Monday, June 25, 2012

My Message to Professionals

As someone who is active in networking, social media, blogging and the genealogical community in general, I tend to frequently send referrals to many of my colleagues. The referrals are both for client research and speaking engagements.  There is one item that consistently stands in the way of my giving out referrals - the lack of a website.

Professionals must have an on-line presence!

In two instances recently, a networking encounter and a message through my blog from a professional researcher in Europe, both professionals had nothing to provide but a name and an email address. While I applaud the email address, the clients or organizations on the other end of my referral would feel more comfortable being able to see more information about a potential future consultant or speaker.  It's not that they don't trust me. They just want to make sure that their future business relationship is going to be a good fit.

Two suggestions for getting online:

1) Get a Weebly website

Getting online isn't hard and doesn't have to cost money. That's why professionals have no excuse for not doing it. Most internet providers such as Comcast or Verizon provide free pages to their customers.  An even easier option is to use a non-host dependent (just in case you later change providers) option called Weebly.  Weebly is easy to use and free, perfect for getting started online.  You don't to create a big complicated site.  Just a page or two that provides information about your services and contact information.

2) Representation on a professional society page

If a website is still not your cup of a tea, you are lucky to have a second option.  If you are truly a professional I'm assuming you have some sort of affiliation with a trade association such as the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG), the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG), the Genealogical Speakers Guild (GSG), the International Commission for the Certification of Genealogists (ICAPGen) or perhaps some other group more closely related to your niche.  All of these sites provide free profile pages where their members can list their contact information, services, experience and expertise. And the mere fact of affiliation with the organization(s) adds credibility to a professional's reputation.  If, as a professional, you choose not to have a website you should be including a link your association profile in all your email correspondence.

One of the simplest ways to increase your business or potential business is to have an online presence. Jump-start your business and get online today.

Photo credit: Photo by purpleslog and used under the creative commons license

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