What we cover:
More About Whitney
Whitney is a dietitian-turned-digital marketer, on a mission to help dietitians connect with their customers and grow their businesses. With the unique ability to distill complex technical information into informative, fun-to-talk-about (seriously!) insights, Whitney helps other dietitians harness the power of design and technology to confidently pursue their entrepreneurial dreams.
She and her team have launched over 20 website design projects and consulted for numerous businesses and dietitian entrepreneurs who are seeking to better connect with their customers through marketing. Formerly based in Washington, DC, Whitney now travels the world as a digital nomad and supports her clients from home offices, cafes, and workspaces globally.
Connect with Whitney
Whitney’s Dietitian Marketing Guide
Episode 022 show notes
- Check out my FREE Facebook group – The Unconventional RD Community
- My 3 online courses – The Unconventional RD Business Bootcamp
- FREE Start a Website Tutorial
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Links from the episode
- Do What You Are (affiliate link)
- Remote Year program
- WPForms (contact form plugin)
- Divi (affiliate link)
- Google analytics
- Google search console
Read the transcript
Welcome to The Unconventional RD podcast, where we inspire dietitians to think outside of the traditional employment box and create their own unconventional income stream. We’ll talk all things online business to help you start, grow, and scale your own digital empire.
What to expect from this episode
This week on the podcast I’ve got Whitney Bateson. She is a dietitian turned digital marketer. She was a dietitian and has now transitioned into helping other dietitians get beautiful and functional websites set up. So she can help you with all things website-related and she’s just a wealth of knowledge.
I had her on today to talk about the five biggest “mistakes” or things that people just aren’t quite doing right on their websites usually because they just don’t know any better. So I wanted to shed some light on this topic today and have Whitney guide us through some of the biggest kind of branding or marketing or just technical related things that dietitians are often, um, doing a little wrong on their websites when they first start out.
So I think you’re going to learn a lot today and walk away with a lot of actionable tips. Like after listening to this, you can totally go back to your own website and be like, Oh, am I doing any of these things? And then make, um, make it an intention to work on that moving forward. So let’s dive into today’s episode.
Introduction to Whitney Bateson
Erica: Hi Whitney. I am so stoked to have you on the podcast today. So thank you for being here.
Whitney: Yes, I’m excited to be here too.
Erica: For those of you who aren’t familiar with Whitney, she is a fellow RD turned web designer slash digital strategist who is currently traveling the world while running her business. I mean, granted, with the times that we’re in, she’s not traveling right now, but like, she’s living the nomadic lifestyle.
So I think I’m just obsessed with that career pivot into something kind of different, but still serving RDs because I feel like I connect with that a lot. Um, and I think your lifestyle, so many people are curious about that and maybe have aspirations to do something similar. So I kind of want to touch on all those things.
But yeah, today Whitney is going to share with us some of the biggest mistakes she sees people making on their websites and some suggestions for what to do instead. So trying to make this really actionable with some take home things that you can go back to your own website and be like, Hey, am I accidentally doing this? Oh, I can put this on my to do list of things to tweak in the future. So thank you for sharing all of your knowledge with us.
How Whitney Started in Dietetics and How She Pivoted
Erica: So before we get into all that, I’d like to get your backstory. So can you share with us like how you got into dietetics and maybe what led you to pivot your career?
Whitney: Yeah, absolutely. Uh, so I’m sure, uh, every dietician has their own interesting like winding road and mine is equally windy, I think, probably. So, uh, I was interested in science growing up, but I was also really interested in art. Uh, but I didn’t think that you could make like a real career out of art and design.
So it was like, Oh, I’ll do the sciences and uh, learn pretty early on freshman year that, you know, becoming a doctor was definitely not something I wanted to do. Uh, but did take an intro nutrition class and just saw how, you know, it’s really cool how food can impact someone’s body. Just like the science of it was really interesting.
So, um, I went into that but I really wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. So in, um, my internship, I explored a lot of different things and came across school nutrition and policy and uh, so I ended up like really long story short being a school nutrition dietitian in Washington DC and uh, did that for a couple years.
And what was really great is I was able to do a lot of different things and explore all those other talents that I had that were kind of hiding deep inside. So, um, just learning about the power of communication and good visual appeal, like all of the trainings I developed even for our food service workers, I made sure it looked really good and professional because they were going to respect them a lot more if they came off as being, you know, well designed basically.
Um, so I saw that opportunity, um, as I was continuing through my career, I was in school nutrition for almost 10 years and um, I just wanted to do something else but I couldn’t really figure out what I wanted to do and I, uh, came across this book, Do What You Are and did some of the assessments there and identified that I’m really most happy when I’m training people and also learning about new technologies and doing design.
