How soon do you need a website for your VA business?
One word – immediately!
Setting yourself up as a Virtual Assistant means being virtual. So having a website should be Number One on your priority list of To Do’s.
Of course you can, and will, get work without people finding your website – through social media channels, LinkedIn, word of mouth, networking events and of course through family, friends and past colleagues – but you need a website if you want to come across as professional, smart and skilled in those early days. (And in those later days you’ll rely more and more on SEO and organic search to direct new clients to your website. So you definitely need it then too.)
If you’re already selling your services as a VA or about to start, now is the time to make sure you have a website in place.
What are the benefits of a dedicated website?
1. Sell yourself
A dedicated website provides you with the perfect platform to sell all that you have to offer.
First and foremost, you’re selling you. A website allows you to display some personality – after all, you want people to like working with you, and you want to enjoy working with your clients, so making sure your personalities align will help cement a longer-lasting working relationship.
Don’t listen to those who think your website should be in a professional-tone only. I know this can feel like the right path, particularly when first starting out. But I disagree. And the reason why, is because today there are VA’s everywhere. They’re not all necessarily good, but the’re there.
So you need to stand out.
And the easiest way to stand out is by showing your own unique personality.
Be real. Be honest. Let people get to know you a little. And since you’re primarily finding work online, this can be done via your About page, an explainer video, and by linking to your social media profiles.
And then of course, a dedicated website allows you to brag as much as you want (whilst keeping it relevant to your target market). Sell your knowledge, your experience and your skills. Sell you.
2. Marketing collateral
As we’ve established, your website is the one place you can have as much content as you like about you, your experience, your skills and your niche.
Then add your website link to ALL your online profiles – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube – if you don’t have social media accounts in place yet, that’s next on your list.
Send your website to friends, family and past colleagues making them all aware of your new, or expanding, business.
And finally, get your site added to VA and small business directories. Some are free – so if money is tight, start with those. Then when you’ve got a steady income, you may want to consider the paid-for ones too.
You may also want to start a blog on your website, this is another great way of having fresh, relevant content to share online. Any time you publish a new article, share it via social media channels with a link back to your site to read the article in full.
If you don’t have a website, you don’t have this highly effective marketing tool as an option.
3. Showcase testimonials
What better tool do you have to shout about all your achievements than your own website?
Testimonials are by far the strongest tool you have to let people know they can trust you to do a good job.
Most definitely in the early days of your business anyway. But I can’t tell you the amount of new clients I’ve got because of a fab testimonial from an existing client in a similar niche. They really are worth their weight in gold.
So if you’re forgetting to ask for testimonials, start remembering. Today.
If you haven’t had any VA clients yet to ask, that’s okay. Ask past employers and colleagues. They’re still providing the proof of your skills and experience.
4. Professional credibility
A website will go a long way to how a potential client will perceive you.
So whilst it’s important to get one live as soon as you can, don’t rush it. Make sure it’s presenting you in the best light.
Think about the design, layout, structure and content.
Keep it simple, but informative. Easy to navigate. Aesthetically pleasing.
A strong attractive website will ensure you’re taken seriously in this competitive marketplace.
5. Easier referrals
One of the easiest and most effective ways for Virtual Assistants to get new business, is through referrals.
If your existing clients love you, why wouldn’t they want to let others know about you?
Well actually, some don’t! Some have the crazy idea that we can’t organise our time effectively to give them both the same level of care.
But for most clients, they’ll be happy to let others know how great you are. Assuming you are – so remember, always go above and beyond.
Having a website makes it super easy for them to spread the word, without you feeling likes it a burden for them.
What should be included on your business website?
So you know it’s time to get a website, but the task seems insurmountable.
The first thing to remember is that it doesn’t have to be perfect – not straight away.
And the second thing to remember is that assuming you use a CMS (WordPress, Wix, Joomla, etc.) you can constantly tweak and update over time.
So don’t wait for perfection. It won’t come. Ever.
Just get started. Today.
If you’re just starting out, here’s the pages you absolutely must have:
- Homepage – giving an overview of you, your experience and your skills – but always, always, ALWAYS talk to your target market. You need to get them engaged, so don’t waffle on without thinking about what they want to hear.
- About page – here you’ll go into more detail about you, injecting even more personality than on other pages. But still remember your target market. Don’t brag too much without making a point. Keep it interesting for your TA to read.
- Services page – outline what services you offer. Now really think about this. In the beginning you may want to be a VA that ‘does it all’. Or you may not. Either way is fine. Just as long as it’s clear on your site so there’s no confusion (or annoyance) further down the line.
- Testimonials page – ideally from your VA world. And remember this could include VA work completed for your husband, wife, parents, or friend. But if you really are only starting out, ask past employers and colleagues. All you need is professional proof – and they can most definitely offer that.
- Contact page – providing all the ways you can be contacted. An embedded contact form. Email. Phone. Skype. Google Hangouts. Include as many ways you can be contacted as possible – remember, clients use all forms of communication these days – make it easy for them to reach out to you.
These are the bare minimum pages. Once you’ve got them, publish your website. Get it out there (after purchasing a domain name and hosting of course) and market it to the hilt.
And remember to review it regularly.
I’d recommend at least monthly in the early days. Once you’ve been established a while, you can reduce this to quarterly. But I don’t recommend any less – if only to ensure all plugins and themes are up to date.
What costs are involved?
It can be very inexpensive to set up a website, but it depends on your technical ability. Some CMS sites are easier than others. But often those that are easier won’t necessarily have all the functionality of others. Which may or may not be okay with you.
Take a look into all options.
Decide what you’re happy / comfortable doing. Because again, you can always change it later down the line once your skill levels improve, or you have more money to invest.
This won’t change. Or at least you don’t want it to because eventually people will know it, and it will build up authority in the search engines.
So think carefully before purchasing.
A .com domain name is likely to cost you around £10 per year, a .co.uk domain slightly less with a provider such as 123-Reg.
You may want to secure both .com and .co.uk to ensure someone else doesn’t buy the other and avoid the possibility of losing clients to it.
You can get hosting for as little as £14.99 per year with a provider such as TsoHost.
And many of these host companies will help with the setup for an additional cost if you’re nervous about the technical side.
For added professionalism, I’d recommend getting a dedicated email linked to your domain name.
The easiest thing is to purchase one through the same domain provider which can be for as little as 99p per month.
If you don’t think you can create your own website, get the content together and hire someone else to do if for you.
The cost could be anything from £100 upwards – depending on their level of experience and what you’re asking of them.
Regardless of cost, and I know we’re all on a budget in the early days, think hard before deciding.
If you really aren’t website savvy, whilst hiring someone else to do it for you is an initial financial outlay, it does mean you’ll get the site up and running much quicker. But it also means you’ll be touting for business sooner, therefore able to cover those costs much quicker too.
Of course if you can do it yourself, you avoid those costs – just make sure you do the task as you would one of your clients. Set yourself a deadline and get it done – ideally ahead of time!
A professional dedicated website will bring new business. So the sooner you get one, the better.