When an event planner hears your name or receives a recommendation of you as a speaker, the first place he or she will look is online to find your website. When they arrive at your URL, greet that person with all the information they need.
Here’s a check list to help you build a great speaker website.
- Purchase the domain of your name with the extension .com. If your name is not available, try getting your name in .org or .net. Even if you have a ministry with a name, try to obtain your own name for your website, too. Your web manager can help you point them to each other. Speakers are typically known by their name so obtaining this domain is important. Remember the goal is for them to find you so the simplest website name is best.
- Choose colors, fonts, and graphics that fit your personality and message. If you are a strong and powerful non-nonsense speaker, then pink roses and China plates are probably not for you. If your speaking message is built around tea, then freely use flowers and beautiful table settings.
- Determine who fits your target market. Make a list: age, gender, spiritual condition, needs, and activities. My perfect audience is a woman 25-70 who is intelligent, active in church, and has an inner dream she may have abandoned. Answer the questions:
- What does she like?
- What does he dislike?
- What is the person’s biggest worry?
- What does he or she do for fun?
- What does she think she needs?
- What does she really need?
After you have defined your ideal audience member, design your website for that person.
- Hire a professional to design your website or use one of the user-friendly platforms available online. Whichever you choose, be sure you can personally update and make changes and corrections and additions to the site. When you need to make a change, you will not want to wait for weeks or months for your designer to get to it, and it may cost a lot for the services of the designer.
- Make your name and your photo should prominent on the upper half of the first page. I encourage you get current photos taken. Your photo shouldn’t be so old, the event planner won’t recognize you in the airport. Ask your photographer to take some action shots that will give your website energy. To eliminate paying royalties on the photos, obtain a written permission from the photographer releasing the copyright, which allows you to use your photos in any way you want to use them.
- Write a succinct tag line that describes your speaking style or topic. Make it short—7 words or less. Research all the stores and businesses around you to understand the rhythms, styles, and messages of tag lines.
- Write a welcome to your website visitors. This welcome should be on the first page. Make it short and in first person. Write conversationally. “Welcome to my website. I’m glad you dropped by ….” In this welcome statement, be sure to include what you will bring to their group when you come to speak. (laughter, deep Bible study, hope, encouragement, life-change etc.). Add your social media handles for each social media platform you have an account.
- Design an ABOUT ME page. Write a short biography. You can write this in first or third person. Don’t start when and where you were born. Instead, start the bio where you are today and write about anything that is relevant to speaking. What are you doing in ministry? Where have you spoken? What is your favorite speaking subject? What have you written? Why are you qualified to speak to groups? What message and what encouragement will you bring if they invite you.
Be sure to include information about your family and hobbies. (For safety reasons, don’t give too many details.) Add something fun and personal about you. On my site, I say, “In my spare time, I continue my life-long quest to find the perfect purse.” What is something fun about you, your life, your pets, your hobbies?
Remember you aren’t trying to impress anyone. You don’t need to tell everything you’ve ever done. This bio is about speaking and what qualifies you as a speaker. In fact, I’ve noticed long bios with too many details tend to show the inexperience of the speaker, and well known speakers usually have the shortest bios.
I received an invitation to write about myself for my high school reunion printed program. The invitation gave this plea: It would be nice if we all wrote something in our bios besides name, rank, and serial number. Let us hear about hobbies, travels, cancer survivors, something special that happened, where you worked, or where you were on 911. What is your favorite music? Who lived through a heart attack? Who served in the military? Who still has their parents? Who changed careers? Who played a professional sport? Who goes to church?
I’m not suggesting you give all that information on your website, but write your bio in the spirit of the request. What would an event planner and the people in your audience find interesting?
- Prepare a tab with your speaking topics. Each topic should have a good title which describes the presentation. Write a blurb about the presentation in a few sentences using this outline.
- Hook—make a statement or ask a question that will grab their attention and make them want to hear the presentation
- Content – tell what the presentation will be about
- Benefit – Show how the presentation will bring value to the audience. What will they learn or what action will they want to take because they heard your talk?
My friend calls this outline HOOK-LINE-THINKER. It is a perfect tool for writing a descriptive blurb.
- Include your contact information. I suggest you get a PO Box and describe your home location in non-specific terms as South Chicago or near Tampa rather than anything specific. Unfortunately, we live in a world with dangerous people and giving your home address might draw the attention of a stalker.
- Provide endorsements. Title it something like: “What others are saying about (your name).” Then list the endorsements you have received. If you don’t have many, begin now to collect endorsements from every speaking event. Endorsements may be shown in long detail with the full name and credentials of the person who wrote the endorsement, or you may choose to show short excerpts of the endorsements with first names and locations only. I prefer the short endorsements, but feel free to use the long ones if you like them better.
- Indicate the best way to contact you. The website platform will provide a form where any website visitor can email you but not see your email address. This safety feature will allow you to vet any inquires.
- Set up a lead magnet to collect email addresses. The lead magnet can be a pdf, ebook, tip-sheet, or a newsletter–or some other helpful information, which is automatically delivered to the website visitor when they sign up. The lead magnet should solve a problem for the visitor or give them a solution to a common situation. Include how-to guides, reports, checklists, key scriptures on a specific topic, etc. Design the lead magnet with interesting graphics and fonts. Consider hiring an artist to do the design. And proofread it well.
- Offer special tips or helps for meeting planners. Do you have ice-breaker games or decorating ideas? Let them know you are there to help the event planner be a success.
- Make a tab on your website that lists any extra take-away value. This could include a tab for books you’ve written. Be sure to include links to where purchases can be made—from your publisher, your inventory, or online. If you have a blog or podcast, add a tab for this important information, too.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the day of the static, unchanging website is dead. Your website needs regular updates—at least once each week, preferably every day and or even several times a day. Keep it active and interesting.
Question: How are you making your speaker or author website appealing to event planners or potential readers? I look forward to reading your comments