There is no reason for any small business not to be online … in a professional, powerful way. That way, when a customer wants to find your menu of products, they will.
Steve Strauss (USATODAY.com columnist, author and lawyer)
Proofreading and editing are competitive. If your colleagues have websites but you don’t, you’re less likely to be found by potential customers. You're potential market is worldwide so make yourself visible to those to beyond your own geographical boundaries.
2. No- or low-cost marketing
Your website is a low-cost, high-impact marketing tool. If you use a host such as Weebly or WordPress, to name just two, then the only cost to you need be the time you spend building and maintaining it (though I'd recommend paying a little extra for a professional custom domain name).
Once live, customers can find you rather than your having to find them.
3. Create an online résumé
You can use your website as an online résumé. Keep your home page uncluttered, but use other pages to show off your clients, skills and portfolio of work.
4. Control your space
A website is more than ‘having an online presence’ – it’s a professional space in which you control both the content and the design of that content. In other words, your brand identity.
Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and Google+ are restrictive in this respect. Even highly functional professional editorial directories will define how you can display your content.
You can, however, use these networking platforms, and others, to drive people to your website.
5. Content is always fresh
Websites are easy to update, meaning the content you include is always the latest content. Update your site frequently and search engines are more likely to notice you. And that means clients are more likely to find you.
6. Become a curator
Your website can be about others as well as you – use it as an information-sharing tool. Think of it as a way to be helpful to others, a source of solutions. Update your resources regularly, and brand your content consistently, to keep your website fresh.
7. Your clients probably have one – shouldn't you?
If you want to be seen as someone who's up to date with the same technology and trends as your clients, an attractive, solution-focused website can be part of the arsenal that demonstrates this.
8. It’s not hard
Things have come on a long way in the past few years. Even if the idea of building your own site scares you, make the jump and at least do a bit of research.
Most website providers offer design templates that you can use and adapt to suit your own needs (WordPress, Weebly, Yola, and 1&1 are just a few examples). You don’t need any technical knowledge of computer programming or coding to get up and running.
Louise Harnby is a professional proofreader and copyeditor. She curates The Proofreader's Parlour and is the author of several books on business planning and marketing for editors and proofreaders.
Visit her business website at Louise Harnby | Proofreader, say hello on Twitter at @LouiseHarnby, or connect via Facebook and LinkedIn.
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