Why Your Website Isn't Getting You The Gig!

Why Your Website Isn’t Getting You The Gig!

As a speaker, coach or consultant, your website should work like a sales representative. Out there hustling to get your next gig. If you haven’t had at least a handful of leads come in through your website, leads that you’ve converted into paying gigs, it may be time to ask the tough questions and see if your site is actually doing its job.

Consider the following reasons why your website might be letting you down:

1. You have the wrong testimonials.

Jane Atkinson tackles this in her excellent book The Wealthy Speaker. Here’s what she had to say:

What you want for testimonials is for them to answer the question: ‘What changed as a result of John Smith’s presentation?’ That’s what you need to ask your client to write about.

I couldn’t agree more. Most testimonials read like a stripped down greeting card. “So and so is a great speaker who delivered a thoroughly enjoyable presentation.” That’s nice, but it’s hardly persuasive.

Think in terms of the results that were achieved since you were booked. Did sales go up? Has morale visibly boosted? Get specific and plant the seed of ROI in your future client’s head.

You might want to seriously consider walking clients through writing the kind of testimonials that you need, maybe even providing them with a template when you request a testimonial.

You ARE requesting testimonials and not just waiting for the client to do it on their own, right?

2. You don’t have a GOOD video.

This is another point hammered home in The Wealthy Speaker. You need at least one GOOD video on your website. Notice the emphasis on good. What’s the big deal with video? Put yourself in the shoes of a meeting or event planner seeking out the best speaker for hire. They are going to look at a lot of speakers and they’re going to want to process the gist of these speakers quickly. Video is the best way for them to do so.

Amidst all of the reasons you should willingly open your wallet wide, make one of them your website (I promise I’m not just being self-serving here) and make the other one your video. Find someone who specializes in speaker videos. It’s a different animal than commercials or short films. Once you’ve got a killer video, put it in a place of prominence, front and center, on your website.

Seriously, it should smack people in the face and make them want to hire you!

3. You haven’t made it easy for people to hire you / work with you.

Larry Winget has really nailed this part of his website. The second link in his menu says ‘Hire Larry’. In case you miss that, there’s another prominent link just a bit further down on his home page. Once you click on that section, there are links to download his introduction, photos, and other press materials. There’s a hard-to-miss button in the sidebar that walks you through the next steps. Gee, I’m starting to think that this Larry guy is open to being hired for public speaking gigs!

People want to be guided through this kind of process. You’ve shown them where the answer lies, now hold their hand as you cross the bridge together. Might I suggest a big button that says “Hire [insert your name here],” or something similar? Make sure you include a resource section where your new client can download everything they need, including a speaker introduction/bio and a press kit.

Sharing these kinds of resources on your site shows that you are a professional who has thought of everything (or close to it). People find this so reassuring that, when all else is equal, these resources could actually be the tie-breaker.

4. Your photography is weak.

This one is pretty obvious, right? You know you need professionally shot, up-to-date photos that reflect your personality? You know that getting your buddy to snap some iPhone pics isn’t how the pros do it? It’s such a no brainer! Hell, I feel silly for even bringing it up.

5. It’s just flat out bad!

This one is tough. It’s subjective and when things are outside of your area of expertise, it’s hard to know what you don’t know. Design is, of course, aesthetic; it appeals to emotions and sets up a look that says credible and professional. Design also exists to facilitate functionality, allowing for booking speakers and consultants, connecting via social media, and reading and sharing blog posts.

I’m not going to share my philosophy about what design is and isn’t. My suggestion is that you never go too long without putting your site through the wringer. If it’s been more than eighteen months since your site got a serious tune-up, bring in a pro, get your site audited to see what’s missing. Bone up on WordPress and choose a nice looking theme.

Just do something! Make it a priority to have a continually improving site and keep your foot on the gas.

Your Turn!

I would love to know what you thought about this article. What did I leave out? What changes have you made to your site that have yielded positive results?

I hate the idea of speakers settling for fewer gigs for less money. If there’s anything I can do to help make your site better, even if it’s just providing my two cents on what you’ve got, then hit me up!

Why I Build Websites For Speakers

Why I Design Websites For Speakers

The story about why I create websites for speakers and coaches is one I’ve been meaning to tell for a long time.

