It was early on a Sunday afternoon when Nelly checked out her site stats. Seven.
Seven people visited her site. This week.
"Pathetic," was all she could think.
She put her heart and soul into selling her design work to get herself enough hard earned dinero to get "a pretty fly for a design gal" website.
They said I need a professional website, not a free one.
They said it would increase my perceived value.
They said it would make me shine online.
Depressed and contemplating whipping out her whiny bitch playlist full of Ben Folds Five music, she decides to check her emails.
Nelly clicks the link in her Spam folder thinking that maybe this isn't spam after all. She reads through the less than detailed message and ponders.
Maybe that's what I need! I mean we're in the effing 21st Century and everything has a "easy" button, right? I can just sell a couple more design projects and hire these people (or maybe not them) but an SEO company to help me bring the boys to my proverbial website yard. Yes, that's the ticket right there.
Months pass, Nelly is consistently getting 12 people to her a website a week.
Meh. Meh is all she can think to herself. 12 people isn't paying the bills and she is getting tired of hustling every month, but she knows there has to be an easier way.
She dives back into an SEO company search. She finds someone who will supe up her site with SEO words and hires them.
She rubs her hands together and pictures the hits and traffic just rolling up to her website's front door.
Weeks pass since the company with their "easy button" fix had finished their work. Nelly decides to dive in and see what her stats are now.
13. 13? 13... 13?
Nelly is getting enraged like a feral baby mama on the Maury Povich show. That SEO company was supposed to fix all of her website traffic problems.
She flops onto her bed and tears up.
"What do I have to do?" she moans to herself.
This is where it gets harder and easier all at the same time.
You see, Nelly needed the new website design because having a website that looks like it was designed by Crockett & Tubbs isn't the way to present yourself in the 21st century. And you can't be having the "Miami Vice" theme song playing when someone pops on your site and expect them to want to stay... especially if they be clicking in the office at work. The professional, music-free website was step one and definitely a necessity.
What would happen to Nelly's street cred as a professional designer if they came to some fugly website? Her street cred would be DOA like Philip Michael Thomas' career. But where Nelly didn't get it was thinking that if she had her pimped out website built that it would mean people would come.
Sorry, but it doesn't work that way. And you can't pay anyone to build your business for you.
See, getting the website is easy part, but building the traffic and interest in your company is the part where you got to "Work Bitch".
You could hire an SEO company to sprinkle keywords on your site and you might be lucky to get a few hits. You could pay someone to blog for you, but it won't ever sound exactly like you and people smell that like a shark knows the waters are being chummed.
It boils down to get the new website first to keep the traffic you start building for yourself second.
I could design the most beautiful website and if you don't sell yourself or share your knowledge in a blog or communicate with people in social media or stop hiding behind the monitor, the new website design might just turn into a dusty sign post where your business could shine.
Alycia Wicker is a business coach for creative entrepreneurs. Her clients land more of their own dream clients and make more cash, period. Celebrity gossip whore. Elvis-obsessed.