I was happy to work with clients on how a website should form part of their digital engagement strategy.
Despite having built multiple sites for my own business down the years, I felt I should leave the design part to those for whom it was their entire focus.
I don't know the exact moment it happened, but I "tipped".
When you see enough of your clients pay over-the-odds for websites that don't even come close to nailing the advice proposition, don't pass even the most basic functional requirements of modern website design...
It drove me to decide otherwise.
We designed it with one of our Leveraged clients who are playing at the forefront of digital marketing when it comes to advice firms.
We're about to start our second, and plan to make it a core part of our business moving forward.
I wanted to share what I've learnt that has made me move into this space.
Because it can, and should be so much more than that.
1. Communicate the advice proposition simply, efficiently, and without unneeded complexity or jargon, to someone who is ready to make the decision to get advice, take the first step, and book a meeting.
2. Invite those who aren't ready to join your mailing list thereby beginning the process of taking them from a potential client to someone who is ready to take advice.
Any website that fails to do these two things well will fail to generate Return on Investment and, by extension, mean that money spent is ultimately wasted.
There's more to this equation:
...but these are subsidiary the core objectives - convert or connect.
If you are ready to create something that doesn't only tick a box or look good, and instead build something that creates the link between digital presence and lead flow, then I'd like to share with you the approach
I often get asked by clients and non-clients if I know someone who can build them a website.
I always answer the question very, very carefully because, in truth, this is actually three very different needs pretending to be the same question.
You want a web designer to create the website itself, removing the need for you to understand the "how".
There are thousands of people who can do this at costs ranging from next to nothing, to very, very expensive.
However, they won't write a single sentence of what goes into it. That's your job and if you're not ready, they'll wait and wait and your project will go nowhere.
This is different, and understanding why may save a two or three-week project turning into something that causes months of frustration.
It makes sense to find someone else who can make sure it's consistent, grammatically correct, and ultimately highly readable.
Bear in mind good copywriters are not cheap (and poor ones are).
Good copywriters understand the value of what they do. They understand that marketing on the internet is a one-way conversation, and copy either hits the mark or doesn't.
If it's a copywriter you're looking for, they need from you clear direction around:
. ...if you can't provide this information, then what you're really asking isn't for a website or for a copywriter.
The deep truth about creating website copy that converts visitors into prospects or subscribers is...
...it's not actually about writing at all.
Anyone who has played with outsourcing copywriting to a cheap option or a service that produces generic articles will tell you, it just doesn't have the punch if you don't know what you're writing about well enough.
It's not only about being able to articulate what you do in a web-suitable manner, or understanding the reality that when someone hits your website, they're not interested in you, your proposition, your process or your story.
It's not just about understanding a market, how to create the right message or creating a strong core proposition.
A great copywriter who you can afford to pay for an extended period will be able to invest the time needed to research these things and maybe, just maybe, along the way be able to learn the nuances that make marketing advice so different from selling other products or services online.
Within six months, they may be getting close.
Maybe three, if they're really good, yet...
If you're coming into this with your market, message and proposition nailed, and you're ready, willing and able to write every word for every page, you probably don't need help.
If you know what you want to say and just need someone to help massage the words, then understanding the process may help you validate whether your proposition is the best it can be, will work in the online arena and the journey from visitor to client is unbroken.
However, if this isn't just about the build and isn't just about the wording, then thinking you're just building a website will end in frustration.
That's why I worry when people ask me to recommend someone to create them a website, but what they really want is more than just the tech build.
Because when the request is actually about your value proposition, or you don't have the copy ready-to-go, that investment in web design is going to start to look like dead money very quickly. Which is why I do it like this.
A good advice website isn't just about information or about looking appealing.
It's not about the technical process of building or achieving certain usability criteria (that often go unnoticed).
Of course, it needs to run smoothly, be integrated into the way you do business and communicate, and support workflow and the delivery of your service proposition.
The hardest part is often in drilling down into what it is about your business, your advice, your team and your advice that your clients currently value and future clients will be attracted to.
That's the reason I decided that it was time I got involved in helping clients build websites