I’ve worked on websites across the board, within a lot of different industries. I’ve worked on websites for lawyers, dentists, retail, churches, authors, and restaurants. I could have chosen to focus any number of industries. Several, though, I made the decision to focus on websites for speakers and coaches.

We know from Simon Sinek that “why” we do things is really important. Here’s my “why”:

In 2012, I was struggling. I was two years removed from setting out on my own. Even though I’m good at what I do, I wasn’t attracting the right kind of clients and was making little more than enough money to pay my bills.

That’s when I came to my “get it right or get out” moment. I was either going to figure out how to turn my business around or I was going back to the corporate world. To help me sort it out, I hired a business coach who was specializing in helping tech-driven companies (it was this guy).

The difference was night and day and it was immediate. Right away I put some practices in place that turned things around for. My rates went up. I started attracting better clients. I ditched a lot of bad habits and picked up a lot of great new ones – habits that are still a major part of my business today.

I was really blown away by the impact my coach had on my business and knew then that the people who make a living by helping others really DO make a difference.

My business coach went on to make speaking a big part of his business. I was able to return the favor and help him with his website and help him get more speaking gigs. I know that he went on to do some amazing things, (and is still doing amazing things) helping businesses from the stage, in small part because of the work we did on his website.

A good speaker is really someone who coaches from the stage. I like the idea of helping people that make a business out of helping others. I like to think that I’m helping speakers extend their message beyond the stage and helping coaches extend beyond their sessions. I like to think that, by proxy, I can claim a very small part of all the breakthroughs that those in the coaching community are so great at prompting.

I’ve spent enough time around speakers to realize that they are a different breed. As a result, speakers and coaches need a different kind of website than the rest of the world. I enjoy honing in on the nuances that come with a speaker/coach website. I’m getting better and better at dealing with these nuances and I’m committed to serving “my people.”

My questions for you? What do you deal with as a speaker or coach that’s unique to your profession? What are the challenges that you’ve had to face with your website and branding?

I love hearing from people who are in the middle of it all, so send me an email and let me know!

WordPress For Speakers: A Perfect Fit!

WordPress For Speakers: A Perfect Fit!

I am a fierce and loyal WordPress advocate. It’s all I use for websites and I’ve logged time on over 300 sites. I love it so much that I not only use it for my business site, I have devoted a lot of time to the WordPress community. There’s a reason this CMS and web design juggernaut powers over 30% of the web: It’s awesome.

For speakers? It’s a perfect fit.

Most speakers have little to no support staff. As a solopreneur, I know what that’s like. We need a system for our websites that is simple, yet flexible. Those are the hallmark qualities of WordPress.Click To Tweet

Maybe you’re planning a website design project soon. Maybe you’ve thought about switching your current site to the platform. It’s the right call, but allow me to settle the debate for you.

Why WordPress?

WordPress Has The DIYer In Mind

When it comes to basic tasks like blogging and updating text, the entry level barrier is low. WordPress was designed explicitly for blogging. As such, the interface for adding and formatting text is very simple. For most people, a quick tutorial gets them up and running. There’s no need to rely on a webmaster for every little text update. You can get in there and do it yourself. The best part: the core software is absolutely FREE to do with however you wish.

WordPress Is Open Source

Imagine an army of millions as your support crew. WordPress is a software by the people for the people. Millions of users contribute to updating the code, creating plugins, and fielding technical questions. This means that innovation never stops.

It is a living organism that keeps growing and getting better and better. One of my favorite parts of the open source aspect is the WordPress codex. The codex is a massive forum where people from the community hang out answering technical questions. If you’ve got a problem, chances are someone else has already run into it and is ready to help.

WordPress Is Scalable & Customizable

One word – plugins. Plugins are the magical expansion packs that make it possible for designers, developers and even DIY users to do just about anything.

Need to collect email addresses and send out newsletters? There are plugins for that. Need to embed your podcasts? There are plugins for that. Need to integrate seamlessly with social media? You guessed it. There are literally millions of plugins available. Some plugins are free, some are paid (premium). If you can you dream it, chances are there’s a plugin to do the job.

WordPress Is Stable, It’s Not Going Anywhere

WordPress has been going strong for over ten years. A lot of web platforms have come and gone in that span. Few things are more discouraging than learning to use new software to develop a site, only to have the tools die on the vine. You’re left with a site that’s no longer supported and a software no longer receiving any updates.

