Websites for professionals – the seven deadly sins.

These days it’s generally accepted every business needs a website. That includes professional service providers who don’t feel any need to sell themselves, be they lawyers, accountants or dentists, even GPs, architects or naturopaths! After all, we all go to a lot of trouble to make our receptions, offices or rooms look presentable. How much more important to make our “shopfront to the world” project the right image?
Problem though, so many websites project the wrong image, probably doing more harm than good when a potential client or even a competitor looks us up.
Here are the seven most deadly sins I’ve found committed by websites for professional service providers:
7. Websites which are too generic
Your website needs to look like the business you ASPIRE to be, not some recycled template populated by cheesy Americans posing for stock photos. Make it a positive projection of your personality and your corporate culture!
6. Websites crammed with verbosity
Writing the words for a website requires a different language approach than that used by other media. If you’re more adept at academia or professional reports, for goodness sake don’t insist on trying to do this yourself. And don’t assume your regular graphic designer has the skills either!
5. Not enough information
If you’re meeting a potential client in the real world you don’t just hand them a business card and move on. Of course you’d stop and chat for a while, find points of common interest and reveal a few points you think your audience might like to hear about. So it is in cyber world, share some interesting information. Better still, do it on a regular basis in a blog like this one. Chances are it will make your website more prominent and enhance your professional reputation.
4. No one can find the website
It might be the website was built a while back, or it was cobbled together by someone who didn’t really know what they were doing, but if your website doesn’t conform to the Universal Laws of Google, it could be lost in a backwater. The world’s newest profession is SEO (search engine optimisation) and some businesses spend literally hundreds of thousands on making sure their website gains prominence when people search for them on Google, Bing or Yahoo. Have you run a search lately for words people might use to find your business?
What’s the use of a website if people can’t find it?
3. Website stagnation
It’s actually not that difficult to keep your website refreshed now and then if it’s been set up properly. They key is making sure the site comes with an easy-to-use content management system which will allow you and your staff to make changes without paying the web development company ridiculous amounts for simple edits. Better yet, plan ahead for seasonal changes to the graphics and words when you first set the site up. Then they can just happen without you having to worry about it.
2. Too self-centred
Your website shouldn’t be an ego trip. So many websites (along with brochures and advertisements) describe the business or practice from the insider’s point of view, not the clients’. From the ground up, the website needs to consider what the client wants to hear about, and then communicate that effectively. And forget the claims of greatness, you need to demonstrate how good your service is.
1. And the top deadliest sin committed by websites for professionals…
They’re just plain old BORING!

Just what is it with professionals? They can be such interesting people with amazing pursuits outside of their practice, but they’re so often too afraid to shine. They carry boring business cards, have boring prints on their office walls and present themselves to the world through boring websites. Especially Australian professionals! As a nation we’re such a vibrant and interesting bunch, but so many professionals somehow feel that being boring makes them more credible.
Come on, take the plunge and show your more interesting side! Spend a little more time and a little more money to get a lot more creative.

2011-04-04T06:44:48+00:00 By |

About the Author:

Mark Gibbs has broad experience as a marketing manager and graphic designer. He holds an MBA with a marketing specialisation. Mark runs a consultancy called MadLab: The Marketing And Design Laboratory. Based in Adelaide, he operates around Australia.


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