But I still really was passionate about dietitians. So anyway, that’s uh, yeah, that’s how I got into dietetics and then that’s kind of how I got to where I am right now.
Erica: That sounds like a really good book. I have to check that out. Yeah. I feel like that is something that sometimes gets glossed over. Um, when people start their careers, like taking a moment to think about what they actually just inherently are good at and enjoy and make sure that’s getting woven in there.
Was the transition out of school nutrition into something else scary? Like what did that look like?
Whitney: Oh, it was so scary. Um, I so, you know, I sat on the idea of becoming an entrepreneur for probably like a year and a half to two years and also rolled the idea of my business around in my head a bunch, talked to a lot of different people. It wasn’t like this light bulb moment one day. I mean, it was in the sense of knowing all my passions, but I didn’t know what that meant. Uh, went to a lot of meetups, talked to a lot of people and um, eventually I did decide like, okay, I think I need to quit my job and start a business and do this.
And, um, I ended up talking a friend and she recommended her business coach and my first business coaching call, I sent my email to my boss saying we’ve got to talk, which basically was my symbolic, you know, quitting. I didn’t like quit, but I did quit on my first coaching call. So, um, I would attribute my business coach and the support from her and from just fellow dietitian entrepreneurs, um, as being like one of the biggest things to helping me through all of it.
Um, because yeah, it’s, it’s scary. There’s just so many things I wish I could remember, you know, all the feelings I felt, but it was just a lot of like self-doubt. And is this the right thing and why is someone giving me, you know, the reins to do this? I don’t know how to build a business. Why are they allowing me to do this? But you know, here we are.
Erica: That’s awesome. And did you kind of just jump off and like quit your job and then hope that you’d get clients or did you have people lined up or like how did you make that transition financially?
Whitney: Yeah, I, I had some money saved up, but of course I was like, well, I do not want to spend my savings and I am not going to fail. So that money was like symbolically there, but it was like I’m not spending that money. Um, so I had started talking to some people within my network, uh, and I had like very small amount of clients, but I did have a few clients and I was starting to like drum up leads and working with my business coach. I worked with her for, I had a very long lead time on leaving my job. I gave them three months notice. So during that time I was um, starting to build my businesses name, doing networking and connecting with people.
For the first month there was a month where I had to do like three moneymaking activities every day and it was basically posting on social media or being social in some way, uh, reaching out to a lead or following up on a lead, and contacting someone within my network. So I would call people that I knew and I physically had to call them. And it was really scary to do that because no one talks on the phone anymore. Um, but it really worked really well.
Erica: Do you have any advice for people who might be listening and be thinking about switching maybe out of nutrition specific work and into something kind of tangentially related? Like what helped you with that? Did you find like mentors or, I don’t know. Any advice?
Whitney: Yeah, I, you know, it was interesting because my resume read dietitian, you know, and I really wanted to make the jump into marketing before I knew that I wanted to start my business. I knew I wanted to move into being in communications or marketing or something like that. And I just like, you know, how do I make that happen?
And some of the advice was to, you know, you can do some volunteer work that’s going to give you that opportunity. You know, there’s a lot of dietetic practice groups where you can be the media chair, you can do some volunteer work and get those things on your resume, taking some trainings and things like that.
Um, but also I think talking to people, you know, I think they say like, look at someone who’s in the spot where you want to be, and just ask them how they got there. Look at their, their resume and see how they moved forward. Because it’s not always just this one big step. But I would also say like, just create the opportunity. So, you know, fortunately, or unfortunately in my case, I just didn’t feel that I would find a job that I wanted to do.
And I also just didn’t know how many people would hire me in a marketing role and to not be a dietitian anymore. So I was just like, well, I’m just going to create the opportunity myself. So, you know, there’s no shame in that too. And just saying like, you know what, that’s, that’s what I’m going to do.
Um, but I went to a lot of meetups. Like I said, I did educate myself on WordPress and development and, um, I think even when I was finishing, I was finishing up my masters, uh, and I took some marketing classes and things like that. So I think it’s, it’s a balance, you know, you don’t want to spend too much time educating yourself and getting all these certifications and thinking, well, I just, I need to be an expert because everyone, you’re going to continue to learn. You can’t possibly learn everything that you’re going to encounter. Um, so you do have to make that jump eventually, but it is nice to educate yourself because you can also learn about, Oh, I actually want to go into that specific area that you didn’t know about.
Erica: Yeah, I think there’s like this weird fear from people that like, there’s some like boogeyman out there who’s going to come out and be like, you don’t actually know enough, like, you know what I mean? But that doesn’t happen. I know I felt that myself too. Like I feel like I leaned on my nutrition degree, even, as something that gives me authority.