Luckily, the software and the community show no signs of slowing down. If you were to plot growth on a chart, it would be an arrow pointing up. Over a quarter of the web is built with it. That is a HUGE number. If you want the best bet for a web platform that is going to be around tomorrow, bar none it’s WordPress.

WordPress Takes The Pain Out Of SEO

This is what Google engineer Matt Cutts had to say in 2013 (and, if anything, things have only gotten better):

WordPress takes care of 80-90% of the mechanics of Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

That’s high praise from the company that holds the keys to the web. Even if all you did was set up WordPress with your content, it would already do a great job with SEO.

Need to a more recent rave for WordPress and SEO? Check out this read from Torque.

I’ll save sharing all the nuts and bolts of why WordPress is such a smart choice when it comes to SEO. Instead, I’ll leave it at this: there isn’t a web platform out there that does SEO better. Plus, you have the fantastic (and free) SEO plugin, Yoast at your disposal to take it to the next level.

What do you think about WordPress?

Obviously, I’m a fanatic. I can’t help it, it’s a great platform developed and managed by an amazing community. And for speaker sites? It’s a great fit all around.

Maybe you’re on the fence about the best solution for your website needs. If so, I’d love to have a conversation with you. Call me or shoot me an email. Maybe I can make you a WordPress enthusiast.

That Stock Photo? It Doesn't Have To Suck!

That Stock Photo? It Doesn’t Have To Suck!

I often see something about stock photos in one of my social media feeds. It’s usually one of two things:

  1. Lamenting the levels of stock photo suckitude
  2. Sharing links to gather up “the best” freebie stock

With that in mind, it seemed about time to dig a little deeper into this topic.

Stock Photos? They Don’t Have To Suck!

Let me let you in on a little secret. I use stock photos regularly. Not so secret, actually. I’ve always fessed up to this. I don’t have the time, or the inclination – if I’m being honest, right now to head out daily to seek and shoot my own photos for my featured images and social media images, nor do my clients.

Shocker! I’m often complimented on my branded images, even though the base image came from a stock photo site.

Guess what? Some of your other favorite bloggers and designers? They use stock photos, too!

Your brand imagery – even if you need to use stock photos, can be bang-a-langin’, if you just put a little time, effort and energy into ensuring you make the most of the best that stock photography has to offer.

And I’m not going to leave you hanging. I’m going to share some ways to select better stock images and bump up their impact!

Choosing BETTER stock photos? Dig a little deeper than the first page of search results, ding-dang-it!Click To Tweet

Search Smarter & Harder!

Want to know why you often see the same stock photo over and over AND over? Because the people who search for stock images are, for the most part, lazy.

They type in a simple search, like sunset, and then they choose the very first image that shows up in the search. Sort of stymies creativity and exclusivity, huh?

Want to select better stock photos? Spend a little more time and smarts on the search.

Spend more time! Go through more than the first few rows of images. Sometimes that stellar stock photo is back on page six!

Smarten that search! Consider your search term. Say you started out with sunset, but you’re not finding exactly what you want. Consider adding to the search. How about beach sunset? Or lake sunset? Not wanting the water? Consider mountain sunset.

Investing a little extra time, or smartening up rather generic search terms can go a long way when it comes to choosing and using better stock photos.

Pay For Them!

If you pony up a little cash, chances are better that you’ll get a better image.

You don’t have to break the bank. You can purchase stock photos for $1 to $10, which, depending on how often you need to use them, I find quite affordable.

I buy about 50% of the stock photos I use. When my smart searching doesn’t turn up anything smashingly suitable on my chosen free sites, I pull out the credit card and prepare to pay.

While a large population of stock photo users are lazy, there’s an equally large part of the population that’s cheap. Meaning they don’t want to part with a dime. Pair that with lackadaisical searching and you see why there are so many repeats!

Aside: And when I say purchase photos, I mean something that actually works with your brand and business. NOT some “stylized” photo of “your” desk sprinkled with sparkly glitter, opened lipstick (how freaking unsanitary – especially if your cats, office assistants, traipse across it all day), and perfectly balanced thumbtacks (just waiting to embed themselves into your palm or foot – once the aforementioned cats knocks them down).

If it wasn’t immediately obvious. I’m not a fan of this prevailing pretty imagery passion.

Make ‘Em Your Own!

Many stock photo sites allow you to do whatever you want to the images, while some have more strict guidelines regarding use and attribution. It’s important that you read and completely understand the site’s terms of service, and, if necessary, each photographer’s terms of use.

