If you’ve never heard of website shame, don’t be alarmed. I have been designing websites since 2008, and I only recently heard the term “website shame.” That doesn’t mean real business owners haven’t experienced this problem before, it simply means that the term “website shame” is the modern way of describing a very common problem that has affected scores of business owners, myself included.
What Exactly is Website Shame?
Website shame is the feeling of embarrassment that comes over a business owner when their website doesn’t look as good as they want it to. This feeling is especially acute when someone asks for their website information. If you have experienced website shame, you may have:
A. Cringed inwardly
B. Hesitated to give out your web address when asked
C. Felt compelled to make an excuse such as “Don’t mind my website, it’s not finished yet.”
D. Believed once the person visits your website they won’t contact you again
E. All of the above in sickening cycles of fear and shame
The real problem with website shame is the effect that it has on you and your potential to build the successful business you dream of. Because you don’t have a beautiful website that perfectly expresses who you are, creating connections with your ideal clients, you hesitate to take the actions you know will build your business. You may even give up before your business has a chance to thrive.
3 Common Problems of Website Shame
I see at least 3 common problems with business owners whose websites are less than stellar. Do any of these resonate with you?
Problem #1. You spend all of your time working on your website. Not having the design skills and knowledge, trying to DIY your website consumes your time, money, and energy. There is nothing left over to invest into growing your business. This perpetuates a cycle of feeling like you are working on your business, but in reality you are working IN your business.
Problem #2. You are stuck in denial. Just a few more tweaks and it will be done. Once you make those last few changes, THEN you can really launch your website. Once you get more content, you’ll feel comfortable sharing it with the world. These are a few of the common excuses you make to yourself about why you can’t launch or share your website with others. When you are stuck in denial, you tell yourself that with a few more changes, your website will be ready and then you will launch it for real.
Problem #3. You pass up opportunities to network and market your business. Embarrassed of your website, you fail to network with other people. You pass up opportunities that would be a great fit for your business. If it means they might visit your website, you hold off, intending to pursue those opportunities when the website is done to your satisfaction.
All three problems hinder your business because in each scenario, you aren’t pursuing the things you most love and that will grow your business into the success you are hoping for. I know the painful cycle of website shame intimately. Even as a web designer, I have my own true story of a recent bout of website shame.
The Solution to Website Shame
Building a business is hard. And, truthfully, so is building a website. The DIY website solutions make it look easy to build a beautiful, effective website. In reality, building a website requires several different skillsets and is a time consuming task. At least it is if you want it to reflect excellence and appeal to your target audience, which I know you do. So what is a busy entrepreneur who wears many hats to do to get a website that actually helps build a business rather than hinder it?
Answer: tackle your website with a step-by-step process
Start from the beginning with researching your ideal client. Then, create a brand that speaks directly to that person. These two phases of the design process take thought and intention, forming the foundation of a website that attracts clients and converts them into customers.
Most people try to start their website with the design phase, without putting much thought into the first two steps. But, with step one and two in place, the actual visual design falls into place with better results. They also help you gain clarity in your content to address your ideal client’s pressing problems with the solutions you have created with your products or services. To make it easier for you to implement, I’ve created a step by step checklist, divided into four phases. These are the exact steps I take in creating websites for my clients. From beginning to end, the steps tell you all the bits and pieces that go into crafting a truly remarkable website for your business.