Posted Thursday, January 20, 2005
Nope. You certainly don't need a website.
But you don't need many of the things you've come to rely on, such as your cell phone, e-mail, or faxes.
And there's no point in having an Internet presence if those you want to reach lack computers or online capabilities. Or, if you have nothing to say. But, if you do have something to say, and your audience is accessible on the Internet, then consider a website.
Years before the Internet, I prepared a brochure to give to people who wanted to know what I did. It was pocket size, so I always had a few on hand to give out. And it was more impressive, and more descriptive of my services than a business card. Think of a website as an electronic brochure with many advantages over a printed brochure, such as:
1. It's unlimited in quantity. You don't have to get a few thousand printed every time you run out.
2. It's easily updated and, if you do it yourself, cost-free.
3. You can link it to your newsletter and other sites to extend its usefulness to the reader.
4. It also gets much wider exposure than any printed brochure ever could.
Initially, the only cost will be the time you spend not watching TV commercials. Most of us can afford that.
The first thing to do is decide what you want your web site to tell people about you. To do that, you don't need a computer, just a pad and pencil. Put them by your TV chair so you can scribble stuff down during commercials. Write a phrase about what you do. Then scribble down your qualifications. And what you do for your clients. Plus what they do for you (i.e. how you get paid).
Don't worry about grammar, spelling, or even forming sentences at this stage. All that comes later.
Can't think of anything to say about yourself? Ask your significant other, a client, or a few of your clients. Find out what they think you do, and why they deal with you.
If after a week your pad is blank, forget it. You're not ready for a web site. Why? Because the most important thing about a web site is content, and if you've got nothing to say, you've got no content.
When you've filled a page or so about what you do, and the benefits of dealing with you, it's time to reshape it. Start by dividing all the stuff you've written into two parts, qualifications, and other. In the qualifications pile include all the phrases that describe why prospects should deal with you. Try to turn them into a paragraph or two of benefits, and call them your Professional Background.
The other pile consists of what's left over, maybe your age, family life, hobbies, etc. Rewrite all those phrases into a more readable form and call that your Personal Profile.
Now you can turn on your computer, and type it all into your word processor, edit it so it hangs together and makes sense, then save it as MySite so you can copy it into your web site.
You now have some content for your website. To create it, go to mine at (http://www.lifesites.org)
About the Author
Don Pooley, CLU, CFP, CHFC, "The Advisor's Advisor", provides an Ebook Club, and 4 websites for the benefit of financial advisors: (http://www.eTIP.ca); (http://www.lifesites.org); (http://www.ETIP.info); and (http://hmhl.lifesites.org).