If you’re sure that you’re allowed to edit and alter that stock photo, what’s stopping you? Why would you slap it up on your site without giving it a branded personal stamp?

I have templates (more than one, I’m kind of template happy) for each type of image I create. Be it for my blog posts, Instagram, Pinterest, what have you. With the use of a subtle patterned image overlay, a wash of color, some strategically placed text and the addition of my logo, you know it’s a Mallie design immediately upon viewing.

But how do I do this? Don’t worry, I’m going to be sharing some tutorials soon.

You can do this with free tools like Canva, to a limited degree, or you can decide to invest in your business and your brand and pony up the bank to take it to the next level (that’s my suggestion, BTW).

Show Off Your Awesome Stock Photo Creations!

With a little time, care and effort – and possibly a few bucks, you can create stunning graphics for your blog and social media accounts, even if you use stock photos.

Stop using and abusing the same old sad stock photos and you’ll stand out from the crowd!

Better Blogging: Size DOES Matter!

Better Blogging: Size DOES Matter!

That title could come across as rather click-baity, but I promise that the words about to fill your screen actually hold true to the promise in the title. I am, indeed, stating that size matters when it comes to your better blogging efforts. If you want your best blogging efforts read and shared, you need to consider size. Type size, that is …

Type Size Matters!

I’m 47 years old and my eyesight is still pretty dialed-in. That being said, I far too often find myself squinting on many a site that hasn’t jumped into the twenty-teens when it comes to type size and web design.

Tiny type and dense paragraphs aren’t likely to prompt repeat reads or social sharing. And don’t get me started on tiny type in a gray so light there’s no contrast with the white background. That’s another blog post entirely.

Legibility & Better Blogging:

There’s a difference between legible and readable.

(of handwriting or print) clear enough to read.
“the original typescript is scarcely legible”
synonyms: readable, easy to read, easily deciphered, clear, plain, neat, decipherable, intelligible
“large, legible handwriting”

We generally think of legible when it comes to handwriting. Consider the stereotypical doctor’s handwriting. Having worked my way through college as a pharmacy tech, I can vouch firsthand that many a doctor delivered prescriptions in almost impossible to decipher handwriting.

But legibility plays an issue when we’re perusing a blog for shareworthy content.

If I can’t SEE the content without squinting, because it’s too light, too small, or is delivered with a grungy typeface, we’ve got a legibility issue.

Hey Blogger! I'll never know if your content is readable if it's not legible!Click To Tweet

Legible + Readable = Killer Content!

Only if your content is legible will many a social sharer take the time to suss out whether it’s readable and, thus, ripe for social sharing!

Almost every content marketing expert under the sun has published a list of better blogging musts. I can certainly summarize here with a list of my own …

  1. Headers to highlight important sub-topics within the post …
  2. Shorter paragraphs …
  3. Proper word choice, ditching the geek speak and jargon
  4. Careful and calculated use of images and graphics to hone in on the point …
  5. Etc.

But let it be shouted down from the rooftops, no one’s going to critique the length of your sentences and paragraphs when they’re bemoaning the 10 point type in front of their tired and watering eyes!

10 point type?!?!?! I, for one, won't be sharing anything that requires me to squint! Click To Tweet

Bump Up The Volume AND Type Size!

The days of default 12 (or even worse, 10) point type should NOT be looked back to longingly. There’s nothing nostalgic about inducing nausea and migraines amongst your readers.

This site’s default type size, making use of all the loveliness that a carefully selected Google Font has to offer? 18, baby! And my type color default is BLACK on a white background.

When you make it legible, you give your readers the chance to decide whether your content is readable. And when it’s legible and readable, it’s more often deemed shareable! And isn’t that what better blogging is all about?

Why are you holding out? Bump up the volume and better your blogging by bumping up the type size. TODAY!Click To Tweet
Design Dilemma: Who's The Website Really For?

Design Dilemma: Who’s The Website Really For?

Several years ago, I had the distinct pleasure of not only helping to organize and promote Atlanta’s 2016 WordCamp event, I also got to present on one of my favorite topics. That topic? For whom, exactly, a website is really designed.

Design. Especially Website Design, Can Be A Contentious Topic …

My presentation was NOT a step by step guide or how-to tutorial. It was more of a philosophical discussion.

