OK, reality check time.
People often ask me for website advice. I usually encourage them to start with the website review, because each website is so different. Copywriters need to spend time gathering background information.
What’s your story? What do you offer? How are you different?
I need to ask these questions and more before offering meaningful suggestions. When I review your website, I want to do more than critique. Anybody can do put in two cents worth. I want to guide you to get a high-performing website…and that takes some digging.
So most of the time I recommend choosing the review.
But recently, I met a few people at a live networking event. They asked some very specific, beginner-level questions. So I gave them some tips to get started (with a warning that a quick convo won’t take anyone very far).
Anna hired a web service to help build her site. When she needed to make changes, she couldn’t locate the people who’d worked on the site…and they had her passwords. She closed down the site and is pondering what to do next. Meanwhile, she’s sending people to her Facebook page. She’s losing opportunities to build her brand and develop a following.
Bob choose Wix to build his website. He thought WordPress was too complicated.
Carla has been getting higher-end clients. She needs to upgrade her site, but she wonders what’s going on with her development company. She’s being charged for all kinds of things – a QR code, adwords, a responsive website (i.e., one that looks good on different devices) and a logo.
“Do I need this stuff?” she wonders. “And should I get it from the developer?”
The truth is, when you’re venturing into something outside your everyday expertise, it’s usually a good idea to seek out allies who can guide you through the jungle and keep the predators away.
I just went through this process when I bought a new laptop. One of the guys in my coworking space showed me exactly what model to buy. He warned me against features that sounded good but actually caused problems when people like me tried to use them. And he saved me a bundle. That’s the role I play for my clients when we work on websites.
Back to our ABC people:
Carla’s suspicions are justified. She’s getting charged for a lot of things she doesn’t need. A QR code is free. She didn’t need an adwords setup — and you shouldn’t pay for one anyway. Most WordPress themes come with responsiveness, without paying extra. And I can’t imagine buying a logo from a web development company.
Bob may be just fine with Wix…for now. If his business grows beyond a certain point, he’ll have to find another platform to get the functionality he needs. WordPress can be challenging, but a big advantage is that it’s very easy to get reasonably priced training and support. I help my clients get a basic site up and sometimes help them find additional services they need.
Finally, as Anna has learned, never, ever let someone else register your hosting or domain services! Keep a list of passwords in a safe place. Life happens.
So how can you not only protect yourself from sharks, but actually end up with a profitable website?
(1) Don’t talk to anyone who takes the initiative to call you and sell something. Ignore anyone who sends you a cold email or unsolicited social media message. Competent people rarely have time to take you to lunch (unless you’re a really good client who’s come in from out of town).
(2) Learn a few basics about how websites work. You can just go to YouTube and google “WordPress websites” and you’ll get a lot of good material. It won’t be in any particular order and you won’t have a single source of information. You’ll ultimately be better off with a paid course, but you can learn enough to recognize a shark attack when you see one.
From time to time I recommend website development courses that actually deliver on their promises.
(3) Don’t even think of starting your website till you’ve drafted the copy. Click here for more info.
Why do you need a website … or a new website? What will you accomplish? Just putting up a website won’t bring a horde of clients (usually). You’ll need to promote it. What’s the message of your website? What is your value proposition?
Without answering those questions, you’re headed for a dark website story with a sad ending.
By the way, if you’d like me to help jumpstart your website makeover, we can set up a consultation. Click here to learn more.
Got a website that’s pretty good but could be better? Or want a detailed blueprint so you can DIY a profitable website? Want an honest, thorough second opinion on your new website makeover?
Take your first steps to increasing your website’s profitability with the Website Review. Click here to get started.