Like I actually wanted to be a food blogger and then I only went back to school to be a dietitian because I thought it would give me more authority. So like I have this habit of like leaning on credentials. And then I got that and now here I am pivoting into like, you know, something completely different.
But yeah, I mean like you said, just doing your best and just being honest about where you are and not like acting like you know everything when you don’t because people will understand like everyone starts somewhere, right?
But honestly, there is nothing that you encounter. And I think that’s like a big piece of confidence that everyone can take away with them. It’s like there’s no, there’s not going to be like any technical challenge that you can’t solve, but like you just Google it, like, yeah, figure it out. Problem solving is such an undervalued and such an important skill when it comes to it, you know, any place in your career, but certainly when you’re trying to go into a new field, um, and don’t feel, oh, there’s some magic cult of people that know everything. No, they’re just Googling too.
More About Whitney’s Current Business
Erica: I love that. That really, really helps because I totally agree. I pretty much live on Google every day. So for the people listening, can you share more about your current business? Like what you specifically do you do for other dietitians and how do you help them?
Whitney: Yeah, absolutely. So a lot of what we do is website design for dietitians because that’s just like a very tangible thing that every business needs. Um, it can be really stressful when you’re starting out or when you’re, you know, you have a running business and you want to redo your website or something. It can really be a time suck and attention suck.
And, um, there’s a lot of designers out there, you know, I’m not pretending that it’s like, Oh well I have, you know, the only company out there. But what we kind of try and tailor to is we do focus on dietitians and nutrition health businesses and that we understand more about your customers and um, can just have a more, I guess, strategic conversation.
Uh, I’ve seen a lot of websites that unfortunately, you know, that have, just like the web designer was like, Oh, you’re a dietitian, I’m going to slap lots of stock photography photos of food, you know, all across the website. And we all know that there’s so much more to what we do than just a tape measure around an apple. Uh, so a lot of what we do is website design and strategy and review.
Uh, we do also work on just marketing strategy, helping the keyword research and optimizing websites and um, yeah, and you know, graphic design, all the stuff that comes with building a great brand and website. And then we also have some larger clients that we do consulting for as well in the school nutrition realm. So I still have my foot in the school nutrition realm too and do some marketing, um, training and coaching for that area.
Erica: Yeah, I think from my perspective, it’s like I pretty much believe that everyone who’s trying to go into business for themselves, especially if you’re doing an online business, you, you kind of need a website and you have just kind of two options. It’s like time or money.
So if you have no money, then absolutely you can hodgepodge something together on your own. It’s probably not going to be the best, but it will get your foot out, like your foot in the door and then you can upgrade later when you have money coming in.
Or maybe you’re doing really well and you have the money and you’re like, I do not want to spend a one second of time on my website and then you can, you can make the choice to hire someone straight out the gate. So that’s kind of how I see it. What do you think?
Whitney: I, I completely agree. My favorite clients are the ones who have been in business for a couple months to a year.
They had a website that they’ve been working off of or they don’t have a website. They’ve been just generating those leads. And it’s been fine. And now they’re really clear on who their customer is and really clear on their service offerings and the, the position of their business. And so we can really like take that and come up with like a really great website based off of that.
Um, it’s a lot tougher when you’re just starting out and you’re not sure about your niche or who your target customer is or what your service offerings are because we’re going to hit you with all those questions. You know, what, what’s your customer conversion path? You know, are you planning to have discovery calls? How many services, what, you know, like what’s your process? So those are all questions that are going to come up and it can be tough when you’re just starting out.
So I agree. I think getting, um, a simple website up is, is great. It’s a great way to kind of like test, test your positioning, test your service offerings. Because really when any business is starting out, it’s really about talking with clients and customers and testing the market and seeing how they’re doing and not spending time behind your computer, like perfecting your logo, perfecting, you know, your website. Like those things are important, but you can spend a lot of time doing that instead of, you know, connecting with people.
Whitney: Whether you get that, get to that point where you’re like, Oh yeah, I have like a process and I know exactly how I’m going to attract more leads and now it’s ready for, you know, a great website, um, designed by someone else. Whether you get there in a month or six months or a year, you know, it really, it varies. There’s no right answer. But, um, yeah.
Erica: Can you share what like ballpark, like the investment is for getting a website professionally?
Whitney: Yeah, so our packages, um, start around $4,800. Um, and we’ll go up from there depending on if we’re adding a lot more features. Um, if we’re adding in logo services and things like that, um, depending, I, I will talk to people if, and that’s about for a five page website plus blog and some internal pages and things like that.
Um, if it’s a good fit, I’m open to doing like a three page website or a one page scrolling like an MVP. Um, and that could be a great option for people if you want to still, we build all WordPress, so you want to have a WordPress site and you want to have something that can grow and you’re willing to make that investment, but maybe you’re just not sure you actually have enough content, enough clarity to build out five full pages. So, um, those are some things that, you know, I can work with people and, and talk about too.
