If the website didn’t exist the clients wouldn’t have this portal to learn more about you and reach out and find you. And so many people think that it is super hard or super expensive and complicated to get that website up and we are here today to say, it’s not.
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00:23 Nanci: I am doing just fine, thank you. What are we talking about today?
00:27 Julian: Why you need a website.
00:29 Nanci: Why you need a website and what should be on that website.
00:34 Julian: Only I had a website expert – Oh, that’s Nanci Murdock!
00:39 Nanci: If only I had a photographer to put profile pictures on the website. So let’s backtrack, our last episode last week was don’t wait to go pro. Mindset and steps that you can take to move from that, starting a business, hobby, side hustle feeling to being a legitimate going concern business and one of the tools that we thought deserve a deep dive were a website. What it plans us to do? Or what freelancers ask you a lot.
01:10 Julian: I think that the number one question that I get and the most successful freelancers get is how do you get new clients.
01:17 Nanci: And your answer?
01:18 Julian: Through my blog. I get all my business, primarily my new business through my website.
01:24 Nanci: And so the very first thing that you want to make sure is that you have a website. In future episodes, we can talk about whether that’s content marketing that you get them through search engine optimization (SEO) whether referrals are being sent there, but the point is if the website didn’t exist the clients wouldn’t have this portal to learn more about you and reach out and find you.
01:44 Julian: Better have that hub before you start building up the spokes.
01:48 Nanci: And so many people that I worked with think that it has to be super hard or super expensive, complicated to get that website up and we are here today to say, it’s not. One thing that we have offered, we have mentioned it in the last episode which is we put a three part video tutorial. It’s under sixty minutes how to host a website, install WordPress and get four primary pages up a homepage, an about page, a services/portfolio page and most importantly a contact page a how to reach you and how to find you. So if you’re interested in that tutorial, it’s in the show notes below, and you can also find it at slashpodcast.com/web-series. We want to talk through in this episode a little bit about the four pages. If you’re looking at your statistics, the homepage is often the most visited page of any page of your website, and actually, the about page is the second one which is the human nature. If they like the website and they like the service, and they are like who is this person behind this website or this services.
02:59 Julian: The homepage may be all they ever looked at.
03:01 Nanci: Yes, especially since you can embed a contact form in your sidebar or your footer. Then that case for sure if your homepage is strong or they really just wanted to say I want this person, I want to work with this person, how can I contact them and there is the phone numbers on the website, email and the contact page you’re right they may never visit a single other pages in the website. So what was on the homepage? I think you have to have three points. You can set this up anyway that you want that if you want to get started and you want to get it up. You have three points about how your service or your product solves your prospect pain points, and that are what makes them money, saves them money or provides some service that solves them things that are causing them pain. This is where you want to address it, and this is where you want to speak to them directly.
03:53 Julian: Put yourself in the mindset of somebody looking for you. What are they looking for; when you go online with the problem you’re searching for the solution to that problem, so you type in-
04:04 Nanci: Photographer, graphic designer, plumber, web designer you have a problem that you need solve, and you’re looking for the person of the company that is going to provide that solution.
04:15 Julian: and more specifically, like I have a flooding basements so right away if I search that online what I expect to see on the homepage is problems with basement flooding contact and then boom
04:27 Nanci: Not a long description of how long you have been in the business and all of your credentials and things like that. You do want to hit the solution or the problem that you solve right up front. All right, we just wanted to talk through one or two homepages that we thought did pretty good job of communicating to their potential customers, their prospects, future clients. The first one was Freshbooks, and I know you will be like ‘oh my god they are obsessed with Freshbooks. My son has been told (my son’s in high school) and we had a note the other day – can’t believe I’m admitting this on a public podcast, that my son maybe cyber-dependent and I thought to myself, maybe Freshbooks started it. I understand the pain of my child. I want to give another plug for Freshbooks because both of us used it and we love it. In this example, when we were looking for an example of a strong homepage Freshbooks was just a natural. So the very first thing you see is small business accounting software that makes billing painless, they use the word pain. It is very common in marketing to use the term, solving the clients’ pain point. If you ever had clients which you want clients and you want to send the invoice you can know that at the end of a long day of photo editing or graphic design or whatever it is that you do creatively, professionally all day it can sometimes be painful to have to sit down and do invoices. I like what they say here – small business accounting software that makes billing painless because that speaks to me right away. Then their version of contact is to try it free. Right away you see a button just get started, and as you scroll down more solutions, ridiculously easy to use, organized in the cloud, so it’s not going to take up space on your hard drive and then easy invoicing which is what you want when you’re a freelancer. Trust me it’s easy invoicing. Is this page speak to you, Julian?
