The long-term ripple effect of your website
Being an entrepreneur for over thirty years I have seen and heard so many opinions about the importance of websites from young start-ups to fortune 500 companies. Everyone has their opinion about the long-term ripple effects of your website. Some say a website doesn’t matter in the big scheme of things and others say it’s everything. I’ve got news….
The other day I had the chance to meet with a large company in my industry that could potentially be one of the largest sales opportunities in my career. Before the meeting, I had the head of their company approach me in the hallway. He said, “I’ve been going through your website and reading your blogs, watching your videos and studying your content. I love all that you are doing, the way you are doing it and what you are all about.” That’s when my stomach sank….
Right when he said that I immediately started to travel in my head through my site, all social media and everything I have ever written.
Throughout my career I have learned what I believe to be the truth and reality of having a web presence and a few techniques that I believe, if you adopt them, can help you win in business and create impact:
1. You never know who’s watching – You probably are watching your website app to study the activity on your blog and how many visitors are coming to your site. Trust me, I’ve been there but I realized that it is a drug and a false idol. Why? Because it isn’t reality. You might have 200,000 subscribers to your blog and thousands of unique visitors to your site per day but that stat isn’t the measuring stick. It’s not “how many”, it’s “who” is visiting and watching. In addition, you might not have more than two comments on a post but what you don’t see is the people all over that are reading it. You never know who’s watching is an important key to remember. Why? Because, if I am thinking about hiring you I’m looking at who you are looking arms with, your conduct and your affiliation. Remember your site and platforms are “qualifiers”. Is any of the content you are creating, products you are making disqualifying you from potential clients and or companies that could partner with you? Brand awareness is vital in the entrepreneur and freelance space. Be sure to remember that if you’re working to collaborate with top notch relationships then your ripple effect both past and present matter. What goes online matters. Forever. That can work for you or against you.
2. Don’t base your success off of on-line sales – I recently spoke to one of the members in Noah University who was disappointed in her online store sales. I asked here where she was getting most of her sales. She said it was through in-person as well as over the phone. I told her that a “sale is a sale”. Her website was an online catalog producing her collector confidence as to why they should buy from her. Her site established her authority. I illustrated this through a recent sale I had: I collector had recently received one of my email campaigns sharing a new product release and offering. She had looked at it for a few days. She later visited our gallery and in doing so, proceeded to make a $9,000 purchase. I have had numerous transactions that have resulted from the site. So remember, just because the sale didn’t happen through your online store doesn’t mean your stuff isn’t selling. Your business is a portfolio of offerings: Web sales, sales at trade shows, events and in person appointments. They all add up to business. Your online store is a “part of” your sales, not all.
3. Your site is your calling card – The longer I was in business the more I have been convinced that my website was a glorified catalog and bio. Yes I sell products, however, if I designed and managed the site correctly, the site will be the greatest story teller. Your sites greatest product is you, not what you sell. Further more, hopefully you’ve taken the time drill down on your purpose of “why” you create and make the products you sell. Why? Because that’s what companies are partnering with. They are partnering with you. You are the product. If your site fully shows this in an open way and clearly, your site is one of the greatest business cards that will speak on your behalf while you sleep. Never downplay the importance and effect that your site can provide in selling who you are, what you do and why you do it.
4. The content you create today can be useful 10 years from now – I launched my first website in 1998 an spent a fortune on it. Every penny I made went into it. Your site and it’s content lives in perpetuity. FOREVER. This can be a great advantage as you build your brand and what you did five to ten years ago can be re-authored today and re-used. This brings up another great question: Is the content you are creating timeless or flash in the pan and trendy? My hope has always been to create content that can live forever, is timeless and can be relevant forever. Your time on this earth is precious and you don’t know how long you have. That said, maybe approach your hard work building content to be a process of building long term assets that go to work for you and compound over time. Content is key.
5. Discipline pays off in more ways than one – How often should you add content and update your platforms? As much as you continue to add value. The culture we live in tries to tell everyone more, more, more. My personal opinion would be to be in the business of building fireworks not firecrackers. Instead of trying to make a tons of posts and content, what if you made fewer posted but took the remaining energy at reposting and marketing the “fireworks” you’ve created. Drop massive boulders into the pond not pebbles. The ripple effects vary.
6. Originality and standing out – Approaching content takes intention and restraint. It’s easy to go with shock value and flash in the pan. I tend to ask a few things when creating art, stories, initiatives and content. A few include: Will this matter five years from now? Is this content a solution to someones problem? Is this content life giving or life taking? Am I wasting someones precious time? Is this content sharable? Would I share this content with someone? Am I creating content for the sake of creating content? How can I say or show something that hasn’t been seen or heard before? Today’s culture is bombarded with content, voices, blogs, shows and podcasts. The good news is, no one is “you”. Only you can share and have a voice like you do. I want to encourage you to leverage that power in voicing your story and your thoughts.
7. Why you HAVE to create content and talk – Most creatives don’t think what they have to say or think is what others would ever read or listen to. I disagree. There are seven billion people in this world and millions just in our country that are looking for solutions, help and answers. Your life, blog, products, books and website will take on a whole other dimension when you realize your life is a solution for someone else’s problem. So, the longer you sit not talking, verbalizing and sharing your heart with the world is another day someone else could have benefited and found solutions. Even though you might not write the best, spell the best, or have the best grammar (me included), the greatest thing you can do is step out and make known your voice.
Your website is the cheapest, easiest way to build the brand of you that can validate your products, provide a catalog of what you offer, tell your story and make an impact.
Are you on the fence? That’s a painful place to hang out. The small drops you put in the bucket today amount up to a wealth of validation for future opportunities. They say luck is defined as opportunity colliding with being “prepared”. If that’s the case, have your website the best resume you can have. How you build and prepare your website tells me and others how you feel about yourself, your brand and your life. If you don’t take yourself seriously why should I, a client or another fortune 500 company?
I’d love to hear from you by leaving a comment below answering the questions: “If I rated my site on a 1-10 scale 10 being best, what rating do I give myself? What will it take to get me to a 8-9? What can I do by this weekend to change that?
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