It’s hard for a speaker today to effectively promote their speaking services without a website, even if they don’t do a lot of sales online. However, there is still the misconception that having a website is just a matter of buying a template or finding someone to do it for you on Craig’s List.
There are several tests you should put your website through to make sure it is doing what it should, even if yours is not a complicated or flashy website. With the Internet opening our marketplace up to the world, and more and more people using websites as part of their marketing, competition is tough and you need to stand out.
First impressions are key on the Internet, and that first impression can last less than a minute as click-happy page viewers come and go. So ask yourself these questions about your website:
Do people know where they are right away?
Does your logo have visual meaning and does it describe your business? Before visitors start to read, they see, and so it is critical to grab their attention fast and convey what you want people to derive from your website through pictures and other attention-grabbing graphics.
Words are important as well though, so ensure your or your company name is visible immediately and that you have a tagline that tells people what you do. It is also important for every page to have a powerful title that communicates to your viewer immediately where they are and what they can expect from the page.
While it’s okay to be creative, your website is not the place to be coy. Make it clear to your visitors who you are and what you offer them.
Have you viewed your website on various devices and browsers?
A website will not look the same on all computers. What looks great on Firefox might be a mess on Edge, and even on different versions of each. Check it on the major browsers to be sure. Ask people you know and trust to view your website on at least 5 different monitor sizes.
Just as important are phones. You will want to check how it looks on Android and iPhone and on different size and resolution phones.
The differences in the way your site looks between different platforms might surprise you.
How functional is your website?
One of the most annoying things a website visitor can experience is slow-loading pages. In most cases, that potential customer will click away before ever seeing what you have to offer, and will become a former potential customer before you know it.
Make the effort to walk through your whole site, page by page, as though you are your perfect customer. Is the page load time fast enough? Do all the links work and direct to the pages you want them to direct to? Are there spelling errors or other grammatical problems? Is your contact information readily available?
The reason to go through the website reality test is to ensure that your potential customers are welcomed to your website rather than driven away. So make it easy for them to navigate your site, find what they want (and what you’re selling) and become your customer.
What impression does your website give?
Have you visited YouTube or Amazon lately? What was the first thing that came to mind when you arrived? Most likely it was something like: “Terrific, now that I’m here, let's get to what I want to see/buy”
Next, try to recall a website that you came across that was “less effective.” Maybe it was done on the cheap, looked like every other second-rate site, or just seemed to be thrown together by an amateur. I suspect that what came to mind when you saw that website wasn’t “what can you show or sell me?”, but rather, “is this a serious, professional person or company?”
Trust is key to having an effective website. Trust is particularly critical for authors or speakers whose products and services are, for all intents and purposes, themselves. If a visitor to your site doubts your professionalism or skills, most likely they will leave your site and will never return. I would like to point out a few of the essential ingredients to forging visitors' belief and trust in you, and developing an effective website.
Your website should:
Represent and reflect on you as a person
Number one is to make sure that your website identifies you as a real person. Visitors to your website must see from the first moment they arrive, in what ways you stand out from all the others out there. There are numerous ways to achieve that. You should ensure your content is well written and speaks to your visitor, and you should use attractive and non-cliche graphics to enhance that message. The core component is to never lose sight of how you want to present yourself to your visitors.
Display your achievements
Secondly, your website must show people that you have a proven track record in your industry. One way to achieve this is through the strategic use of effective copywriting and testimonials. Don’t hide your victories deep in your website, display them up-front for your site visitors to see.
Show how you can solve their problems
Lastly, you must consider the main reasons why event organizers should hire you. What problems can you solve for them? Then, clearly convey that on your website. Your effective, believable website is your first chance to convince them that you can be the answer to their specific problems.
About the author:
A former business coach, Diane H. Wong is now a writer at DoMyWriting. She spends her spare time working on marketing strategies and enjoys keeping up with advancing technologies.