As you progress in your career – or work with a wider group of clients on a variety of projects, you increase your exposure to all sorts of challenges, and over time, gain valuable first-hand experience.
Everything you do will add marketable skills and experience to your portfolio – and everything you do or learn will contribute to the expert that you are today – and build your reputation as an expert.
Show that you are an expert in your field – in the best way
Many of you will have started your career or set up your business (long) before the internet became one of the established ways to engage with customers, and over time, you will have adapted – or are in the process of adapting – your business to meet the needs of an online audience.
One of the main ways to showcase your talents as an expert online is to ensure that you have a professional web presence. This applies to all businesses or sectors of work, regardless of your niche.
Having a professional web presence does not mean that you are selling yourself as web or online specialist, but it does mean you are tuned into the needs of your potential customers – many of whom will be looking for the service you offer right now online.
Here are three easy ways to ensure that you showcase your talents and your expertise online in the right way, and shine a positive light on your business:
Publish professional website content
Remember that your website content ‘speaks’ to visitors to your website even when you’ve finished your day’s work, and it is worth making the time and effort to get both the written ‘voice’ and message right.
If you have doubts about producing high quality content yourself, or even if you don’t, consider hiring a professional copywriter to work on your content for you.
A professionally written website tells your customers that you are serious about what you do and that you care enough about making your products, services or information work for your customers.
Once your content is polished and ready, you are ready to move on to the next stage: look and feel.
Use a professional design
To use a well-worn phrase, a picture speaks a thousand words.
Spend time finding and working with a designer who can help bring your business to life online – by making it relevant to your target customers as well as being attractive to look at.
Fully brief your designer about your company, the products and services you are selling and your target market. This is where the detailed work you will have put into your content preparation with your copywriter will start to pay dividends.
Armed with a full brief, your designer will have all the information s/he needs to deliver a tailor-made look and feel for your website.
Make your website fit for purpose
Working with your copywriter and designer will go a long way towards helping you thrash out your business aims and what you are offering your online customers. It will also help you to decide on the type of website you need.
Your chosen website may be a blog/website hybrid, a content or design-driven website, or a website with special functionality or third party elements – such as a shopping cart, an automated newsletter sign-up facility or a survey or booking tool.
Remember to only build in what you need to make your website fit for purpose. In other words, if your website offers event information only, your focus should be on keeping that information updated on a regular basis to encourage return visits.
But if you want your online visitors to check the events information and buy tickets, your website must have a fully functioning ticket-booking facility that works.
Set aside time to regularly check your third-party or built-in functionality to make sure it continues to give your web visitors the best possible user experience.
Paying close attention to these details can help to cement your reputation as a professional and will ensure that you do not compromise your standing as an expert in your chosen field.
Post written by DEBBIE THOMAS on 2 June 2011.