website dos and donts for virtual assistants
If you want to grow your client base and your earning potential you must have a great website. If you’re ashamed of your website it’s time to change that.
As part of my blog post series about how to get new clients for your virtual assistant business I’d like to talk about why what you include on your website is just as important as what you should not include.
I will show you how to build a website that leaves little doubt about what you do, and how well you do it.
Let’s say I am on your website. Within 3 seconds do I know what you do and the clients you serve? If I can’t I’m going to bounce off your site.
To prevent this, make it easy to for your visitor to see within 3 seconds what you’re all about. Include a clear message, whether it’s a photo, logo or a well-written tagline. I would recommend doing all three.
What and how many pages should I have?
The golden standard for most websites is 5 pages. They are your home page, about page, contact page, testimonial page, and blog. There is a lot of controversy about whether or not to post your rates to your website. If you want to create a page for rates, go for it! Alternatively, you can insert your rates in the about page.
Avoid adding additional pages that just clutter up your navigation bar. I’ve seen some virtual assistant websites include pages such as “why choose a VA” and even a page dedicated to highlighting a resume. Online resumes are good for LinkedIn, not for a website and you’re about page should explain why you should choose working with a VA.
Make sure your page titles are easily understood. An about page is one of the most visited pages on your website so make sure your visitor knows where to find the about page. Stay away from kitschy terms like “Get The Scoop, or My Story”. The same goes with your testimonials page. Stay away from titles like “singing my praise”. It’s okay to be creative with the titles of your pages but make sure everyone can understand what each page is and why they would want to open it.
Call to action
When a visitor comes to your site do you have a place to capture their email address similar to my home page? If you don’t you’re leaving money on the table (stop that!). The idea is to grow your email list so you can market to this list at some point by offering special promotions or services. In order to entice people to subscribe to your email list consider offering a useful freebie. If you don’t have a freebie why not create a VA/Client checklist or a short video on how to work with a virtual assistant. Create something useful for any business owner or entrepreneur to use.
Social Media Icons
Is your website littered with social media icons, badges, links or categories? Talk about distracting! If a potential client lands on your site and you’ve got all this junk in the sidebar how are they going to know what to do next? The idea is to minimize the number of links that lead visitors away from your site. You want to keep people engaged on your site, not off your site.
Clear, well-written copy
We all make spelling and grammar mistakes from time to time but your website isn’t the place to make these kinds of mistakes. Go through your website copy and read all the text backwards to see if you have made any mistakes in sentence structure. Run a spell check. Have a friend proofread the copy for you. Do all of this and make it a priority because your potential clients will choose another VA if they see spelling and grammar mistakes on your site.
Go through your website from time to time to make sure all your links are working. You can do this by setting up Google Webmasters. Once you have Google Webmasters set up you can receive a weekly report that shows you if you have any errors on your website.
So come clean, are you happy with your website or are you embarrassed by it? Let me know in the comments below and feel free to ask me a question on how to make it better. I read every comment.
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53 thoughts on “The Virtual Assistant Website – What You Must Know & Avoid”
Thanks Reese – very informative.
Thanks for reading, Lynne!
Good stuff, Reese! My website obviously needs help, but …. ?
Robin my dear Robin! I owe you ann email don’t I!? You’re website is due for an audit and I’m going to get it done. 🙂 Stay tuned!
Hi Reese,Question: I’ve seen numerous websites, especially people that I know, that have proofing errors/mistakes on the website. I’ve recently come across a rather HUGE site with a mistake on it. How would you approach these clients to notify them of the errors that need correction so that I can get my business out there and also get paid for the proofing? I have a lot of experience in the Executive Assistant world, etc but I’m finding it difficult to get my business off the ground. I did have one client call from an ad on Craigslist, but I haven’t heard back from him. I sent an immediate follow-up letter and he responded, but what’s the next step. How do I get him to use my service? Thanks for your help and your website has some awesome information.
Thanks for the compliment, Rena! I would be careful about approaching potential clients and pointing out errors. We’re all human and we all make mistakes and some people just cringe when others make people aware of their spelling and grammar mistakes. That said, I do like where you are going with this. Is it just spelling and grammar mistakes that you are noticing or is the website not functioning the way it should be? It would be a great idea to really run an audit of the business from a customer standpoint. Make a list of all the issues you see and write an email to the to the business owner. Tell the owner what the issues are and how you would fix those issues. If it were me I would offer to fix these issues for up to a specific amount of hours at no cost to get my foot in the door (assuming I didn’t have any other clients). Be clear however that you are offering your services for free or at a discounted rate for only a specific amount of time. This way you don’t find yourself in a sticky situation later. Keep me posted!
