I think VAs (Virtual Assistants) can have an important role in an entrepreneur’s business. They can help out with many tasks that are often not something that busy people want to do, nor can do.
VAs can be very handy with managing calendars, sorting through dozens of emails, doing minor website updates and even helping manage campaigns to ensure all the moving pieces are all lined up.
But even with all the ways that a VA can help you out, there are some areas of your business that you have to be careful about and not just hand over to them, hoping things will miraculously materialize with little involvement from you.
One of those critical areas is the development of your website.
Lately I am hearing more and more about business owners having their VA (or business manager or even doing it themselves for that matter) put up their website for them. I’m going to assume it’s either because of the convenience of having someone on your team do it or because it’s more cost effective than hiring a website developer.
And it’s because of this that I feel compelled to express caution… As mentioned, VAs can play a vital role in a business operations, but in my experience, most who say they can do your website for you have either:
- a) Installed a pre-built WordPress theme or two and have figured out how to install plugins, making them think this is all they need to know to put up a website.
b) Got a buddy they will delegate the work to and make a profit off of the work done.
Sure, there could be more qualified virtual assistants who know a bit more than that, but think about it, if they knew enough to be a web developer, then I would question why are they doing VA work and not developing websites for a living?
So before you say “sure” to having a VA put up your website for you, here are some questions to ask them first:
- Can they prepare an in-depth target market analysis so that it’s clear on who your website needs to appeal to?
- Are they well versed with Branding and Graphic Design? Do they know how to properly optimize images on your site so they download quickly on slower Internet speeds and smart phones?
- Do they know what kind of layout design that would best suit your business and target market?
- Are they knowledgeable in SEO? (Not just knowing about keywords, but all of the aspects that come with building an SEO friendly website.)
- What do they know about programming? If something went wonky, would they know how to fix it? Can they do any customization to your website beyond what is provided in the purchased theme?
- Are they aware of what makes a website responsive so that it looks proper on smart phones and other devices?
- Do they understand fundamental copywriting principles when writing for the web?
- Do they study marketing? What is their education, experience and do they understand your industry well enough?
- Are they aware of all the different features and functionalities that could be used to best enhance your site or do they only know a select few plugins?
- Do they know other CMS platforms other than WordPress that might work better for your needs?
Building a website requires someone with knowledge far beyond simply being able to install a WordPress theme. And in actuality, it’s rare that a single person possesses all of the knowledge and expertise required to create a fully functioning website.
These necessary skill sets range from brand and user experience design (UED, UXD and information architecture design), to HTML/XHTML, CSS knowledge and ideally some programming, SEO expertise, copywriting skills, and of course, marketing know-how since your website is your central marketing piece of your business.
So before embarking on a website project, consider carefully all of the areas of expertise needed to create a successful website that is fully supporting your business and portraying it in a way that will attract your target market and convert them into buyers.
While having a website up is all that you think you need, the journey on how you get there is paramount to how functional and successful it will be. This is not the time to pass off this important component of your business to someone who is not fully qualified to do the work.
Instead, be actively involved in finding a qualified web developer or web development company to take you through the journey that will result in an excellent representation of your business and get you the results you’re wanting.