By: Stella Orange
Amid the pandemic and shifting context of the marketplace, some business owners are using the time to refresh their websites.
Over the past decade, I’ve been a copywriter who as written and consulted on hundreds of website projects. And in that time, one question I always ask business owners who are contemplating a website project is: Why is now the time?
And then I shut up and listen.
Because from where I sit, there needs to be a compelling business reason for why now is the time to refresh your website.
Here are five of them:
(1) You need to streamline and “tidy up”
Years ago, organizer Mari Kondo wrote about the need to go through one’s material possessions, holding them in your hands one at a time, and asking yourself: Does this object spark joy? Anything that didn’t, she encouraged us to move it out of our houses.
Interestingly, the same holds true for our websites (and businesses). Over time, websites accrue more pages, more links, more programs, more offers. Because you’re busy growing your business, you don’t even go to your own website. So you don’t notice that it has become like the Winchester Mystery House in California, where the owner built staircases to nowhere and doors that opened to brick walls.
So that when you have a moment to pause and take stock of where your business is headed, you notice that your website contains a whole lot of things that are outdated, retired, or not part of the future of your work.
(2) Your work has expanded or “grown up”
Sometimes, it makes sense to beta test a new offer “behind the scenes” before adding it to your website. You want to get proof of concept that the idea can work first. But once you have validation that there is a market for your new service or offer, then you want to add it to your website.
In some cases, your new or expanded way of working is actually a fuller, more robust expression of the actual work you have been doing with your clients for years. You just never got around to updating your website (often because you didn’t have a compelling business reason to bother – the clients kept coming from referral or word-of-mouth). But something has changed, and now you have a reason.
Also, sometimes that new or expanded way of working actually causes the rest of your website to require adjusting. It’s as though your emerging work has pulled the words, images, and colors out of whack.
This happened for one of our clients, a parent coach in Minnesota whose original brand was called Mad2Glad… and featured a lot of hot pink. The business owner’s work had grown up – she now was speaking and training other professionals in coaching techniques – and she needed a brand and marketing message that matched her company’s future. (We wrote, designed and supported her as she transformed her business to align with her vision for the future. See: https://samanthamoe.com/)
(3) The context in which you do your work has changed
If you are someone who used to travel, give keynotes, or host live events, you are fully aware of how much this year has changed the context in which you work. Those are all external changes that have impacted the marketplace – and if you mention them on your website, the time may be ripe to “turn down the volume” or tweak your language to reflect the ways in which the way you do your work has changed.
This was true for one of our clients, who used to fly to do in-person trainings and event sales for personal development companies. But she also refreshed her website to better align with changes in her business strategy and personal life. She had already booked herself solid with sales work for virtual events for 2021, and now wanted to drum up more consulting and training work. Our team ended up rewriting a few lines of copy and moving sections around on her website to reflect her agency’s future (See: https://thedoyenneagency.com/). In another way, this was also true from two other clients, naturopaths who had worked together in a clinic for over a decade. As individuals, their work had evolved to a point where it was time to refresh the clinic’s website… and create two separate websites for each doctor. (See: https://drlesliemeyers.com/https://dremilycolwell.com/)
(4) The leads coming through your website are a mixed bag
Many times, clients come to us for writing work (websites, email sales campaigns, webinar and presentation outlines, speaker one sheets) because they are in a specific moment where their leads are a mixed bag.
Some of their prospects are ideal clients. Others show up to sales calls putting limits on what they are and are not willing to change.
As one coach who supports people with mysterious chronic health issues told me, “my ideal clients are 100% committed to doing whatever it takes to heal.” In the next breath, she mentioned that when a prospective client shows up with a health issue but tells her they “won’t leave their marriage”… it signals to her that she cannot take them on as a client. Because she knows that the quality of our intimate relationships is another dimension of nourishment and health. She knows the transformative power of her work. And she knows it is not for everyone.
This sort of clarity absolutely needs to be on your website. I like to call this moment the “machete of truth” – when you, as the business owner, have clarity about who you are here to serve (and who you aren’t), it’s your responsibility to share that clarity with others.
(5) An opportunity is pushing you forward
Maybe you’ve got a body of work and hard-won clarity about how you want it represented in the world. Maybe you are pursuing higher caliber speaking opportunities and need a website that reflects the depth and power of your message. Maybe you have built a name for yourself inside a specific industry, and the time is ripe to launch a platform to share that expertise online.
While we’re at it, it bears mentioning that there are a few bad reasons to write a website as well. One is that you are putting off picking up the phone and reaching out to people you know to ask them for their business. Another is that you harbor the misguided belief that you “have” to have a website for people to buy from you. With a handful of exceptions, this just isn’t the case.
Time to refresh your website? We can help! Reach out to set up an exploratory call about your project, what you need, and what it could look like to work together. This work is fully customized, proposal-based, and zero-sales-pressure. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to get the ball rolling.
Stella is cofounder and copywriter at Las Peregrinas, a creative and consulting agency. As our resident word nerd, she writes copy and points out the stories everyone is living and telling through their work. She is also fun at parties.
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