Back when I started online, I remember spending huge amounts of time developing my first website. I actually built a few websites in raw HTML. I learned the basics at a community college evening course.
Website development consisted of long periods of coding punctuated by long breaks to deal with the frustration. The dog got a lot of extra walks. I ate a lot of extra chocolate.
Many of my clients today don’t remember that era. But they do talk about hiring their first designer or developer. If they’ve been in business for more than a few years, they may still be traumatized by the experience.
They chose a web designer who charged a ton of money. Then they struggled to write the copy or find a copywriter who could “get” what they’re all about.
Then a few years went by. Their business evolved. Now their current website does a great job of promoting their former business.
“A new website? Oh no!”
All too many business owners balk at this step. Many of us remember the terror of our first websites. In my own case, an inept web designer wanted to charge me a hefty chunk of change for “software” to “archive my ezines.”
Fortunately, before he began work, I realized he was offering a solution that could be accomplished with a few lines of code…if it needed to be done at all.
The truth is, when you’ve been in business for a few years, you should be noticing some changes. You have a clearer idea of what you want to do. You have testimonials. Maybe you’re charging more and seeking higher-profile clients.
Fast forward to the present day: A website case study
Recently I was talking to “Cynthia,” who had begun her business as an organizer and then a life coach serving individual clients.
Now she works as a business consultant and executive coach. Her clients pay considerably more for her services than she had ever envisioned when she started.
Cynthia’s site sends the wrong message. Her About Page describes her as “fun” and “sassy.” Her current clients are looking for “expert” and “confident.”
She’s got references to Toastmasters and BNI networking groups. Her current clients are looking for testimonials of her success as a professional speaker and workshop leader.
She describes her services in terms of gaining personal fulfillment, accountability, and advancement. Her clients want to talk about life balance and strategic career planning. They are way beyond accountability and they’re not beginners either.
Cynthia’s website makeover begins with rebranding – but not with a logo or color scheme. She needs new stories.
In her earlier days, Cynthia followed a role model archetype. She focused on how she was a very ordinary person – a B student in college who worked her way through, a business novice who built a thriving coaching practice, and a mom who home-schooled her kids while building her income to a very comfortable level.
Cynthia’s new clients are more interested in how Cynthia has helped other executives reach their goals. They want to work with a coach whose message is all about expertise. Many, like Cynthia, are now empty-nesters who have already achieved a level of success. They want more.
Cynthia’s pivot calls for finding her own new stories and finding her new audience’s backstories. When she follows that approach, she’ll find her copy practically writes itself.
Cynthia can also skip a lot of the headaches of developing a WordPress site without the help of a designer. Many business owners find they can choose a premium site and put it together with a virtual assistant – and a surprising number find they can save even more time with a DIY.
What’s more important today? The website content.
It’s easier to get a good design – so you can spend more time writing the content. More and more people want to write their own – not hire a copywriter. I have a course called Write Your Website for just this reason. Click here to learn more.