Thanks for the reply Reese. You know, it’s great that you actually take time out to reply to each person that sends an inquiry. It’s definitely no wonder you are successful in this business. Great ideas that you provided and I appreciate your response and suggestions. The mistakes that I find are spelling and/or grammar mistakes. Occasionally, the pages links do not work. I notice the same thing on my page, but I try to go over my pages ever couple of days to ensure it’s correctness before I correct someone else :-). However, I think it should be important to everyone that their website can function and has little to no errors, but I definitely don’t want to scare them off. Yes, I do need clients. It seems as if this is a difficult business to get into. I’m finding it very difficult to find clients. I’m starting to offer certain services for FREE, but I do need to bring in some income like yesterday :-). Again, thank you for your time and commitment to the industry. Rena’
Rena, you’re making me blush. As much as you are thanking me I really want you to know that I should be thanking you. So, thank you Rena for being a part of my community and sharing with me and my readers! xoxo
Great article. I would love it if you would take a look at my site. It is always helpful to have another set of unbiased eyes take a look. Thanks for posting this – truly very informative.
Hi Sara! So happy to hear you are diggin the blog post I wrote. I am going to take a look at your site and post the comments here soon! Stay tuned!
As usual, your blog post was helpful and informative. Because of not having the money to have someone build my website for me right now, I took a stab at doing it myself. Ugh! Hard work. I would love for you to audit my website and give me some honest feedback. I’m very tough-skinned, so anything you say won’t hurt my feelings!
Great article , Reese. I have not put rates on my page. I am having difficulty getting my site verified with Webmasters, I would like a free audit.
John, let our readers know what became of the free website audit I performed for your business website. I am sure they would love to benefit from your knowledge.
Reese, love, love, love your article! For rates, I say definitely include them! But I am a VT (virtual transcriptionist) rather than a VA, so that may make a difference. Many PCs who became clients have mentioned how much they loved the fact that I had my rates on my website and that’s one reason they contacted me. So much nicer knowing that when someone contacts you through your website that they’re doing so already happy with your rates.
And so glad you mentioned one of my big pet peeves—websites and blogs with grammar and spelling mistakes, especially a VA site.
One thing I don’t have is something like your free business and marketing tips that I can offer. I do need to work on getting something together for that.
I will definitely come back to read more of your posts!
Thank you Pam! I am so happy that you’re a part of my VA community. This website wouldn’t mean much without you and my other readers. Let me know what kind of freebie you come up with for your website.
I post my rates on my site for exactly the reasons you stated, Pam. I started as a virtual transcriptionist and then added VA work to the mix. I always hate when companies don’t post their rates, and I even went so far as to comment about it on my rates page, “Don’t you hate it when all vendors have on their rates page is contact us for more details? We do, too. That’s why…” By posting my rates on my site, for both VA and transcription work, I weed out some of the tire kickers and clients who DO contact me already know what field they’re playing on, if you know what I mean.
I thought this was a great post, Reese. Informative, but not obnoxious. I recently had a “free website audit” done and the person doing the auditing was so abrasive I could barely open their series of emails trashing my site, after they had said how great it was to start with. I strongly disagreed with a lot of the recommendations they made because the suggestions were so inauthentic to me and my style and the type of business I run and clients I serve. After that experience, my mantra this week has been, “There is a difference between tellin’ it like it is and being obnoxious.”
Shannon, thank you for your comment! Shame you got such negative recommendations on your website. I found it to be a fantastic site full of well written copy and a very clear navigation bar. Your branding is consistant and you’ve certainly carved out a niche which is fantastic! You go girl!
Thanks Reese, for this great article. I took your advice and redid my website using your recommendations. My blog has been shared by another VA
John! Hell yeah! Thank you so much for letting me know!!
Great article! I literally threw my website together last and I know it’s a working progress but this helped me figure some ideas out. Cheers
Thank you, Vanessa! One comment about your website. Consider using size 16 font. It’s so much easier on the eyes. You’re potential clients will thank you for it!
Hi Reese, my name is Amanda and I am actually just getting started in the virtual assistant business. I am quite unsure if my website is realistic and if I need to either move things around or redo the whole thing, please your opinions and thoughts are highly appreciated! I have been reading your posts and they are what inspired me to become a VA. Thanks!
Hi Amanda! Welcome to the world of virtual assistance! It’s fun around here! My first piece of advice would be to get rid of the flower in the main center image. When you think of a virtual assistant the last thing that comes to mind are flowers. Perhaps a nice picture of you instead!
Hi there!I’m in the process of making my website now (it’s a work in progress) but as soon as I get it presentable I’d love to have you’re eyes take a look at it ^_^ bring on the constructive criticism hahaha
Keep us posted!
Hi,I’m in a class on starting a new VOA business and I like your article on creating a website. You mentioned that ‘testimonials’ should be a tab. If you are brand new to this, how do you create a testimonials page? What do you put on it?
Tiffany, a testimonials tab is simply a page in your navigation bar that showcases all the recommendations you have received from past and current clients. It’s one of the must have pages on your website.