I don’t know how much you read online, but I’m pretty voracious. And more often than not, I read articles and opinions which state that your website MUST be all about your ideal client, your target market, your “avatar.”

I said that my take might be contentious.

I DISAGREE, in all caps, with the idea that a site isn’t about its owner. Your website is ABSOLUTELY about Y-O-U! As a matter of fact, the first three letters of “your website,” are Y-O-U.

The way I see it, prospects, projects and even long-time customers come and go. But your relationship with your own online presence, your brand, your business, must stand the test of time. If you want to build any lasting brand recognition, anyway!

Are You The Superhero Of Your Own Website?

Consider this … if you’re not all that jazzed about your website, your brand’s online home … how jazzed do you think you’re going to be with the leads and prospects that site generates?

You spend a lot of time on your site. Shouldn’t you enjoy that site? If the thought of working on your own site makes you yawn and need a nap, then it’s time to consider a change!

It’s a conundrum, certainly. Is the site for you and your business? Or is it ALL about those whom your business hopes to serve in the future?

In order to be one, it must also be the other!

Know, Like, Trust … The Trifecta!

Those seeking to do business online want to do business with someone they feel they know, like and trust.

Someone is the key word in that sentence.

Is there a someone within your site? Does your website have any personality at all?

Does your website say to those who see it, “here I am, the very person with whom you want to collaborate on your project?”

The Fake Faux Pas … It Will Haunt You For A Long Time

The people you want as clients are smart. It doesn’t take them long to sniff out a fake persona.

Once you’ve been sniffed out as a fake, as insincere, as NOT real, the chance that prospects can learn to know, like and trust you? It’s long gone!

Once that smell of insincerity sets in, you can't ever really get rid of the stink!Click To Tweet

Balance Is Sooooooo Beneficial!

A site that is both for and about YOU and for and about your client requires balance.

You must balance:

  • professional with personality
  • practical with pretty (form with function)
  • corporate with creative
  • industry with imagination
  • and a lot more something with somethings …

Too much of any single component will affect and alter that balance.

Without the proper balance, your site can’t nail that know, like, trust trifecta.

Too clinical, lacking any personality? Hard to LIKE.

Too personal? TMI? It’s hard to see you as a professional or peer, which makes it hard to build TRUST.

Too generic? Too like EVERY other peer or industry site? Hard to KNOW why they should choose you or your business.

You CAN Differentiate!

Without detracting or distracting from your message, your end goal.

You CAN Stand Out!

Without stepping over the line or burning any bridges.

My presentation’s last slides detailed some of the different spots where your website can showcase some personality. Including:

  • color scheme
  • typography
  • tone of voice
  • your about page
  • ETC.

Any Questions?

I was absolutely thrilled when I got so many great questions throughout my presentation (I’m not the kind of presenter who makes people wait until the end). I’d love to answer any questions you have about ensuring your website is both about Y-O-U and your audience. The comment section is open, ready and waiting. Fire away!

Design Discussion Keeps Projects On Track!

Design Discussion Keeps Projects On Track!

Calling all speakers and speaker consultants! I’d like you to take a minute to think about what consistently derails your design projects (from website to branding, business card design to one-sheets). My guess is that it’s often a failure to deliver exactly what’s needed in order to get the project done in a timely manner. But, if we dig a little deeper, I think we might find that it’s actually a failure in the way we go about the design discussion.

Smart and consistent design discussions with your designer are the BEST way to keep projects on track, on time and on budget!

If you don’t know what you want, how can your designer?

Let me share a little-known fact. No matter how savvy your chosen design or social business consultant, and some of us are pretty ding-danged savvy, we are not omniscient or omnipotent.

[om-nish-uh nt]

1. having complete or unlimited knowledge, awareness, or understanding; perceiving all things.

[om-nip-uh-tuh nt]

1. almighty or infinite in power, as God.
2.having very great or unlimited authority or power.

We can’t create something from nothing. We can’t read your mind. Your ideas aren’t shared via osmosis.Click To Tweet

Just as any web or graphic designer has to go into a proposed project with a plan, a detailed accounting of proposed costs, products, services and expected outcomes, you – the prospective client, need to do some prep and planning before any designer can tackle your project.

Though we designers consider ourselves fairly awesome and amazing, we can’t pluck your favorite color out of thin air. And, believe it or not, unless you tell us we aren’t going to know about your aversion to small-caps font families.

