My first website was embarrassing. There’s no other way to describe it. I used a free Wordpress template and chose cutesy colours (soft pink and a rather sickly green) with a banner image featuring all sorts of decorative stuff from my house like yarn and colouring pencils and a Japanese fan from my first visit to Kyoto as an undergraduate.
To be fair, I was starting out as a freelance journalist and writing a lot about interiors and crafts and things, so it was more relevant than it might sound. But the point was, although I worked very hard on it, there was a definite sheen of amateurism over the whole thing.
A few years later, I met my wonderful designer, Suzi Hull from Hullo Creative, who was very kind about the site but did point out that it didn’t seem to reflect me. And it’s true that I - and my business - had moved on. But I was still nervous to put the money into a professionally designed site.
Dipping a toe in the water
I compromised: Suzi designed me a new logo, I bought a paid-for Wordpress template, and then did the rest myself. The result was much better, and I got some good feedback on it. But truthfully, it was limited. Without the technical knowledge I needed to customise my site, there were elements that frustrated me.
When I was planning the launch of Rin Hamburgh & Co, I knew I needed to make the investment in a site that would look as professional as the work we were delivering. I entrusted the site in its entirety to Suzi and her team. I hired Jenny Stewart to take a series of brand images, and Nick Jones of Filma-King to shoot an introductory video.
Obviously, I provided the copy - though I had one of my team do the first draft, because it really is a nightmare trying to write about yourself.
The result is a website I have received endless compliments on, and which I know has been instrumental in establishing my brand’s credibility. My turnover has increased, as has the number of leads I’m generating from people outside of those I've met through networking. In fact, it’s all growing rather faster than I’d expected. And that’s why it pays to hire professionals.
A world of benefits
This is not a sales pitch. If you’ve got zero budget, then by all means, design your own website, write your own copy, get a mate with some good camera skills to snap a few pics. Lots of entrepreneurs get started that way and it makes sense to see if you've got a business before you invest too heavily in an idea.
But build a marketing budget into your future plans and bring experts in as soon as you possibly can. They will almost certainly add more even than you expect them to.
A professional copywriter, for example, won’t simply ensure your website content is nicely phrased and free of spelling mistakes. He or she should draw out your message and key benefits, tell your brand story, write snappy calls to action, use subheads, quotes and bullets to break up your text and make it easy to skim…. There’s so much value to be gained by using someone with the skills and experience of a decent professional.
And not only will the results be self-evident, but outsourcing those things that aren’t your particular specialism will also leave you free to get on with what you are good at, the reason you got into business in the first place.
Do you really want to be yelling at your computer screen in frustration as you try and work out how to change the H2 font colour on your homepage, or staring at a blank screen trying figure out how to best sell the benefits of your brand to potential clients? Surely it's better to get someone else to worry about that stuff.
If you're ready to step up your content and hire a professional, give us a call today to see how we can help.