I read your blog and found very informative, as I am totally new in this field of creating website. I am a software engineer and used to work in India for MNC but in July 2012, I came to US with my hubby on H4(dependent) visa. Now I want to start my carrier as a virtual assistant for that I need to create a website as I am totally naive, so please help me in starting creating the website(as what should I write in Title or in various pages as u have mentioned in your blog).
It will be a great help to me.
Shweta, read my blog posts. They will help you with the questions you have. 🙂
Wow. Doing a WordPress Web/Blog here. I’ve been deep into it for over a week now. Even took a vaca day this past Friday from the corp gig just so I could geek out. I’m putting the finishing touches on it now. Would appreciate a critique.
I just launched my site a few days ago starting a brand new VA business. Could you please critique & give some feedback? It would be greatly appreciated.
You’re off to a great start, Laura! The vivid green is very hard on my eyes and makes it hard to read your text. I would change the colors ASAP. Good luck!
Hi Reese,My website is up and running. Can you please take a look and let me know what you think? thanks for all your great advice.
Cat, such a creative website! Love the antique look you’ve given it with the pictures. Nice touch! I would encourage you to learn more about copywriting for business. Check out Nikki Elledge Brown for that! http://www.nikkielledgebrown.com
Reese, I greatly enjoyed this article. I am new to all this as a Virtual Assistant. I am working real hard to learn from stuff I am reading – didn’t read this before I did my website, mind taking a look and maybe suggest some pointers. Thanks!
Hello Reese I am new to virtual assistant and I would like you to look at my website to to better it.And see what I can add or delete if you have any question please email me.
Hi Aneglique! My advice to you is to study up on copywriting for business so you can write more persuasive copy to entice your prospects. Good luck!
I’m having trouble sorting out all the ‘options’ for web hosting. I want to go the WordPress route but are there any rock solid basics as far as web hosting options that I will need? I just want to get my site up and running and start very simply without paying for a bunch of extra’s I don’t need, however I want a reliable and secure site to work with. As soon as I start looking at hosting packages it becomes technical overload for my brain and I end up not choosing a host because of lack of info on what I need….!
Sylvana, have you looked into SquareSpace? It might be a great option for you.
Hello Reese, Can you take a look at my website and provide me with your feedback?Thanks in advance.
i have been reading a lot of your posts and I love the way you grab us and give us the needed info. I am definitely following you!!!When you have time could you see what you think of my website.
Thanks so much
THANK YOU, Angela! Much appreciated. Your website needs a lot of work but I commend you on getting it up online! Check out the templates on SquareSpace.com to give you an idea of the look and feel I would love to see you have on your site. It’s critical to have a site that converts prospects into clients so you need a great site. Take mine for example or my friend Sarah Noked over at http://www.sarahnoked.com
I went through my website with a fine tooth comb! These are great tips. Thank you for such wonderful advice.
[…] you have all that figured out, you need to choose a name for your virtual assistant business, create a website, write the copy, create your social media profiles and finally, figure out how to blog and actually […]
Hello! Wow. Amazing site. I feel so confident!
I’m relatively knew to VAing. I’m a Medical Office Assistant, but have also worked extensively in Customer Service and Admin support.
I’m building a website, just to get my foot in the door, but I have know Idea what to write under the ‘About Me’. I would love for people to trust me and feel good about my qualifications, but also who I am as a person. Assisting and Admin can also be very personal work!
I would love to build my qualifications as well.
Any advice on these things??
Thank you so much!
My first advice would is don’t build a website now. Don’t waste your time on that. Figure out what your core services are, who needs them the most and then go out and talk to these people. Lead them to your LinkedIn profile until you have at least 3 clients. Then you can start working on a website. Too many new VAs are told to build a website. It’s kind of like, if you build it they will come. WRONG. First you do research. I’m creating a free e-course titled “Your First Client”. Be on the lookout for it this week. It will be immensely helpful for you.
Thank you for the encouragement and support you offer to VAs. I am based in South Africa and my va services is shortly to be launched. VAs are not very popular in SA but like all things it will find a branch on the tree soon enough. I am hoping by the time this happens, I will be well established and a popular name in the arena. I stumbled on your webpage and am so glad I did so. Very informative and helpful. Keep doing what you doing!
Is it possible to make a good website using a free website service? What would a good one be? I am in a desperate situation money wise. I am awaiting approval from fancy hands.
You can use your LinkedIn profile the way I did when I first started. You can also set up an about.me page. No need to invest in a website right away. Invest your time in setting your business up and figuring out exactly what you’re doing first. That’s the best investment for now.
Hi Reese, what is a good way to get testimonials when starting out if you do not have any to share with potential clients?Thanks,
Vicki, think about all the people in your life that you’ve helped out using the skills that you have. It might be a neighbor or a former co-worker or a friend or family member. When I got started I used testimonials from my former bosses and those were powerful and enough to get my first clients. Start there.