Is your web site bringing you down?

These days, a web site is more important for marketing your doula business than any brochure, flyer, postcard or business card. It’s quite often the very first impression your clients have of you. Over the years as I’ve seen other doula’s web sites, I’ve noticed some common problems that could be costing you clients!

First, recognize that by the time a prospective client lands on your web site, chances are very good that they already know what a doula is, and they are thinking they want one. So your web site should sell YOU, not the concept of doulas in general. Your web site should be personal – a reflection of who you are. If you want to project high energy intensity, use vibrant colors and contrasting elements. If you want to project a clean image, go for an uncluttered site. Don’t try to think about what CLIENTS want, think about what best represents you. When your clients meet you, they should not think you contradict the image you present on your site.

Make sure that your web site has your name and your location. You’d be shocked how many sites I see out there that are missing this basic information. A photo (or three…) of you makes you a real person and helps potential clients recognize you when you meet for an interview. Be sure and keep that photo current if you are one who likes to play with your appearance. An “About Me” page is a good way for clients to get to know you a little bit. Again, be conscious of the image you want to present. On my site, I aimed for light, conversational, and a little bit of humor. You may want to be more business like, more abstract, or give little info.

Most clients will at some point ask about your training and experience, so address this on your site somewhere. I personally made sure that every item on the “questions to ask your doula” that are all over the web was answered on my site. But you may choose to leave some items out to have more to discuss in an interview.

Make sure there is a way on your site for potential clients to contact you! Again, a shocking number of doula sites do not have this. Make it easy for them to find from no matter where they are on your site.

I personally do not recommend music on your web site. First, it makes your site load much slower, which is irritating, and secondly, many web surfers will immediately leave a web site that starts to play music automatically. You don’t want to lose those people!

The little things really do make a difference! I strongly suggest you avoid using any freebie web sites like wix, blogspot, etc. Your client can see that in the URL and it shows that you are not committed enough to invest in your business. Your site should be easy to navigate, the last thing you want is a site visitor getting lost and being unable to find your home page, or worse, your contact information. Broken links can also be a lead-killer, as can sending them to a link that is so good they never get back to your site! I recommend having any links you have to other sites open in a new tab so they don’t lose YOU.

And finally, you want the site to represent you well, so have someone else carefully proofread it looking for spelling or grammar issues. Would you hire the doula who writes that she has “experiense help moms with breastfeeeding and postpardum issues” or the one who has “experience helping moms with breastfeeding and postpartum issues”?

I’ve created a handy-dandy checklist for you of the most important things discussed in this article.

If there’s interest, I could write a little tutorial on how to use WordPress to create a site on your own hosting. It’s cheaper and easier than you might think! …just comment if you’re interested.