Did you know that there is such a thing as “website shame?” Until recently, I had no idea that the acutely uncomfortable feeling of not wanting others to see your website actually has a name.
I recognized this very real experience for my clients, even relating to it myself.
You might think that being a web designer gives me immunity to website shame. After all, I have the knowledge, materials and skills to avoid website shame altogether. The truth is I wrestled with website shame just recently. I am well acquainted with the business killing outcomes of website shame both in my own business and in my client’s.
The Effects of Website Shame
Website shame is valid and has a real, negative impact on our businesses. Regardless of whether we are a brick and mortar operation or strictly an online venture, our website is the key tool in our overall marketing plan. Or, at least it should be because it’s the first place people get to interact with us.
We instinctively know that first impressions matter. When our website doesn’t look good or adequately reflect our business, we are reluctant to put this powerful tool to use for our business.
What does website shame look like?
See if this sounds familiar:
You mention your business to a person who expresses interest in what you do – a possible hot new lead – and they ask for your business card and website. You immediately feel anxious. Running through your mind as you hand over your business card are thoughts like: My website isn’t done yet. It hasn’t been updated in ages. It’s not as professional looking as it should be. You quickly make a disclaimer to that effect to the person you are talking to that goes something like, “Don’t mind my website, I’m still working on it.”
Whenever you make an excuse about your website because you know it doesn’t look the way it should to best represent you and your business, this is website shame.
I’m No Stranger to Website Shame
I had this very same experience happen to me when I was working on launching my new website after renaming and rebranding my business. In fact, I had a double case of website shame. Caught between two websites, my old one and my new one, I didn’t want anyone to visit either of them for a time.
My first website didn’t adequately reflect my new brand and direction. I learned a lot in the first year of my business and was in the process of narrowing my niche and refining my processes. I didn’t want anyone to see that website, but I also didn’t want to take it down in case I missed referrals from happy clients.
During this time, the nutritionist I was working with saw my old business card. He loved it and asked to pass my information on to his partner at a marketing firm who was frequently looking for web designers. It was an incredible opportunity. Because of website shame, I asked him to hold off for a bit. I explained I was between websites and relaunching a new one soon. I told him I would send him my information as soon as I finished it.
It took another six months before I finished and launched my new website.
Ashamed of my websites, I actively turned down possible business during this time. I also didn’t pursue opportunities to apply for projects that I knew I would be a good fit for or engage on social media. Fear that someone would go to my website, see it unfinished and be turned off to my business left me paralyzed.
Those were a very lean six months with very few clients booked on my calendar.
Can you relate to website shame?
Are you actively holding back because your website isn’t everything you know it should be? Is website shame hurting your business more than you realized?
Getting a website you love is not as complex as it probably feels. It also doesn’t mean you have to hire a designer like me. Sure, I’d love to work with you to build the website of your dreams, but I know the pressures of starting a business. Sometimes you’d love nothing more than to pass the web designer hat, but you just can’t yet.
I hear you and I’m here to help. I love to watch business owners just like you go from floundering and being ashamed of their website, to taking charge of their web presence and stepping out confidently to build their business.
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