“Praise the Lord!” you’ll be saying, or your local equivalent. “Now she’ll stop talking about it!” And that is true, but today I am not only going to talk about it, but I am hoping for feedback.
“I don’t have any clear goal for this website,” I said. “As you know, my big contract will be ending, but I have too much other work to take a fulltime job, so I need to gather enough new clients to cover expenses — or else drop my other clients and go back to the classroom.”
“Your website can be like a salesperson for you,” he said.
“Well, you know my clients won’t find me through search,” I pointed out. “They don’t know the names of anything that I do for them. I just take care of them. But I can’t walk into the local business with a website that needs me and hand them a business card with no website on it. Also, I can’t tell people they need to get a professional site just because then they wouldn’t drive me mad. As it is, they want to know about my website, and I have to admit that I just have a dozen free ones. So I guess the main thing is just for the website to exist.”
“Those are the right reasons for you to have a web site,” he said, “but the main thing is that you need to practice what you preach.”
So I’m trying to think what would be the most useful effect for my website. I usually think in terms of search and traffic, but in this case it will probably be mainly direct traffic — that is, people to whom I give my card. I am thinking that it might be best to have a non-techy look. The other local SEO folks look like Circuit City. I have no desire to compete with The Computer Guy, after all; I want him to be wildly successful so he can keep me fully employed. I am specializing in those who would never go looking for an SEO firm because they don’t know what that means.
Also, as he pointed out, I need to list the things I do so that people will stop asking me to do other things. I am in favor of variety, after all, but I would prefer to do the things I’m good at on a professional basis and let my hobbies be hobbies. Also, as we all know, I am not precise enough to want to spend most of my time writing code. “Your best bet,” said the Computer Guy, “would be to partner with [his firm].”
Which is true. I’m setting up a site with him for one of my clients. I met with him and translated it all for her, and between his engineering and my words and Dark Art, she is one happy camper. And of course I do the content for him, and his clients are happy about that, too. As he put it, he does the invisible parts and I do the visible parts.
So I may want to emphasize the writing at my website for the benefit of any noncompeting SEO firms that happen by, as well as the taking-care-of part for the people I’ll be marketing to.
There is one respectable local SEO writer, and she uses a pen and ink theme for her site, along with a portfolio. There are a few other, non-respectable writers for hire in the area, but they specialize in bad grammar and unwise links to their private blogs, so I am not using them as role models.
So I’m thinking about using images of the kind I have posted here — abstract, not too techy– and a list of the things I do. A list of clients. Maybe the option to download some examples of my writing.
Does it seem to you, dear readers, that this would say to a prospective client, “Don’t be scared! This person will help you improve your web site and traffic without expecting you to know about alt tags”?
I have had so much stuff with other clients this week that I need to spend eight and half hours on my big client today, and he has already emailed to
warn me let me know that he’ll be calling me today. I need to have some numbers ready this time.
I had an email from someone yesterday asking if I’d be a researcher for hire for a book she’s decided to write. As it happens, it is on a topic on which I am very well versed, so I said yes, but would she consider bringing me in as a coauthor? I also had, from the encyclopedia that I sometimes write for, a list of topics they need articles on. One is hookworm eradication, a topic on which you may be surprised to learn that I am quite knowledgeable, so I plan to put in a bid for that. And of course there is the book audition, which Chanthaboune and I must finish up now that she is safely returned to Hamburger-a-go-go-land.
So all in all, it would be best if my big client would renew my contract, so that I can pursue all these interesting projects with confidence that I can pay my bills and feed my kids. I don’t think I am on the kind of terms with him that would allow me to point that out during our conversation today. I better just get some excellent numbers together.