06:29 Julian: Yes, and I like down the bottom I if you continue you start to see social proofs. So you have actual clients that I can relate to, you know owners, entrepreneurs, the co-host who are speaking about the solving there problems and how they love using Freshbooks.
06:45 Nanci: That is super important, I should have mentioned that to you is that social proof, professional proof on every page wherever possible maybe not the contact page or the about page. So definitely on the home page and the services page wherever there is sort of at the point of making the decision of about whether or not they need to see people just like them have used your service, enjoyed your service and are vouching for your service.
07:10 Julian: And if you continue down, are you self-employed? and right there you got a picture of somebody working, drawing it looks like an artist, designing something on the sketch book and easy button learn more to connect you with the product.
07:24 Nanci: So this is a homepage that I think is great, it speaks to their potential clients, their prospects and I’m going to guess it converts.
07:33 Julian: Ninety-seven percent of small business owners recommend Freshbooks. Right there.
07:38 Nanci: And the second page we wanted to do was actually, our graphic designer and our podcast editor, which is Meredith at MediaMercantile.com. You want to do a walk through here at MediaMercantile.com, what we like about the homepage.
07:51 Julian: What I like about it is when I’m looking for a designer – what I want to see is some design chops. I want to see some creativity, I want to see somebody who understands how to speak visually, and as soon as you land on this website, you know the first thing you see is beautiful logo say hello to creativity, stand out from the pack with beautiful custom design. This is exactly what Meredith does, and then there is a slide that takes you through a few other images and little problem statements that are solutions to the problems. Paperback writers, you know one of the services that Meredith offers is pagination and book design.
08:31 Nanci: What I like about here sliders is that it is not about her. Every single slider is about you; tell your readers you love them with excellent pagination. Inspire your business with original brochures; stand out from the pack with beautiful custom designs. Every singles slider and message is about me as a client and at no point in there has she talked about herself or how great she is or anything like that.
08:59 Julian: It’s just like meeting somebody. If you meet somebody and the person, started doing is telling you about how great they are, it is a turn off because I do not want to hear how wonderful you are. I want to find out, and I want to discover how wonderful you are because I want my curiosity to peek and I want to follow through my curiosity to learn more about you. I think the good website has that element of seduction, you need to be attracted to the service being offered by, and you want your website to draw people in. I want to learn about Meredith so I can see it all there about and I’m looking for now and there she is, I can read up about who she is, and I can see a picture of her. I’m getting to know Meredith as a person, but it’s the work and her design and her ability that drew me to that page in the first place.
09:48 Nanci: Also as a graphic designer, as you scroll down the page she has a lot of her work she has a gallery. You don’t have to do this from day one the point is, it’s really about what I do and how to contact me from day one, that’s what in the video tutorials but definitely with WordPress it’s very easy and no fuss to implement a gallery of either your photographs Julian or creative work that you’ve done. And that brings to the about page which in about page you want to list your skills and your experience and more about who you are, but at the same time, you want to tie it back to the client. You don’t want to be, and I was going to say like you don’t want it to be the about me page, it’s funny because it is about me. And again what I like with Meredith has done here is she has given her skills, she hasn’t led with her credentials which are there and I won’t read the whole thing to you but she values attention to detail in her work and most of all the loyalty and happiness of all her clients over the years. She still tying it back to service and caring for the client and then in the bio she lists briefly the services that she offers brand identity, print collateral web design, etc. and she finishes the paragraph with clients repeatedly comment on the magical dreaminess imbued into her design. She’s always bringing it back to the client. This is a great example of an about page because what I get from this about page is she is capable, she is qualified, and she cares about clients. All right moving on, services page.
