Are you text ready?

Rushing never yields the same result as planning

One of my colleagues and I were recently discussing creating websites for our clients. She related the first question she usually asks her clients, “Are you text ready?” With her question she shows that she expects the clients to have done much of their planning when they come to her.

As a first step, we often focus on the client’s expectations for the site; customer experience, business and sales goals for the site and who will update the content. My colleague’s focus on “Do you have content?” is also one of our primary questions.

Planning pays off

Many of our clients want a website and they want it fast. We hope to have them hit the pause button for a bit so that they follow a careful, thoughtful planning process. Part of the planning process is understanding what you want to communicate and why. Ask yourself, “Who will be reading this copy?”  The next question you should ask yourself is, “Who will be writing our website’s copy?”

Many of our clients feel they are so familiar with their products and services that they can write their own copy. Some do an excellent job of writing their own copy, but many have difficulties.

If you are planning to write your own copy, here are a few things to consider:

  1. In the past, how successful have you been writing copy for your company newsletter or advertising? If you’ve struggled in the past, you may continue to struggle when taking on developing website content.
  2. Do you have the time? Time spent writing is time spent away from management, sales or doing the work you are most frequently paid to do.
  3. Do you know the core points you wish to make?
  4. Will your team members or staff help you write the copy?
  5. Do you have insights from your sales team to inform you of what customers are looking for?
  6. Have you researched your competitors to understand how to differentiate your company?
  7. Do you know what keywords are important to include so that you build in SEO from the start?

Some customers may balk at paying a professional copywriter for their services, but a professional is held accountable for their abilities and time. Instead of thinking you can just write something during your weekends, then struggling to write and ending up mad with yourself, use a professional copywriter. The expense is worth every penny.

Get a website tonight

Yes, you can build a website tonight, but will it represent your business accurately?

Have you noticed all the ads on television and social media for simple website services allowing you to “get a website tonight”? Can you “click, click” and build your website tonight?

What a great idea you think, why don’t we do that? Whoa! Not so fast! Building a website can be accomplished with programs such as these, but ask yourself these questions:

  1. Will a template selected from the provided ones represent my business well?
  2. Will it have my branding and approach to doing business or will I just have to go with what’s there hoping that my branding fits?
  3. Will it be easy to add on to as my company grows?
  4. Will my website be compatible with mobile devices?
  5. Does my business own all the site graphics, design and content?
  6. Will I be helped to understand what keywords, terms and tags will help position my firm in search engine results?
  7. How can I be certain my site is registered with search directories, search engines and can be found by Google?
  8. If I choose to leave the platform where I build my site, can I easily export and install my site on my own host?

If you are unsure of how to answer any of these questions, you owe it to yourself to do a bit of research on what constitutes a good website, how to create strong keyword centered copy that properly describes your business and gets you found in search engine results. Yes, small businesses need to have a website, especially one that will be viewable on mobile devices.

A local provider you can speak with can guide your planning

Can you get a website that is a customized fit for your business without breaking your budget? Yes you can. There are many companies like ours in the greater Charleston area that can create a custom site for you that meets your business needs, doesn’t break the bank and is done on time. In these days of realizing that local is the new green, support your local web design firm. It’s just good business for you, your community and for your business.

*This post was originally published in 2010 and has been updated and republished.

Doing Business When Your Heart Is Breaking

 

How do we go on when our hearts are breaking?

Wednesday evening in Charleston was a horror. Thursday morning found most of my colleagues in shock. Collectively we are all reeling from the heinousness of the crime committed by one monster. Yet on Thursday, June 18, 2015, the phone kept ringing, clients still needed help, and all the while, our hearts were broken. Our eyes wet with tears.

As a small office, ours has the luxury of organizing our time to fit our schedules. However, we cannot turn the world off in times of crisis. Nor can we hide perpetually from being sad.

During calls and conversations yesterday and today, I’ve been open with people about my feelings; my shock; my horror. My colleagues have responded in kind, sharing their grief and their hurt at the murder of nine innocents and the savaging of a community.

Being open

And why wouldn’t we want to be open? Why wouldn’t we want to be frank about our hurts? This is the time to connect and bond with one another. We cannot wipe this stain from the heart and continue unaffected.

For me, being real means being open about what affects me and how my entire self is involved in how I serve my clients, how I’m friends, and how I want to be perceived. This is a core value for me. And it’s how I do business.

I hope you are feeling the caring and concern from those with whom you encounter as you transact your daily business. If not, perhaps you can take a moment and discuss your feelings before you begin your next sales call, or discuss the next marketing plan, or the sales objectives for August.

Honest hearts

Your heart and soul will be better for talking about your feelings and I expect your professional associates will feel better too, and you’ll create greater human bonds. And at the end of the day, we are in business person to person, not website to website, press release to outlet. We are all people with hearts and souls. Let’s embrace that.