A website is the cornerstone of your online brand presence. Building and maintaining your site allows you to put your best foot forward toward existing and potential clients, as what you publish and portray about your services is completely up to you. With your own site, you have the keys to create the content, messages, and story that you want to tell about yourself and your business.
Websites used to be a novelty for professionals looking to build business: a nice thing to have, but not necessarily a crucial part of building clientele and marketing yourself. Now, most prospective clients will look for care managers through the internet first and foremost.
Many children of elderly parents are digitally savvy, and expect people they work with to operate with the same level of digital experience. Families usually conduct preliminary research online, and will look for your website before reaching out to you personally. Without a website, families won’t be able to find your services amongst other competitors; nor will they have pivotal information about you that can help them make a decision about who to call.
The COVID-19 pandemic has also made it harder for families to schedule introductions with prospective care managers, as face-to-face meetings are not necessarily feasible or safe. This has put a damper on most care managers’ ability to find new business through one of their most popular methods. Now more than ever before, care managers need to diversify the ways in which they find new business.
Having a website that reflects your brand is not only a smart way to present your business, it is also a way to find new opportunities, protect against competition, and expand your brand and networking reach. Preparing for a digital-first future also conveys a sense of tech savviness that many prospective clients and families will appreciate.
We talked about brand-building as an exercise in better understanding your clients’ and families’ perspectives. Creating a good website for your brand means once again putting yourselves in their shoes, and thinking about what they would want to know about you and your business right away.
Think of what most families ask you during your first meeting. Your website should provide four specific bits of information:
Every good website includes:
If you’re inclined to build a website that includes more than these core sections and pages, you’re absolutely free to do so. Just remember that many visitors may not look at every page on your site as part of their research—less is more here.
There are three ways to build a website: you do it yourself, bring in professionals, or beg your Gen Z niece to do it for you. Each has its benefits and setbacks. The DIY approach has never been easier with the advent of new site-building tools and platforms, but doing so can be time-consuming (and, depending on your comfort level, come with a steep learning curve). Hiring professionals can get the job done easily, but at a price (which can be steep sometimes). Getting your niece to use her tech skills can be another option, if she or someone else in the family is handy with the basics of web design. But remember: calling upon free labor sometimes means your project gets pushed to their back-burner, and that your site may not look as professional as it could (depending on skills).
If the thought of building or maintaining a website seems daunting and out of your comfort zone, new tools can make it easier than ever for care managers to build their site. If you don’t want to build or pay someone to build an entire website, then a single-page site will do fine, and these tools should be all you need. These options include building it yourself, getting outside help, and using social network pages in place of a website, or ideally in addition to one.
These days you don’t have to know how to code in order to build a website. There are many website builder tools that allow you to drag and drop components visually without needing to dabble in the underworkings of code. These tools also include ready-made templates so you don’t need to create your own design. There are several website builders to choose from:
All of these website creation tools have ready-made templates that make it easy to replace text and photos to create a neat website.
Hiring a specialist to build your website is a good option if you don’t want to go it alone and can afford to spend some money on your digital presence. You can expect to pay anywhere from hundreds of dollars to one thousand or more. The price will vary depending on how complex you want your site to be: a simple landing page is cheaper than a fully-fledged website (that can, for example, accept payments, manage your appointment schedule, and more).
If you do decide to hire professional help, be sure that the tools they use to build the site are inexpensive. You’ll need to maintain your site with new information and design changes (which can cost you hourly fees), renew your subscription to the company that hosts the data associated with the website, and renew your web address if you buy a custom domain name (and you should!).
Work with a developer that can build a site using one of the website building tools we mentioned above, you may end up saving yourself a significant amount of money. For starters, you won’t have to pay a developer to make updates for you. That alone can save you a significant amount of cash. You may also avoid having to pay separately to renew your web address registration, since these sites typically build in that charge to their yearly fees. You may end up only paying for hosting costs (which are usually $100-$200 per year).
If you’re lucky enough to know someone who’s handy with the tools listed above, and they’re willing to help you out, you can get the best of worlds: a professional-looking website that costs less than professional help without going it alone. Your mileage may vary with this approach depending on the individual’s skill level and time constraints. If you find that your site isn’t done by the time you had hoped it would go live, you can always go with either of the two options above to get it over the finish line.
Every business needs a website—even if it’s little more than a digital business card with your contact information. That said, a more robust website will help you take your brand and broadcast it to a broader group of prospective clients and families. Every website should have a few core elements, but you’re free to add more as you see fit. Just be sure to keep your page succinct in terms of how many pages you publish, and how much you write. Your website is your digital first impression, so treat it like you would a face-to-face introduction.