But yeah, you know, it’s, it’s definitely an investment. It’s not for everyone. Um, but you know, it’s also one of those things you budget for and when the time is right, It’s a good investment. So, yeah, totally. I, I did mine all myself, but now I’m actually busy.
Erica: Yeah. I look at my site and I’m like, Oh man, there’s so much I want to upgrade. So I think I’m finally at that point where I’m like, okay, then next time I revamp it, I’m probably going to have someone else do it. Not that I can’t do it, I just realized that’s not the best use of my time right now.
Whitney: And that’s honestly, that’s like the mantra of the entrepreneur in general. It’s like, it’s not that you can’t do it and that you’re not going to do a good job. I’m sure that you’re going to do a good job.
And the same thing like, I have, I’ve expanded my team over the past year and there are so many things that I have them do and sometimes it hurts me inside because I’m like, Oh man, I’m paying her to format my newsletter right now. I could totally do that. That’s costing me like $40. But it’s like, that’s not a good use of your time. And it’s, it’s something that, you know, I have to still remind myself, even though I’ve been doing that for, for over a year now. Um, but it’s so true, like your time is, is valuable and you need to do it like doing your core competencies.
Erica: So true. Even with this podcast, like I’m outsourcing a lot of it, like the editing stuff and the transcripts and things like that and the graphics and I’m like, yeah, it was a, it was weird to like commit to that, but it was a good, it was the right choice.
Whitney: Yeah. Yep. For sure. Otherwise, this podcast would still be kind of a nice hobby idea in your head or something like that and yeah.
Erica: Or take up all of my time. Yeah.
Whitney: Yeah. It would be launched, but then, then that would be it.
Erica: Yeah. I mean I like, I like the creating of the content and talking to people, but then there is more work on the backend, by far, than there is with just the one hour of talking to somebody. So I’ll happily outsource that so that I can still run my business. Yeah.
Whitney: Yeah. And I did the same, you know, I used to build and design all of the websites, um, that we produced, you know, myself. And then I documented the process and now I have developer who does the build and designer who does the designs.
And it’s not that I can’t do it, I’ve done it in the past, but, uh, there’s no way I could keep growing my business if I didn’t have other people doing those, those things.
Erica: So that’s really inspirational. That’s like goals for me in the long run.
Whitney: Yeah. Well, you know what? Like, so part of my, you know, the reason I’m like traveling, I did this program called remote year and that’s what got me kind of, we didn’t even talk about me traveling, but yeah. So I traveled for a while and I traveled with a group of 33 other digital nomads and I ended up hiring, I mean, various ones throughout the year.
But, uh, there are three who are on my team who are regularly working with me. And I remember I was in month two of my program. It was probably like, I don’t know, maybe three or four full months really in my business. And I was already just like, I can’t do this all myself, but I was terrified to hire someone and I did the numbers and I was just like, it does not make sense for me to not hire it out. Um, and, and bring on some people to help. So it can happen sooner than you expect and you can find little things here and there.
Um, and, uh, I think the biggest advice I have is to document things that are repeatable and just kind of start building your SOP. Like I just do that for myself anyway, even if I’m not, you know, if there’s something that I’m repeating, I make sure that I do it the same way every time. So, but anyway, yeah, it’s, it’s been fun to grow the team.
And I think the other advice I’ll give to people too is, you know, you have that feeling like my business is named after me. So I was worried that people would be like, well, I only want my webpage mockups done by Whitney. And you know, that has not come up. You know, I’m still heavily involved in the process and I think that’s just something to remember too.
Obviously, if you’re counseling people one on one, I totally get that people may want to hire you, but there’s a way to position that you’re, you know, a group counseling practice and make people feel, feel good about working with your entire team. Um, but just remember too that you are important in your business, but people don’t necessarily need you to be doing everything.
How Whitney Runs Her Business While Traveling the World
Erica: That was so well said. Couldn’t have said it better. So I guess you’re right, we didn’t talk about you traveling yet. So can we talk about that before we get into the website stuff? Like what made you want to just like run a nomadic business? Like where did that idea even come from? Is it really feasible?
Whitney: Yeah, it’s um, sometimes it’s more challenging than, than other times. But, um, that time when I was transitioning out of my old job and starting this business, I had already booked a trip to Bali and I went there for a week and it was through a group travel program and I came back and I was like, man, I just feel so much more alive when I’m in these like really beautiful locations.
I had been working from home for seven years. Um, at that point I got really like used to my routines and you know, all that kind of stuff. And, uh, but I was like, man, I think I, I’d actually do better like building my business and connecting with the other people if I was in some other inspiring locations. And I had been living in DC for over 10 years and had been thinking about where to go, but didn’t know where to go really.
