A lot of times my blogs are inspired by snobbery, I admit. In this case, it’s snobbish and even a bit hypocritical. Because my current website sucks. I know. I am ok with it, because 1) it serves my purposes (writing samples, evidence of business, landing place, etc.) and 2) I am working on a new site.
Today I was researching other sites to see what content they provide (specifically I was looking for FAQs I may want to include on my site). Not having a FAQs is fine. Especially if you’re a single writer and you are more focused on getting someone to talk to you. But these websites are terrible. Mediocre at best.
God bless ’em. I mean, they’re writers, not web developers, right?
But that’s no excuse. It hurts your business and it hurts the perception of the industry. And here’s why:
A Bad Website Tells Your Client You Don’t Value Experts
As a professional writer, I know the value of my services. Someone in the client’s organization can write web copy/blogs/pamphlets/sales letters/white papers/case studies, but I know I can write it better. Not because I know my grammar, but because I know how to determine the audience and purpose and create effective copy on a micro level.
Likewise, I know what I can do myself, but it would be much better if I hired an expert. Like developing an effective website. I don’t know how to do that. I don’t even know HTML (which is just the beginning). I can find sites and software to help, but even my best attempts will fall flat, because it’s not what I do.
A Bad Website Makes Your Services Look Bad
My writing is developed with the specific brand in mind and considers what it will look like on the page. Because that makes a difference. I hate working blind (not knowing what the site will look like and/or having no say in the appearance). And I hate giving writing samples of work I have done out of context.
Writing is the overall visual just as much as it is the specific words you use. You can have “the best words,” but if they are in a bad frame, they likely will be passed over.
A Bad Website Tells Clients You Really Don’t Know What You’re Doing
If your businesses is marketing B2B services (you know, your Business 2 another Business), you need to show them you know what the heck you’re doing. If you know how to effectively communicate to businesses, you understand the importance of the website for effective communication. If you don’t understand the importance of the website, I purport you don’t know how to effectively communicate through words, either. Even if you aren’t a web writer!
But maybe you hired a professional web developer, and it still looks bad. Your client still sees you don’t know enough about effective communication to evaluate the services of so called professionals. You probably paid less for an amateur, because you don’t see the value in an effective site.
How do you expect the client to compensate you appropriately if you don’t do it for other creatives? How can you ask your client to trust your services when you don’t trust a better investment will bring better return?
Yeah, Yeah, I’m a Hypocrite, But..
Yes, my site sucks. Yes I am designing my own website. But I am not pushing my SEO so I can be on the first page of a Google search. I am not marketing my site. When you put yourself front and center, you better be sure you’re dressed for the part.
Also, I really do understand more than the average writer about what a site should look like and how it should perform. And I have the guidance of a talented developer on speed-dial. (Not really speed dial, of course, because it’s not 2003, but we text.)
And this is what makes me a great writer. Knowing my limits and truly seeking to understand past those limits.
I am still working on my website (it’s been three months longer than I expected). And then I launch! But only with an attractive, effective site will I begin to build my online presence. When potential clients are looking for experts 1) I’ll stand out, 2) I’ll appear more professional, and 3) clients will see more value in my writing.
There will be those who look at the other guys and think, “Obviously this other writer is cheaper, I’ll go with them.” But that’s not the kind of client I want anyway. I want a client who will be impressed with a job well done and see the value in it.
Man I need to get that site up!