Design Discussion Must: Content First, Then Create!

It’s the client’s job (that’s you) to provide the designer with the necessary bits of information and needed files/documents/images. Though it’s not often talked about, few designers can deliver on a design without access to all the content said design will house.

Design without content CANNOT showcase what it is that makes your brand or business stand out!Click To Tweet

Filler programs like lorem ipsum will work in a pinch for a paragraph here or there, but delivery of the content the design is meant to surround is key to a project going as planned.

Providing your designer with the following helps ensure your design projects don’t derail:

  1. Your logo – don’t expect them to scrape it off your existing website or scan it off your business card. Provide a high-resolution copy, preferably in its native format.

  2. Your company fonts. Don’t make your designer guess or find the closest match. Send them the correct files to work with from the get-go, or, at the very least, the name of the typeface. And expect to reimburse your designer if they have to purchase it.

  3. Examples of designs you like and don’t like, along with the why. Again, your designer isn’t a mind reader. You don’t want him/her to imitate a type treatment when the design element you liked was actually the color scheme, do you?

  4. Any special considerations. Do you need to incorporate audio files, video, an extensive PDF collection? Do you have custom scripts? Do you need a blog?

  5. Any and all EXISTING content. This includes images, video, audio files, or the links to these files on platforms like Youtube, Vimeo, SoundCloud, etc. Don’t make your designer reinvent the wheel and don’t make them search for links and accounts. If you’re in the midst of a redesign, consider sprucing up your existing content and deliver it in a timely fashion.

  6. Feedback. Don’t let your designer keep on keeping on if you’re not satisfied or you feel like the direction is no longer correct. Better to make changes/adjustments early in the project than to have to make major adjustments at project conclusion.

Design Discussion: Converse, Collaborate & Commiserate …

All projects are a two-way street. And design discussions aren’t always full of unicorns and candy-coated cupcakes. Sometimes the discussion will have to point out what’s not working.

The design discussion will only go smoothly if you have the same end destination in mind. If design projects are undertaken with two different end goals, you are setting yourself up for mistakes, ineffective use of time and an end project that doesn’t meet your needs. And you’re setting your designer up to fail when it comes to delivering their best work.

A good designer listens, chimes in when he/she feels you might be missing a vital point, and works with you. For the relationship to produce the best results, you need to be a proactive part of the project.

Cheap Design? Cheats You & Your Brand!

Cheap Design? Cheats You & Your Brand!

Cheap design. Easy design. Simple design. Design a website in just a few hours. Design your own logo and launch an immediately impressive brand.

Yadda, yadda, yadda, and so on. Are you falling for it?

Cheap Design Cheats You … And Your Potential Audience!

You see them all over! On Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc.  What am I talking about? The rash of blog posts and social media ads touting the wonders and benefits of DIY and freebie apps and tools to “design” your brand, your website, and more.

This rash leaves me itchy and angry.

Not so much in that it demeans what we do at Get The Gigs, but because articles like this, written by people who don’t do as they say while telling you what to do (the most recent was on a site that MOST DECIDEDLY WAS NOT built with a freebie web tool), are a disservice to anyone looking to create a strong and professional brand and presence online.

Your brand identity is meant to build trust and showcase your expertise. Your brand is certainly more than your logo, more than your color scheme, more than any single typeface. Thus, I think we can agree that your brand is pretty ding-danged important.

When you see cheap, is trust the next word that pops into your mind?Click To Tweet

Your website is your home, your hub on the web. It is the resting place and repository of your expertise, your experience. But, before anyone dives into your content in order to unearth your gems of wisdom, they’re going to take a look at your home page, or whichever page on which they’ve landed, and they’re going to make a judgment based on their first impression.

Created by “insert freebie tool” rarely makes a good first impression.Click To Tweet

Cheap Design: What Will It Cost You?

You expect someone to pay you, and pay you fairly well, for your speaking expertise, don’t you? It’s the reason you’re running your business, right?

You don’t want your target market and audience going out and finding a freebie speaker to get by when your skillset and expertise can do so much more for their event!

Yet, you’re showing that taking the freebie route is a smart option with that freebie site design. And possibly losing a gig.

It doesn’t take an eye trained in graphic design to suss out a freebie site. No matter how much they tell you they don’t create cookie cutter sites, they – indeed, do. Plus, when you go free, you get freebie company branding as part of “your” design. You get their logo, link and tagline automatically loaded into your footer or sidebar, sometimes right at the top of your header! Yikes.