And so remote year was this thing that came up. It was an Instagram ad. So Instagram ads do work and, uh, I researched a little bit more and basically it was this program, you go for a year, they organize everything for you. Um, because at that point I really did not want to deal with any logistics.
Um, so they handle the flights between countries. You go to one country, a new country every month for a year, and you stick with the same group of people. And like I mentioned, not, not all of them are entrepreneurs, a lot of them have jobs or are thinking about what their next step is. But, um, yeah, I just, I couldn’t think of enough reasons, there weren’t any reasons to not do it.
My business was going to be virtual anyway. Um, I’ve never, you know, I’ve only met my clients in person because they were friends and I knew them or saw them at a conference. I’ve never had to see them in person. So there was no point in me being in DC or anywhere in the United States, frankly. And, um, yeah, I just couldn’t think of a reason not to do it.
So, um, it was hard preparing for it. I had a to do list that was three months planned out. Um, there was a prep course that I took that was really good that helped me prepare. Um, and you know, being on the road was a shock to the system. Obviously I’m going to a new country every month. We went to a new major time zone, like every three or four months. Asia was hard. I spent some time in Australia that was pretty hard. Um, but you know, looking back like I, it was the best choice I could have made it.
It made me form more connections with people. Um, I did expand my, my business to, to hire on contractors. I’m not sure I would’ve done that. Um, otherwise I have a huge network of people. I was able to, um, connect with developers and UX designers that also do work for me, videographers. Um, so it was also just really great professionally.
Um, and then at the end of it, I, it was really like, okay, I think I want to go back to DC and, and then just, uh, yeah. Then I decided not to. So I stopped back in the US for the holidays and then decided to keep going. So, um, amidst all the craziness that’s happening right now, I am out of the country, I’m in Mauritius, which is a small island country in the Indian ocean. And, um, that’s where I’m, it’s sitting right now. Yeah.
Erica: Wow. I mean, I, it’s so inspirational that you just like went out and did it, you know? Like, I feel I would probably overthink it, you know? But yeah, my sister is kind of like you where she like travels all the time. She lives in Switzerland now.
Erica: Yeah. Well she got married and so she’s living there permanently now, but they travel all the time and I’m like, okay, I need to like up my travel game.
Whitney: I never would have pegged myself as this person at all. Like, I really loved my routines in DC and staying at home and, you know, but I, I, I think I needed to shock my system honestly, to get myself to grow.
And, um, yeah, I will say that if anyone ever has questions or needs advice, if they ever do want to do something like this, like I am always open to share cause it’s like, it’s, I like to be very honest that it was very difficult. It was one of the most difficult things. It’s still difficult, but it’s also extremely rewarding. So, um, I never want to gloss over it and say like, Oh, it’s super easy and you know, just this digital nomad flitting around the globe.
Like it’s hard. But, um, yeah.
Erica: So, yeah, but it’s so cool that you created this like opportunity for yourself. Like you pivoted out of what you were doing and created something that could go anywhere with you. So cool.
Whitney: Yeah. Thanks. Yeah. And I think, you know, other, other dietitians, um, you can certain certainly counsel people from wherever if you’re working virtually or if you’re doing consulting. Uh, you know, and one of the things, I know my dad, he’s a little old school, he was like, well, what are you going to tell your clients and are they going to be upset that you’re not in the country?
And no, you just have to own it and tell people, you know, this, this is when I schedule calls and, uh, you set those boundaries for yourself. You still provide excellent customer service. Um, but you, you know, don’t let the fact that you’re just deciding to live your life a little bit differently, um, impact or impede you from serving your clients.
They’re going to be fine. They, they hired you to work with you and they’re going to be happy that you’re living the life that you want to lead. So, um, just keep that in mind too, that if, if that’s a concern that’s holding you back, your clients are probably actually going to be cheering you on.
Erica: That’s really, really reassuring.
The 5 Most Common Website Mistakes Dietitians Make
Erica: Okay. I think I’m ready to get into website stuff.
Okay. So from your perspective, like with all of the experience that you have, kind of looking at people’s websites or helping them develop their website from the beginning, what are like, let’s say maybe like the five most common mistakes or like things that could be improved that you see dietitians doing on their website?
And that could be from a technical perspective or even like a branding or marketing perspective. So I’m going to let you kind of take it from here with like your list.
#1: Not having a call to action on every page
Whitney: So I think my first piece that I, yeah, I have like strong feelings, all of these. Um, the first one is a lack of clear calls to action on every page.
Because we really need to tell people what to do next if they land on our homepage. So that’s, you know, definitely the homepage. We need to have at least a few calls to action. I mean, a button somewhere that’s sending people somewhere.
