I often find the same mistakes on professional speaker websites when I am asked to do an audit. Of course, there are some design nuances and strategies that occur, but for the purpose of this article, I want to focus more on function and content.
Whether you used a template and built your own speaking business website or hired someone else to do it, the list below are all things that should have been taken into account.
Making it Hard to Book You
“I’m not doing that!” is probably the first thought that just went through your mind, right? Of course no one does this on purpose, but I think many speakers don’t consider the possibility that a reader wouldn’t know how to use their website.
Some people make it hard to book them by not providing their direct phone number and email on their website or even by only having a call scheduler as their contact method. When I work with clients, I like to ask how they want people to contact them but then also push back on them if they insist on only making it difficult or de-humanizing the process.
Calendar scheduling links are great, but the truth is, someone may just prefer to email you directly.
Forgetting the Most Important Person
You, the speaker, are NOT the most important person.
Your audience is also NOT the most important person.
The person who signs the check is.
Who are they really? Through demographics or psychographics, knowing who the person that is responsible for paying you will guide your content and approach.
If you are a speaker for college students, the faculty advisor of the club or the Dean of Students? Maybe the person with the title of “Director of Fraternity and Sorority Life & Panhellenic Advisor.”
In the corporate world, your real audience may be in HR or the head of a committee for a specific event. A good way to figure this out is to think of your past clients and the name that officially booked you.
Once you figure out that person and start talking directly to them, your content will connect so much better.
Content is king, but unfortunately if your content is outdated or aimed at the wrong person, this could actually hurt your credibility, so just keep that in mind.
I hate to say it, but it’s really hard to connect with someone and show them who you are if you’re using photos that aren’t even of you. There absolutely is a time and place for stock photos on your website, especially if you’re just getting started.
As a designer, I asked for all photos that I could possibly use on a website before I start building anything. This gives me a better look at what I have to work with and I then only use stock photos when I absolutely need to. While I have premium stock photo memberships that I pay for in the even a client needs something, Even the best stock photos aren’t as good as real photos of you in your element and doing the thing that you’re good at.
At the bare minimum, you should have a nice headshot and a picture of you on the stage. I created a free guide that you can use with a photographer to make sure you have everything you need for your website and marketing.
Website Taking Too Long to Load
There are countless studies that talk about how if a page takes too long to load, users will click the back button and find a better resource for what they’re looking for. When it comes to professional speaker websites specifically, a common source of a website taking too long to load are photos.
Nice, clear photos are essential to your business, as I just told you. And don’t be afraid, but we are going to get technical for just a second.
Big photos usually come in very large sizes so that all the details show up crisply. Most photos need to be resized before being put on your website. The files a photographer sends you should be opened on Photoshop and scaled down and then saved as a copy. This will not hurt the quality of the image on your site because your computer screen can only show so many pixels.
Speakers Aren’t Using SEO on Their Websites
Let’s get the other technical mistake out of the way. The easiest way to explain “SEO”, or search engine optimization, is how you show up on Google searches. There is no way around the fact that websites that rank higher on Google will get more traffic and sales.
So how do we make Google happy? Here’s a short list to get started:
- Your images need to have alt text descriptions that help visually-impaired internet users know what the image is of
- Your pages should be set up with header tags that are structured to keep the reader moving and consuming your content
- Each page of your website should have links that guide the reader to the next best step in their journey of your website
- Your website needs to have quick load times
- You need to keep people engaged on your website longer without clicking away. For speakers, I highly recommend having videos embedded on your website for your audience to view
Building your speaking business will rely a lot on referrals and what your past audiences think of you. I’ve written about testimonials before, but I think it is important enough to reiterate. There are three different mistakes I’ve seen when it comes to testimonials on a professional speaker website.
Not having enough testimonials
When I worked for an organization where I was hiring speakers for conventions, the testimonials on a speaker website was the first thing I looked for. Anybody can create a website and claim that they do something well, but I was looking for convincing testimonials that told me that this was the speaker that I wanted to hire. If I found a website that didn’t have any testimonials, I quickly went to the next person because there was no social proof that this speaker was going to provide my audience with any value.
Having too many confusing video testimonials
I’ve seen website with links to video testimonials, which is a great first step. The problem was that it was clear that I needed to click on something to go to another website to tell me that the speaker was good. to fix this, make it clear by the thumbnail image that I am supposed to click this.
Also, make sure that your testimonials can open right up on your website because you don’t want to navigate your audience away from your domain, because this increases the chance that they won’t come back.
Having testimonials that aren’t unique
Having testimonials that say “He’s a great speaker!” or “We loved having her” isn’t actually a testimonial worth having. Coaching your audience to leave specific testimonials will increase your conversion rate of website visitors to paid audiences.
When asking for testimonials (and yes, you should be actively asking for these), have thought-provoking prompts like “What was your favorite part of my delivery?” or “Finish this sentence: My favorite part of *your name*’s presentation was when they ______.”
No Way to Collect Emails
Someone may not be ready to book you when they first see your website, but you don’t want to completely lose that person.
Having something as a lead magnet allows you to get contact information for future reference while simultaneously providing value to your audience.
Not sure what to offer? Think about why the reader isn’t ready to book you right now. Is it too far away from their event? Is it their “off season” like the summer for university employees or the winter for a outdoor venue/event? Thinking about what they could be doing now and guiding them through it could be a good start.
Looking for a recommendation for a way to collect and contact these leads? I have tried several and my favorite by far is ConvertKit.
Common Mistakes on Professional Speaker Websites: Now What?
Hopefully, you found this list helpful and if you are looking for help improving your speaker website, I would love to hear from you.
As long as my schedule permits, I offer FREE website audits in order to help you discover the ways that we could improve your website’s reach and effectiveness. Simply email me at Kristin@KristinPearson.com with your website link and any specific parts of your website that you are curious about.