When you go free, you get freebie company branding as part of “your” design.Click To Tweet

Free Can Fail Functionally …

Know what else free fails to deliver? Functionality.

Many free web design tools continue to rely on old technologies and development language. Too much outdated scripting language can actually make it difficult, if not downright impossible for search engines to seek out, spider and rank your site. That’s no good!

What else? All that outdated and convoluted language can make your site EXTREMELY slow to load. Potentials won’t wait around to see if the good stuff ever shows up. They’ll just move on to the next speaker who has a site that actually loads and provides them with quality information.

Finally, because these are freebie tools, they don’t offer much in the way of truly responsive design, allowing your site to show up in the best possible way via mobile devices. Instead, many freebie tools that offer a mobile option simply create a secondary site for mobile viewing, which means the experience, branding and look might not match up seamlessly with what you’ve created for desktop viewing.

Are You Mistaking Cheap For Affordable?

When it comes to design, it’s not affordable if it minimizes your chances of making money!

Consider that time is money. When free fails you, you’ll have lost plenty of time and effort. Is it worth it?

Is cheap really the word you want attached to your brand and business?Click To Tweet

I honestly could go on and on, stretching this article out with a laundry list of laments about freebie tools. But, I won’t – as deep down I’m sure you know that cheap isn’t really the catchy phrase you want to be tied to your business venture.

Put simply, cheap design cheats your expertise and your brand impact.

Ready to embrace affordable rather than cheap design?

Let’s talk about the difference.

It Takes a Village to Launch a Web Site

It Takes a Village to Launch a Web Site

I completed a website redesign and set it up for launch yesterday. In typical fashion, the client shared the new site with his friends and peers online and presumably asked for a little feedback. Right away the client forwarded me an email from a friend of his who noticed a small glitch with the responsive layout.

Now, we try to catch every issue while in the pre-launch development stage. I pride myself in thoroughly testing development sites on desktops, phones, and tablets of varying sizes. Every now and then, though, something slips through the cracks and needs to be fixed after the site is launched.

How do you think I felt seeing this feedback from one of my client’s friends? I loved it. I thought, “man, it really is nice to have a network of people double-checking my work. It makes my job so much easier.” It also got me thinking …

It really takes a village to launch a website!

The whole point of a website? It’s there for the world to see as your digital marketing representative. So, doesn’t it make a lot sense that we should get “the world’s” feedback?

I learned very early on that my work has to stand up to critical eyes. Feedback, criticism, whatever you call it, is what sharpens the iron. It’s what makes our marketing go from good enough to great. To this day I’m immensely grateful for every flaw that’s ever been pointed out when I launch a project.

I’ve launched websites for clients in the past and didn’t see much sharing going on. Why? I don’t get that at all. If I put that much work into something, I’m damn sure going to show it off. This needs to be especially true for speakers since, by nature, speakers rely so heavily on self-promotion.

Even if it’s just your friends and family, you already have an audience. Use them. Launch to your parents, your siblings, your cousins, your bartender, past clients, current clients, and prospective clients that you’re talking to. Ask them to tell you what they really think about your new look. I don’t think this shameless self-promotion; it’s more like telling the neighborhood that you’ve remodelled your store.

The way I see it, you get two big advantages from this:

  1. You get extra eyes testing out your site and catching potential glitches.
  2. You get an excuse for an extra connection with people who might be on the fence about working with you or people who haven’t worked with you in a while.

I have a background in usability testing and let me tell you, companies pay big bucks to recruit users and have them go over websites with a fine-toothed comb. Having a network of people who can do that for you? That’s huge.

There is a BIG caveat here. Don’t let this turn into design by committee. Have you ever heard the expression that a giraffe is what you get when you let a committee design a horse? You’re just looking for feedback here, not turning over the keys to groupthink. You’re still the boss of your company, your brand and your online presence.

Not to get too philosophical, but the pursuit of perfection is part of what makes us human. The day we shrug our shoulders and decide that it’s all good enough is the day we lose our edge.

Your people are ready to give you feedback. Ask for it and embrace the results. It’s only going to help your brand.

What can your audience do to help you with your marketing materials? I want to know how other speakers are approaching this. Send me an email and tell me what your audience has to say about your website.