A link that’s hyperlinked is usually not going to be as visible. So we need to make it really clear, telling them what to do, inviting them what to do, uh, whether that’s, you know, above the fold at the top of the page to connect, review to learn more, uh, book a discovery call, midway through you’ve got your services and you know, link to learn more about your services button there. And then at the bottom, um, another place for a call to action to get in touch or just schedule a call.
And that’s really to make it easy for people to connect with you because you never know at what point on your homepage when they’re scrolling that they’re going to decide, Oh, I want to learn more. And if you, you don’t have anywhere except you’re relying maybe on your contact in your navigation somewhere or button that’s at the top, um, by the time they get to the bottom, maybe they’re ready to go to the take the next step, but that button’s no longer there. It’s, it’s somewhere else.
Erica: Yeah, and especially how so many people go to websites on their phones now and like a lot of themes, the menu becomes like this little dropdown and so it’s not sitting there super obvious. So yeah, that’s a really good point.
Whitney: Yeah. Yeah. Your menu bar is really just like a nice thing to have, but don’t expect people to look at it. I almost, unless I’m buying software and I immediately want to look at their pricing, you know, that’s, that’s when I click. But otherwise I’m kind of, your website is a journey for people and you want to lead them through your site.
And um, so having these different calls to action on all the different pages is kind of showing them, you know, you’re like inviting them into your home a little bit and you’re like, okay, you know, uh, come and learn more about me. And then once they come to your about page, okay, you know what? Now I want to show you more about my services and then on the services page, maybe if you’ve got a portfolio page. Okay. Now I want to tell you a little bit about what I do here. And then once they get to your portfolio page, maybe it’s time for them to, you know, uh, move to the next step and, and set up a call or something like that.
Um, now we can’t ever predict how people are going to move through our sites and you have to kind of be ready on each page to, to get people to move closer down your funnel to, to make that connection. But yeah, I think that one of the things that is lacking on a lot of websites, even like the about page, it’s put your information there, but don’t forget to put a call to action. Maybe it’s not to book a call, maybe it is just to go to your services page or your blog anywhere.
Invite them to learn more and go somewhere else because otherwise they’re going to to the bottom of the page and then they have to fend for themselves.
Erica: So I love that. That’s a really, really good advice. And I feel like that’s something that, I don’t know, it sounds so obvious once you say it, but then you like go to your website and you’re like, oh my gosh, I’m totally not doing that.
Whitney: Yeah, yeah. Just whatever our frame of mind was when we were building our website, which sometimes we look back and we’re like, what was I thinking? Um, but you know what, it’s, it’s good, so this is a good opportunity if you’re listening to the podcast, this is one of your first action items to uh, write down, you know?
To go in and check each page out and just see if there is a call to action. And again, a call to action is inviting people to learn more and go to another page on your site or to connect with you in some way. Um, cause yeah, it can just be overlooked when we’re focusing on building out all the content and all of that.
#2: Not mentioning your services on your homepage
Um, so yeah, so that’s my first one. Um, then the next thing, and I was talking about the homepage before, the big thing is not having your services succinctly laid out on your homepage. There have been actually a lot of sites that I’ve been on where it’s, it’s beautifully designed, it looks great. Um, but it doesn’t actually say what that dietitian is selling.
And, um, I know that sometimes we feel, well we don’t want to be too upfront and too salesy or pushy, but people are coming to your site because they want to learn more about you and in theory they want to work with you. And so it’s really important to be very clear with them about this is how you work with me and this is what I do.
Um, and I would, and I mentioned succinct too, because sometimes it can be like a really long list of everything and that could potentially be too much for someone to sort through a visitor to sort through. So, uh, succinct services on the homepage is number one.
Erica: Yeah and that makes me think, cause I’m thinking about how people will get to most of my website stuff. Since I do a lot of focus on SEO and blogging, the majority of people aren’t just like finding my homepage because they’re not like Googling me, necessarily, they’re Googling a problem and then I maybe have a piece of content that addresses that and then they find it and then if they really like it, the next thing they usually click on is the home page.
So you know, you do want that. Like they’re like, Oh, what is this website I landed on? And then they’ll click the logo or whatever to just go back to the homepage to figure out where they are. And that’s such a golden opportunity, I think, to just make sure you’re being clear on exactly what it is that you do.
So yeah, that’s something you might not know in the beginning, which is fine, but as you get clarity, don’t forget to go back and update your home page.
Whitney: Yes, Yes, for sure. You know, I definitely started my website thinking I was going to do all these different things and ended up not doing, you know, half of them.
