Many times, one of the most daunting tasks as a professional organizer is getting your website set up. Thankfully, there are several options that make it possible for you to create your own website.
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Hosted vs. Self Hosted
I always recommend that you choose a self-hosted option for your website and domain. A hosted site is one that is built on a website builder platform such as Wix, Weebly, or Squarespace.. Whereas, self-hosted sites are hosted on the server of your choice, giving you more control over the security of the site without many of the restrictions that come with hosted sites. If you build a site on a builder such as Squarespace, and then Squarespace goes out of business or is hacked, you don’t have an option to move your site elsewhere, you simply lose it.
Selecting a Domain
The first step to creating a website, is purchasing the domain. The domain is the actual address for your website, such as ProOrganizerCorner.com. You’ll want to tie your domain name into your business name, and ensure that it’s easy to spell and doesn’t include any odd characters that may make it difficult for others to find you online.
There are many different options regarding where to purchase your domain, and some can be expensive. My go-to host is SiteGround.
I typically pay about $15 for my domains through Site Ground, which not only comes with the domain name, but also an unlimited number of emails that are connected to your domain, such as Sam@ProOrganizerCorner.com
When you go to purchase your domain name, chances are, your first, second, and even third choice is already taken. That’s ok! You’ll just have to get creative and work on different combinations.
Note: Be sure to check and confirm your domain name isn’t trademarked.
Your Website Platform
There are a number of great website hosting platforms that allow you to create stunning websites and store all of the necessary files and codes that go into making a website.
For those who may not have a lot of experience designing websites, or want an fast and easy solution, I’d suggest Weebly. Right now Weebly is also offering a free domain for the first year, which kills two birds with one stone. But, Weebly is not self-hosted, meaning your website will have restrictions and not perform as well as others.
If you purchased your domain through SiteGround, like I did, then you also have free access to WordPress, and can create your website that way.
This site is hosted through WordPress, but WordPress can be more complicated for the beginner. Sites like Weebly make it easy to drag and drop elements to your site, without having to learn any code. Weebly comes with beautiful premade templates that allow you to plug and play.
If you get to this point and your head is already spinning, don’t let it hold up your business. If building a website isn’t something you care to undertake, consider outsourcing to a professional. I pride myself in designing stunning websites that fit a variety of different budgets. Contact me today to schedule a coffee chat, I’d love to work with you.
Designing Your Website
Prior to designing your website, you should research how you’d like your site to look and flow. There are several elements that can help ensure easy navigation and encourage buying behavior for site visitors. I highly recommend Donald Miller’s Story Brand tools. Donald provides a number of useful free resources to help you ensure your website has the elements needed to help it be successful. Check out his free PDF, 5 Things Your Website Should Include to get started.
Now, if you’ve already downloaded my branding guide, then chances are the design process will go much more smoothly for you; because you’ll already have all the various aspects of your brand laid out. If you haven’t done this yet, check out my branding guide here.
Many new organizers struggle with what photographs to include on their website. Should you post pictures of yourself? Do you need before and after pictures? Is it ok to use stock photos? So lets dive into these questions.
When it comes to your website, the goal is to tell your story, to get your visitors to buy into your brand, and convert into customers. As professional organizers, that also means we want to instill a level of trust, that is hopefully conveyed through our website. Because customers are naturally cautious of who they let into their home, I’d suggest including at least one photo of yourself, likely on your About page. This allows the customer to see you and relate to you, and hopefully feel more comfortable having you into their home.
Apart from having photos of yourself on your website, I suggest using stock photos to make up the rest of your site. Some feel this is being dishonest, but I don’t see it this way, and I’ve never had a customer convey these feelings either. Yes, you could take your own photos. But unless you are very good a photography, those photos aren’t going to look amazing on your website. I remember completing a large pantry project in the beginning of my organizing career. I was so proud, and couldn’t wait to snap some pictures and post them all over my social. But you know what? As gorgeous as it looked in person, it looked terrible in the photos. The lighting was off, the angle was weird, it just wasn’t a good representation of my work.
To get started finding great stock photo’s for your website, check out my list of stock photo sites for professional organizers.
It can be painstakingly difficult to write the copy for your website. I don’t know a single person who hasn’t struggled with this. You know what you want to say, but when you go to actually type it out, it comes out all wrong. In my case, I felt like everything I wrote sounded like a college essay. You want your writing to sound professional, but for visitors to relate. You want to establish yourself as an expert in your field, even as a newbie. So you’ll need to try and reflect that confidence in your work through your writing. Remember, you don’t have to write a novel, just describe your services, who you are, etc.
If you need additional help finding your voice and nailing down your copy, there are countless resources out there. One particularly helpful resource can be found on the blog, Code Love Creative, which includes a free guide to creating authentic website copy. Additionally, spend some time looking at different websites and blogs from those you already follow online. Chances are, there’s a reason they caught your attention in the first place. Study their use of words, how they speak, what you like and why. Then work on digging in and finding your own voice.
Pricing & Packages
Whether or not to post your prices and packages on your website is a personal choice. There is no right or wrong answer to whether you should or shouldn’t list your prices online. Personally, I prefer to have my pricing visible for a few reasons:
1. People are busier than ever these days. I don’t want to lose a client because they don’t have time to request my pricing, or because they assume I’m out of their budget.
2. I’m busy too, which means I don’t want to spend the time constantly corresponding with those who want my pricing, just to realize they don’t have the budget to cover my services.
3. I believe in transparancy. By knowing what my competitors charge (because their prices are posted) and having my pricing public, we as organizers can help ensure that the industry standard doesn’t get dilluted (this is a topic worthy of a whole other blog post).
In the end, the decision is yours. Just know, that if your prices are not posted online, you need to ensure that it’s easy for others to contact you to inquire about your services and pricing.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. I know, it sounds scary, but bear with me. SEO is basically ensuring that your website is optimized so that Google and other search engines can keep it ranking high in the search results. Here we are going to cover some basic SEO principles to help you ensure your site ranks on Google. This section is intended for those whose organizing business will be focused on a primary location, not nationwide or strictly virtually; which would require more in-depth SEO practices.
- Google My Business – As a local business targeting local clientele, Google My Business is the fastest and easiest way to ensure your potential customers can find you online. To ensure your optimized for Google My Business, be sure you create and verify a Google My Business page. Don’t worry, it’s easy.
- Location, Location, Location – If you’re working out of your home, you obviously don’t want to post your home address on your website. But it’s still important that you have a location listed on your site. Additionally, adding a Google Map to your website can help you narrow in on the area you serve so you’re not attracting clients from far outside your service area.
- Content – Regularly adding content to your website helps improve your SEO rankings. Consider having a blog or resources for your customers. This will not only help clients find you, but also provide added value.
- Key Words – We’ve all heard of them. They’re the words they jive with your industry and should be highlighed like crazy throughout your site. As a professional organizer, these words are Professional Organizer, Home Organizer, Certified Professional Organzier, etc. To get additional ideas of keywords to use, check out Google’s Keyword Planner.