11:34 Julian: Services, well again speaking to the client-centric approach towards developing your website. The services are what they are there for. I want to know what you could for me, and I want to make sure that my problem is covered in your service offering. What’s the nice thing about services pages is that despite the leading, presenting problem whatever it may be once the client’s there it’s a good way to advertise the other parallel complimentary services that you are doing to expand on your on potential, I guess.
12:05 Nanci: Yes the scope of your business not just portrait photography also events, weddings.
12:11 Julian: Exactly, so if somebody is looking for a photographer to cover a conference, of course, that’s going to be listed, and I’m going to speak in that language that addresses a conference organizers mindset and they kind of concerns that I know that they have. In terms of fast turnaround, marketable images, people are smiling, networking all that stuff that people pay money for to have a conference photographer in the first place. But I will also let them know I can do corporate head shots, set up a booth on site, you know that’s another added value for me and them. Throw in a photo booth if you have a big party and you want to have your guest to have a great time putting on fake glasses and wigs.
12:52 Nanci: For me, I don’t have a website anymore because I’m moving out of client work. When I did, I listed that I did web design and what you’re talking about and I also listed that I did social media advertising and the same reason when clients are going there they may not have even understood the social media advertising could have been even part of a project, and it starts a conversation. It doesn’t always, but it can start a conversation that wouldn’t have happened otherwise.
13:16 Julian: Yes, you’re offering hooks. In this idea that a website is a person, first I have been drawn to this website because I got a problem, you have recognized that my problem is what it is, you have spoken back to me in a language that relates to me. I have gone to you about to figure out who you are as a person or as a company and I want to see what you do specifically so you’re giving me more and more content really that I decided on and gave me some ideas about what you can do for me.
13:46 Nanci: Sometimes it’s easier said than done but use plain language to tell exactly what you do. One of the most iconic books in web design is a book by Steve Krug called Don’t Make Me Think. Your services page is not a page to be creative. It’s not a page to write a novel or be eccentric about what you do. It just has to be short and to the point. Clients are busy, they want to know do you have the solution to my problem you just want to have a short yes, and yes these are the services that I offer.
14:18 Julian: And on that page Nanci as a web designer let me ask you, would you include their examples of testimonials of clients, would you include may be case studies or examples of, so you tell the clients the services you do and would also offer parallel some proof like I.
14:36 Nanci: Definitely, I think that in terms of getting the page up. Just, start then whether you do it, you know the next week or six months later, you can have – for more information on my conferences click here. It goes to a whole page on conferences, where there is specific testimonial related to conferences, specific images that you took at conferences so then at that services page underneath it where it might say corporate head shots ‘click here to learn more about my corporate head shots service and packages’. Same thing, ‘click here to a whole other page’ and every page services and then any case studies. Wherever you’re talking about the work that you do including the home page, have a testimonial or two from a happy client. Then if it is maybe not an appropriate to have a testimonial directly on the page maybe on the about page or the contact page. You can have it on the sidebar so if you have a website with a sidebar which is going to be in the tutorial that I’m showing you and have maybe a little Facebook box. I will show you how to do that and then a testimonial or two in the sidebar. Whatever page you are on the sidebar is there, and it has some testimonials for social or professional approved.
15:52 Julian: Covered up the home page, the about page, the services page which I guess slash portfolio if you’re a creative worker.
