A question we hear pretty often from new virtual assistants is, “Do I really need a website?”
The answer here is usually a resounding YES, but really it depends on your goals.
If you’re just starting out and you’re bidding on freelance websites like Odesk and Elancer you might not need a website right away.
Maybe you’re just starting out and you have your first client and they refer you to one of their friends and now you have two clients. You still might not need a website right away, but either way it’s a good thing to start thinking about so that you can grow your virtual assistant business later on.
If you’re at the point where you already have more than two clients, I would say it’s time to seriously start thinking about putting up your own website so that you have a URL to refer people when they ask you what you do and what services you offer.
The next question I usually hear is, “Well, what do I even put on my services website?” Of course that’s going to vary by the services that you offer and the type of website that you want to put up. In general, I would recommend at least having an about page that says a little bit about you, a rate sheet so that no one is surprised when you tell them how much a project is going to cost, a page that has a description of the services that you’re offering right now, and then maybe a portfolio page that lists a few examples and testimonials from clients that you’ve already worked with.
This is also the point where a lot of people tend to panic and they think, “Oh my gosh, I need to put up a website, I don’t know how to do that. There are too many things to learn.” They just sort of shut down and they don’t move forward to put up their website and grow their business.
If that’s the point that you’re at right now I want you to stop, take a deep breath and relax, because it’s really easy and we can help you through it if you’re ready to put up your website. Over the next month or so we’re going to add some free resources and step-by-step guides to VAhelper.com that will help you set up your website using WordPress and we’ll make everything super simple for you.
Already Have a Website? Great!
Now let’s talk about a couple of things you can do if you already have your website and you just want to make some improvements or maybe get some new visitors to your website.
One of the things about having a services based website is that you don’t need that constant flow of incoming traffic like you do for a product website where you’re selling something and you need to make X number of sales per month. You just need enough visitors to make at least one new client. That can be anywhere from one visitor to 20 visitor to 200 visitors.
Just because you don’t need thousands of visitors per day doesn’t mean that you should neglect your SEO on your services website. There are a few plugins out there if you’re running WordPress.
You might want to try the Yoast SEO plugin or the All-in-One SEO Plugin just to make a few little tweaks. Having those set up and properly configured can bring you qualified leads each month that could lead to new projects and new clients for ongoing projects.
Since we’re talking about plugins, there are plenty of plugins out there for WordPress that can help you to make little improvements to your website along the way. You can add a plugin for a contact form or for a voice mailbox, like we have on VA Helper. We’re using the Speak Pipe plugin. If you go to VAhelper.com that’s the big purple tab on the right hand side and we have a blog post up all about that plugin as well.
Do You Need a Blog Too?
The next thing on our list about websites is whether or not you should add a blog to your services based website. There’s a little bit of debate about this in the marketing world as to whether or not a blog belongs on a website that offers services. I’ve seen it work both ways where a blog helps bring new clients into the website and also where it sort of just hangs out and doesn’t do much of anything.
I think it really depends on your goals of adding a blog. If you just want to write maybe one or two pieces per month, article marketing might be a better fit for you. That way you can write your one or two pieces a month and submit them to an article directory, like Ezine Articles, and that will bring traffic to your website of people that are interested in your service.
A similar idea there is to do guest blogging. That’s where you write your article and you submit it to someone else’s blog. Maybe somebody in the industry or maybe a client of yours has a blog and they want to talk about the services that you offer on their blog so that they can help spread the word about you and the work that you do. That’s always a win-win situation for everybody. The nice thing about doing guest blogging is you get the effects and traffic of blogging without having to actually run your own blog on your website.
As a side note, we do accept guest blog posts at VAhelper.com. If you have an article or a piece that you would like to submit just go to VAhelper.com and under the About tab you’ll find a contact form. You can send us your information there and we’ll get right back to you.
Can I Get a Testimonial?
Now I want to talk about using testimonials on your website. There are a few different ways that you can use testimonials.
One is on your portfolio page where you showcase projects that you’ve done with different clients and you include a testimonial from them about that project. That’s a really powerful way to use your testimonials because it shows that you did this project, the client was happy with the work that you did, and possibly even that they came back to you for their next project.
But, there are other ways you can use client testimonials on your website as well. You might feature a few of your favorite client testimonials on your homepage instead of on your portfolio page. That way when someone comes to your website that’s one of the first things that they see is that you have happy customers.
You could also scatter them around on the different pages of your website, just have one or two at the bottom of each page so that there’s a little bit of variety and the testimonials are there sending a message on every page no matter where someone lands when they come to your site.
Another thing that I’ve seen recently on quite a few websites for services is having testimonials in the sidebar. If you’re using WordPress and you have multiple pages and a sidebar on either the right or left side of the website you can put a little widget there that has a few client testimonials in it.
I think there’s a plugin that allows you to rotate those so that every time a person visits a different page on your website they see a different set of testimonials. I’ll look around online and see if I can find out what the plugin is called for you.
If you’re just getting started and you don’t have any client testimonials yet, that’s okay too.
Don’t be afraid to ask clients for a testimonial. You can ask them at invoice time, upon project delivery, or even part way through the project. Just say, “Hey, I’m wondering if you’re happy with the work that I’ve done and if you’d be willing to provide a testimonial for me that I can use on my website.” Make sure you get their information, if they’d like a URL listed with that, and maybe a photograph of themselves as well.
Time to Close Up…
We’re going to wrap things up for today. I do want to invite you to visit VAhelper.com, check out the blog posts we have there this week and use the big purple tab on the right hand side to leave us your feedback or ask us a question. We’ll talk to you again next week!
Free Resource: Creating Your Virtual Assistant Website
- Domains, Hosting, and WordPress
- Platforms, Frameworks, and Themes
- Plugins and Additional Security Features
- WordPress Settings
- Colors and Custom Headers
- Your About Page
- Your Contact Page
- Your Homepage
- Your Services Offered Page
- Your Rates – to post or not to post
- Reservation and Order Buttons
- Your Portfolio Page and/or Testimonials Page
- Your FAQ Page
- Terms, Privacy, and Disclaimer Pages
- To Blog or Not To Blog – and other options
- Adding Social Elements
- Adding a Newsletter – Building a Mailing List – Offering a Freebie or Resource
- Ongoing Maintenance and Occasional Updates
Additional Recommended Resources:
Namecheap for registering your domain.
Reliable Webs for hosting your website.
If you KNOW that you really want to create a virtual assistant business that you love and you’d like an all-in-one solution to get the resources and support you need to get this business started -at a price you can afford-
join us in the VA Startup Mastermind!
This is a small group of folks who are just getting started with their virtual assistant services business online. There are weekly accountability posts, loads of resources, and so much more being added to the group on a regular basis. You can post any time to get feedback or ask questions about anything you need help with to get your business off the ground and growing.