And that’s kind of the point is you let the market kind of tell you what, what are the services because people are going to start hiring you for more things than others. And that’s how, you know, Okay. But yeah, that’s a good point. It’s okay if it’s, you know, still trying to be succinct, but it’s okay if it’s kind of a lot of stuff to start or maybe not exactly, and then keep going back and updating it.
Erica: Yeah. Like I think for the unconventional RD when I started, it was just like “a space for dieticians interested in passive and alternative income.” And then as I got more clarity, it became more like turn your blog into a business. Make money online. It got more honed as to what I was even trying to talk about or do. And that was just a natural progression. But you gotta start somewhere.
Whitney: Yes, you certainly do. And it’s totally fine. I mean I even tell my website clients cause we, we go through a training, we do a screen share and show them how to update copy and you know, they give us their copy to start and I say, you know, we do want this to be at least from enough for, for us to design around. But as you go, you are going to change your mission statement. You are going to change your calls to action. Um, that’s totally fine. And that’s expected because you’re right, like your business grows, you know, you’re, you’re learning. You should be learning the entire time that you are in your business.
It’s not just about like serving your customers, it’s learning how to do business better and every interaction is an opportunity to learn. And so you should be funneling that learning back into your marketing and your positioning and all of that.
Erica: Yeah. And sometimes I think as the business owner, you’re so in it that you’re like, Oh duh, this is what I do. But then sometimes you need like a, someone who doesn’t know anything about you, to come look at your, your website, your homepage. And be like, is it really clear? Like I know it’s probably clear to you, but could it be better? Maybe.
Whitney: Yeah. And that’s a good idea to have, you know, someone who isn’t so familiar or kind to ask those hard questions.
#3: Talk to your customer, not about yourself
Whitney: Um, so then another thing I would say, uh, that I see sometimes is a big focus on talking about yourself rather than talking about your customer. Um, and it, it is really helpful for people to get to know you. You do want to kind of have your personality shine through, but you, you get people to know you through like just well-written copy.
Um, that shows that you get your customer and you can also have a good about page, have blogs and content. Um, but if your home and services pages are like long lists of philosophies and histories of how you got into this and why you do it and all of your beliefs, um, you’re still a lot of noise. Quite frankly.
Like you’re, you’re still just talking about yourself. People are going to connect with you when they feel you know them. And the only way that you can prove that you know them is by talking about them and describing their problems, their goals, um, and describing them, that’s how they’re going to say, Oh yeah, okay, now I want to work with him or her because they’re speaking directly to me.
If you’re still just kind of like talking about yourself and how you feel, you’re never really letting them into the conversation.
Erica: Ah, that’s so good. It’s so good. And I agree. If I was coming up with a list of things like that, people accidentally do wrong, that would probably be on my list too. Like for sure I’ve made that mistake on all of my websites.
Yeah. But then once you shift it, you’re like, Oh duh. Like it’s so much better now. But it’s not necessarily intuitive. Like cause it’s your website. So your default is to be like, Oh well obviously I’m going to talk about myself, but you have to shift it to be like, it’s not really actually about you. Like someone’s coming to your website to see how you can help them.
Whitney: Right, exactly. And it can be like super simple instead of being like, I believe everyone needs to, you know, feel good about their bodies. Like you can just be like, you deserve to feel good about your body. Like, you know?
It’s just, I mean obviously it should be better than that, but it can be as simple as a shift and also being, uh, less verbose about it too. I think, you know, especially you mentioned people are on their phones, they’re scrolling through websites really quickly. So if you have paragraphs and paragraphs, uh, getting to the point, you just need to really get that a lot more short.
Erica: Yes, I talk about that a lot in my SEO course. Not so much in the context of like your about page or whatever, but even just in your blog, like it’s not really best practice. We’re so used to writing papers in school and then we take that and we put that on our blogs and it’s, that’s just not the way. It needs to be, skimmable, quick, like no longer than three lines per paragraph.
Whitney: Yeah, yeah. It’s tough. And that kind of writing is a lot harder than writing very robustly. Yeah. Um, yeah.
#4: Poorly optimized contact forms
So, and then another thing, so kind of pivoting from copy and stuff. Another thing that I’ve known as I don’t hear people talk a lot about is um, like poorly optimized contact forms. And what I mean by optimized is just, you know, the, the native contact form that you build on a site is just going to say like name, email and message. And a lot of people have that and that’s what they leave on their site the whole time.
And you know, you may have your site in a way that you want people to go to your booking calendar and connect with you, but you may have some people that still come to your contact or you’re sending them to your contact form instead of booking a call, which is perfectly fine if that’s how you want to do your business. Um, so instead make that form like meaty, like people want to have as much like invested as you.