15:59 Nanci: In some cases, the services and the portfolio page are going to be the same and then sometimes they are not. In your case, your business is so diverse that your services would fill a whole page; you know a statement about events, a word about events, statements about conferences blurb, etcetera. Your page is going to start to look a little bit long and busy and if the portfolio is there. You will have a different page of a portfolio, and then you can have a drop down with under portfolio events, weddings, so people can specifically hone in on the portfolio that they are interested in.
16:32 Julian: A point were making is that for every client type you want there to be a very smooth and easy path for that client to follow. Not every client is going to follow the same path if you offer the variety of services. Even though they are related, I mean I may want to hire Meredith to design a logo for me, and when visiting your website, I discover she can also help me design my book cover and my website. But my introductory problem or my presenting problem was I want a logo, so I want to get to that first quickly and easily.
17:03 Nanci: Everything that you offer should be one or two clicks away, preferably one so If you are offering corporate headshots a client shouldn’t have to go through five clicks to get to a page to learn about your corporate because they are going to get lost. Every time, there is a click you lose something like 30 percent, yeah it’s a very high number. All right like you said we covered the home page, the about page, the services/portfolio page that can be one or two pages and the last page is very very simple and probably one of the most powerful pages- the contact page. How to reach you and you will be, surprise how many people make this difficult.
17:41 Julian: This is the most important piece of any content out there should be. I think and correct me if I’m wrong Nanci, I think your contact information has to be visible on every single page.
17:53 Nanci: I agree, it should be in the header if you accept business by phone, your phone number should be on the top right, and your contact information should be repeated in your footer which I will show you in the tutorial. Definitely, on a website that accepted user experience is home, about, services, contact and very rarely might want to mix up work and about or whatever. People are looking for the home on the left and contact on the right so do not try to reinvent the wheel and show people how creative you are. So for that contact page, you just want to have a blurb – Julian Haber, email, phone if that is appropriate and then form, fill out this form, and I’ll get back to you within 24 or 48 hours and make sure what she say is true.
18:41 Julian: Yes and I think it is important to have all three options personally. Not everybody agrees. They want to have all their contact information out there. I received maybe 50 percent of my business from people calling me, so it’s important that my phone number is out there even though that means, yes I get a spam call twice a day to be offered front page listing on Google, but it’s a tolerable aggregation given the at east in which my clients can reach me. And I have my emails out there, so I also get spam, but the reality is I don’t want my clients to have to fill in the form if they don’t feel like it. I mean I know I find form annoying, I don’t like to fill in forms, I’d rather just go on see the full number and get the phone to call somebody.
19:23 Nanci: and I am the opposite, I love a good form. More importantly, I like it when someone replies to me from the form because guess what – Nine percent of the time they don’t and that what’s bugging me. Don’t put a form on the website if you’re just going to let all the entries just go. And it’s not hard to put in a form I will show you in the tutorial slashpodcast.com/web-series exactly how at no cost to install a very nice classy looking form and make sure that every single time someone hit submit it goes to your email.
19:57 Julian: then you get that notification right away. Always standing my aversion to forms, I like to receive submissions through forms, but I make a point of this is another podcast you know responding as quickly as possible. I will never let a client wait longer than two hours. In my line of work, two hours you have lost half your clients.
20:28 Nanci: I try not to respond within five minutes because then they might get them the idea that you are always going to respond in five minutes, I try to wait until ten.
20:38 Julian: Once you have a client maybe you want to train your client in terms of how often then can contact you etcetera, but I’m talking about, A new lead, somebody reaching out who want to do business with you, who wants to wait in line? Nobody. So you want to serve it as much as possible.
20:53 Nanci: I think we will probably end up doing a five part series on client management. That is not just a single episode, and there is no way we can talk about it in the next five minutes.
21:02 Julian: But I think that has been a very good, I know that I still have to apply everything you’ve just taught me Nanci and redo my website so that we will be working on that in the coming weeks.
21:11 Nanci: So let’s will wrap this up, again if you’re interested in that web tutorial is completely free – How to host, install WordPress and get your primary four or five pages up http://slashpodcast.com/web-series. We will see you next week.