You need a website, and that is pretty much non-negotiable. If you read my last blog, you know that I started out with the bare minimum and learned as I went. My first site was a cookie-cutter template with just the basics. Looking back, I now cringe at the graphics. But at the time, it served its purpose, and it taught me some valuable lessons about what people respond to when they see your site:
- Before I go any further, do this. Pretend that you are catering to the laziest, least motivated person you've ever met. You know that person who will watch static on TV for hours because to reach the remote they would have to lean forward? This is your reader. I get annoyed when I have to wait an extra third of a second for Google to respond to my inquiry. I am society. I have, no joke, changed my mind about contacting a company because I couldn't click on their website and call them. It annoyed me that they were making my life so much more difficult. So I found someone I could click on, and went with them instead. This is the type of person you are dealing with, because we are all like this now, spoiled and entitled when it comes to the online world. So, at the very least, make sure all of your information is beyond easy to find. Your address and phone number should be accessible on every page of your site. Make sure it's all large enough that the older generation can read it, because old people use the internet too, these days.
- Make sure the first page of your site is clear and concise about what you have to offer. Use the first page of your site to engage the viewer. Don't fill the home page with too much information, however; if your site is cluttered and full of too many words, the reader will get bored and tune out before they've gotten what they need.
- Do not even think about creating a website that isn't mobile ready. If your site can't be accessed on a cell phone, you are alienating a huge percentage of your potential customers.
- Changing your content frequently helps to keep you fresh on the search engines, which makes you more searchable. I highly recommend blogging. Even if writing isn't your thing, just adding a small amount of content on a regular basis will keep you rising through the search engines.
- Giving viewers a tiny snapshot of who you are as a person will help you to attract clients that mesh well with you. Since I'm an acupuncturist, my site contains details about what sparked my connection to this medicine. My mother was sick throughout my childhood, and I talked about how this led me to an interest in acupuncture. Even though my first website was sorely lacking, I can't tell you how many new patients came in and told me that they chose me because of the story on my website. They felt that they knew me a little bit, even though we hadn't yet met in person. If you're not a fan of writing, you can add some pictures, create a link to other sites with some of your interests...anything to give strangers a small taste of who you are.
- Don't get intimidated...you can do this! I still have a CD player, and JUST learned how to listen to music through Pandora and Spotify. To say that I lack tech savvy is a grand understatement. Still, I managed to create two separate websites, because these types of "design your own website" sites are well aware that a huge segment of the population needs lots of handholding when it comes to stuff like this. Trust me, you've got this. And if you need help, you can always reach out to me and ask for it, that's what I'm here for!