The Internet is fast overtaking most other forms of media for informing clients and prospective clients of your existence and services. In fact, a professional without a web page is at a disadvantage in this technological age.
Visit the web sites of other professionals in your field:
- Make notes on what works and what doesn't.
- Is the site easy to navigate? Is it attractive to look at? Is there concrete information available, or is it all show?
Decide what you want your web page to do:
- Is it primarily going to be an advertising medium, or do you want it to be relatively interactive, so that clients can access it to provide you with information, or to link to other sites?
Do you want to develop your own site, or will you find a designer to do it for you?
- If you have just purchased new computer equipment for your office, the chances are that you will have some software already installed that will enable you to build your own simple web site, even if you are not knowledgeable about technology yourself
- If you don't want to build your own site, find a designer that understands your practice, your philosophy and your target client base. Use the same techniques for finding the right designer as you use for finding an accountant or financial manager. Having a website designed isn't cheap, so you don't want to spend good money on a site that no one will visit.
Finding a name for your web site may not be as easy as you imagine at this time:
- You will have to do a search, or find someone to do a search for you, of available domain names, so come up with several choices that you can live with.
Keep your site up to date:
- Make sure that you can make changes and add content to the site easily as your practice grows. The more new and useful information your clients find when accessing your site, the more they will visit it.
Link your site to other sites of interest to your clients.
Make sure that the content of your site doesn't conflict with any regulations set by your governing body. For instance, physicians' web sites are usually subject to the same advertising guidelines as newspaper advertising.
Decide how interactive you want your web page to be:
- Do you want clients to be able to make appointments through your web page?
- Do you want to provide client surveys on your web page?
Using the Internet Professionally
With all the information available on the Internet, it makes sense to utilize it for your own professional purposes.
- There are many excellent sites on the Internet, but be aware that the content of many sites is not regulated. Never take for granted something you read on the Internet without researching its source
- Write down the URLs of all sites given to you by clients who have been using the Internet to check out their health, finances or legal situations, depending on your professional situation. Either have someone in your office visit the sites, or do it yourself to check out their veracity
- Consider providing your clients with a handout each month (you can add to this rather than re-doing all the time) listing those sites you feel provide accurate information.