The Crucial Importance of Online Transparency
The Numbers are Staggering!
In March, 2012 the Business Insider reported there were 644 million web sites worldwide, according to Netcraft. According to the same survey, that was an increase of just over 5% from the previous month! It is no surprise that there are millions of web sites, and billions of web pages. It is very easy to hang out your online “shingle” for various reasons, which is especially great news for freelancers / solopreneurs!
However, this very ease of “getting online” has a dark side…
There is a continuing and pervasive public perception that people have the ability to “be anyone” and “hide behind an online ‘persona’,” and for legitimate reasons: we are all aware of much-publicized nefarious incidents related to everything from increasing numbers of Internet scams to illegal and horrific reports of adults “masquerading as kids” preying on underage youth.
While these incidents are likely the exception rather than the rule, as the saying goes “Perception is everything!” If your site visitors — your potential clients/customers — are not completely confident in who you are, they will leave your site and go elsewhere!
There’s just NO reason to send that message to prospective clients!
An easy solution that is often overlooked!
The solution to this is very simple: be yourself! Now, this doesn’t mean you have to provide all sorts of private information…nor should you!
What it does mean is that you need to provide sufficient information on your background and experience that a new visitor would feel confident in “pursuing the conversation” with you. There are a number of easy ways to do this:
- Provide pertinent and sufficient information on your About page (for recommendations on what should be included here, see this article)
- Provide insights to what makes you YOU! In other words, BE REAL!
Understand how your prospective customer thinks. It isn’t hard: it’s the way you and I think, too! Many people prefer to check out potential vendors online first. It’s non-invasive for both parties, and it can be done anytime, and anywhere. Think of their initial visits to your web site as evaluating IF they want to communicate further…(How many contractors or “hired help” do you “check out” before making a decision?) There are a few easy ways to encourage them to want to continue the conversation with you.
- Offer helpful articles in the way of “Tip Sheets” (freely available in exchange for an e-mail address; this helps build your all-important in-house list!)
- Or by offering a downloadable report or “white paper” providing even more insight to potential customers/clients in your niche.
Combined with a carefully crafted About page, these additional pieces of content provide potential clients/customers with further insights into YOU as a person and go a long way to helping assuage any initial reluctance in becoming a customer.
Many freelancers/solopreneurs wonder how they can possibly DIY all this content… If you are feeling this “too much to do, to little time” stress and feel you need to clone yourself, it may be time to consider outsourcing some of your regular tasks. If actually creating all this content is new or intimidating to you, contact me. I’ll be happy to help you plan out your content and even help you write the content. Remember, your awesome content and ideas don’t do anyone any good if it isn’t published!