have to email every person or jump on the phone with every little inquiry explaining why you are great at what you do – they can look, or listen, or read. Even when you’re asleep!
With clear calls-to-action (‘how to hire me’) your website should make your business life MUCH easier.
Other Ways a Website can Make your Life Easier:
- Setting up an automated opt-in freebie for an email newsletter – just set it and forget it! As people sign up for an email newsletter, they’ll get an email with the free PDF e-book, for example.
- Having all the info people call them about (hours, directions, information) and then their phone line can redirect people to your website for more information instead of wasting time fielding those calls with the same questions.
- Automatically generating a list of newsletters sent by an organization so they didn’t have to keep uploading them to their website after sending them.
A Website Design Should be More than Just Design
Half of the work is the way your website looks, yes. It should be cohesive and polished and professional.
But also strategy matters. Functionality matters.
If you don’t understand what a website can do for you – or just view it as a brochure of sorts instead of the interactive showcase of your work and expertise that it can be – it can seem like a lot of money and time for a something you “should” have for your business, simply an obligation instead of one of your most powerful tools.
Work smarter, not harder. And your website can help you do that with the right expertise and strategy.
There is certainly a time and place for a low-cost website builder. But it lacks the strategy of a real website designer and developer like myself. You’ll save some money doing it yourself – but once you have more money than time, do yourself a favor and hire a professional.
It will save you time AND money in the long run.
But I Can’t Afford It!
It’s an investment that will make you more money in the long run (if you have a great product and services), but I get that taking the leap can be scary for some solopreneurs.