Your website is pretty important. It acts as a ‘shop window’ for your business and if it’s really shonky then potential clients will think you’re really shonky too. I’ve seen some truly shocking VA websites, so read my post, find out if yours might be one of them, then calmly but quickly log in to your site and tart it up immediately!
Website blunder checklist
Your text is too small
Many people will just navigate away to another Virtual Assistant’s website if your text is too hard to read. They’ll probably also assume that you haven’t paid due care to the appearance of your site and are therefore a shoddy VA with no attention to detail.
Your text is too big
A little too big is better than too small, but it can make your site look weird and isn’t an efficient use of space.
Your text is too pale
Don’t have the colour so pale that people can’t read it. Dark grey is lovely but really pale grey can’t be read on many screens. Don’t make people work for it!
You have coloured text
Naff and nasty. Enough said.
You look like an Astrologer
There’s an epidemic of overly pink and girly VA websites and they make me want to throw up sparkles all over my keyboard. These sites are two a penny; they look unprofessional and I’d never take anyone seriously who had a website like this let alone pay them top whack for their services.
If a client thinks you don’t take your own business seriously, they’ll assume you won’t take theirs seriously either.
Or a Lawyer
Boring navy blue website? Yawn. We’ve all seen a billion of these. Blue websites aren’t bad per se, but they can look dry if you’re not careful. They’re definitely not as horrific as the sickly pink or turquoise ones (ladies razor anyone?) but they can look exactly like the billion other blue ones unless you choose the right tone and amount of blue.
Or a 14-year-old girl
I personally cringe when I see LOL’s, winking bracket faces or manically grinning and waving emoticons in emails or websites. I also subconsciously judge people who use them so, unless this is part of a ‘unique and unusual’ brand image, you could potentially alienate most of your client base.
Saying that, there are a couple of websites I love that occasionally slip a smiley face in – but the key word here is occasionally and even then I’m tolerating them. I let them slide because the content on their page is awesome – but a lot of readers won’t.
Your website is a serious place of business and not your chance to create something akin to a personal blog I’m afraid.
You haven’t disabled the comments section at the bottom of your home page or other stand-alone pages
Have you had a good look at what every area of WordPress does? People who haven’t disabled the comments section or even proofread and seen that it’s still visible are really showing their lack of knowledge about their own website platform.
Go to the page settings (when writing/editing the page) and uncheck the box that allows comments or do this in ‘Quick Edit’ when viewing the list of all your pages.
You’re amazingva.wordpress.com or email@example.com
Please fork out the cash to buy your own domain name. Having a properly hosted website is vital – you’d never hire a Lawyer or an Accountant with a WordPress or Blogger-hosted website. You need to get the WordPress.org one and not sign up to WordPress.com.
Your site is too busy
Stuff everywhere? Then get rid of it. Think of all the things a visitor to your site will want to know then make that information really easy to find.
If you’re not sure then ask your most brutally honest friend to review your site.
A lot of people slowly add to their website and it ends up looking like a dog’s dinner.
Adverts, Facebook or Twitter streams in the sidebar or the ugly logos of pointless professional associations can be distracting and look messy – and if your website is messy then clients will assume your work is too.
You’re sending people away
Social media should lead people to your website and not away from it. You don’t need Twitter or Facebook page feeds in your sidebar.
- They confuse Google
- If any of your followers have unprofessional profile photos, your site is tainted by association
- They are distracting to the eye. You’re a professional organiser so your site should be clean
- You’re asking people to leave!
- You’ll look unprofessional if your last tweet or update was about something banal
Your social media is shonky
If you aren’t using social media often (or well) then don’t have ‘follow me on’ icons because it will make you look bad. You’ll also look pretty lame if your social media links don’t go anywhere or they just go to Twitter’s home page for example.
You don’t have to be on social media, but if you are then people may try to contact you through it and they will expect a response. So at least make sure that your notification settings mean you’ll be alerted if someone contacts you.
You say ‘we’ when it’s just you
Many VAs make it sound like they’re an agency or a company when actually they’re just a freelancer. I don’t know why people misrepresent themselves like this as there’s nothing wrong with it being just you.
It looks a bit dishonest to me – which I’m sure isn’t what’s intended.
You talk about yourself in the third person
Incredibly, I sometimes see this on VAs “About” pages. “Amazing VA has been providing outstanding business support and both weirdly and pretentiously talking about themselves in the third person for over eight years.”
Nobody knows how to contact you
If you make a potential client hunt around for a way to contact you then you have to accept they might not bother. You don’t even need a whole contact page or form, just your email and/or phone number at the bottom of each page will do.
It’s like reading War and Peace
You need to get straight to the point on a website. Tell people what you do, for whom and to what end and give them some evidence in the form of case studies and/or testimonials. People have a short attention span and your job is to simplify their life – not give them more to do!
You have a page explaining what a Virtual Assistant is
I used to do this then I realised that people who came to my website already knew what a Virtual Assistant was – that was why they were there!
What they actually wanted to know was my services, how much I charged and how to get hold of me. If a person is already on your site then you’re wasting time and space by telling them why they need you because they probably already know.
After all, you don’t go to a hairdressers website and find a page explaining why you need a haircut. You know you need one, you just want to see pictures that show if they’re any good and how much they cost.
It’s not responsive
I bet if you went and looked at your Google analytic stats you’ll see a whole load of people viewed your website on their phone or tablet.
This number is only set to rise so make sure your website adjusts itself to look great and be easily readable on a computer screen, a tablet AND a mobile phone.
You need to make sure that the people hosting your website are reliable. You don’t want someone clicking the link to your site from LinkedIn or Twitter or searching for you on Google to find that your site is unavailable. Uptime Robot is a great free site that will email you if your website does go down for some reason.
Nobody can find it
You’ll never get on the first page of Google for being a VA but you can definitely get on the first page for your local area. This is also important because people generally type a location into Google when they’re looking for something: “admin support in nameofthetowntheylive” for example.
Often it may look like you’re on the first page, but that’s because Google knows it’s you. You need to search in an incognito window to see where you’re actually positioned.
With good search engine optimisation (SEO) you can ensure that your WordPress website comes up ahead of your competitors for your region and it’s you that gets the enquiry and not them.
We’re in the business of streamlining other people’s business, simplifying their lives and making them more efficient, so it’s vital your website demonstrates that you’re a tidy, minimalist, succinct, organising admin machine.
I’ve seen some lovely websites but they were often style over substance. They looked great but said very little. There were tons of words, but the site wasn’t actually telling you anything.
So follow the advice above and your website should pass with flying colours and you may even get work from it – which is the sole reason you have one in the first place.