And so if you’re investing with learning about them and asking them these questions in advance, they’re also going to feel that you care about their problems. Um, and I think also it, it kind of guides them. So you don’t want there to be a lot of friction for people to get in touch with you. And so a really open-ended contact form. Like, what am I, what do you even want me to say? You know? Like, you, uh, you know, like have people guide them.
You know, I would say though, if you’re talking about scheduling calls, I would definitely go with a calendar. I would, it like makes my blood boil to think that I would have to go back and forth finding a time to schedule a call with someone.
Like if the first step is for us to schedule a call, I want to be able to book that call. Um, but otherwise if you are, you know, maybe a speaker or a consultant and it’s really more about gathering that upfront information, make that form really clear so that they can say, okay, she knows she or he knows what she’s talking about, um, is asking the right questions and it’s helping them like go through it as opposed to just this blank slate that they don’t even know. Well, what do you even want to know? Um,I think you’re going to get higher quality leads that way too.
Erica: That’s really good advice. I don’t think, I mean I don’t really work with people one-on-one these days, so it’s not something I think about very much, but that is an amazing point and I can see just instantly how that would improve the, just even the communication that you have initially with them cause you already know some stuff about them. So, yeah. Do you have any tools or anything that you recommend for making the contact form or scheduling tools?
Whitney: Yeah, so I love Dubsado. Um, it’s D U B S A D O. It’s a little weird. Um, and it’s really, it’s a CRM, it’s client relationship management platform. So I use it for um, my proposals, my lead form, my contact form on my website. Um, it does have a scheduler, which I am going to start using. I use acuity right now, but it’s built in there. Then I can also send proposals out that way. Invoice people, get contracts signed and collect payments there. So it really does a lot and you can embed the form onto your page. You can embed the schedule onto your page.
Uh, so, and then for people, if you’re doing tele-health, uh, I think always using a platform is going to be better than piecemealing it together. It’s going to come off more professionally. When I launched Dubsado is one of the first things that I did in my business before I even really had enough clients to feel like, Oh, this, you know, I need, I need to do this.
But it really, it, it comes off professionally and it makes the process much, much better. But you can also just use the native contact form in WordPress, if that’s how you’re getting started. Just add more question fields. You know, I, I think you use Divi. I use Divi on most of the websites that I build. Um, and you can just keep adding different questions to the contact form.
Erica: And there’s other, like if you’re using, if your theme doesn’t have a built-in contact form, there’s plugins and stuff that you can use. So yeah. Maybe I’ll put some in the show notes for people if they need that. Um, cause yeah, I think the default, sometimes it’s not very attractive, but it depends on your theme a lot too.
#5: Not optimizing for search engines (SEO)
Whitney: So. Yeah. And so my final, my final, I know we’re like close on time. My final like thing, and this is, you’re going to like, you know, the website’s not optimized for SEO.
Um, I know you talk a lot about SEO, um, and there’s, as you know, you can create a whole course about it. You can either spend a lot of time doing it or you can just do the basics. And that’s, I think for me, I think if you’re going to start a website, at least do the basics, connect it to search, Google search console and analytics.
It’s not so much for SEO, but do those things, make sure the site is indexed and make sure that you’ve optimized the pages for those keywords just so that when you’re appearing in search engines like A) that you are appearing in search engines and then B) when you show up in a search engine, it looks professional, it speaks to your target customer with the meta description and the title of your site.
Um, those are just like little things that can really pay off dividends, you know?
Erica: Yeah, that’s sort of a question that comes up in my course too. Like especially for people who maybe do run an in person private practice for example, and are not doing a lot of content marketing. I actually added this year a whole section on local SEO for that exact reason.
Um, but yeah, like make a Google My Business account. Like get that up and going and yeah, you’re right. Like I even show in the course, like some examples of, you know, whatever city you’re in, Google your city and then dietitian and like who’s there? And like guaranteed, the people at the top, like in their search result it says those exact words like blah, blah, blah, city dietitian. And that’s intentional.
Whiteny: Yes, exactly. You can. And that’s, I mean that’s great advice. We were talking about Google. Uh, the other thing too is just Google to see what, what is popping up for keywords that you’re thinking about or competitors and see how they’re appearing in search engines. And that can give you a lot of ideas for the keywords that you want.
Um, you know, you go over SEO so we can have a whole conversation about SEO, but like you don’t want to have the same keywords on every page, but you can certainly have a few pages that you target specifically for locations and for different types of your business and, and things like that.
Um, so yeah, it’s, it’s little stuff cause I always know too, you know, it’s so easy to get overwhelmed after I get off a call with my business coach. I’ve got like 5,000 different things that I want to work on and do. And then I ended up not doing any of them. And so I would just say like Google your business, see what it looks like in the search engine. Just Google your website.
Um, see if it’s indexing. What you can do too. If you want to see all of the pages on your site and how they appear in the index is just do site:yourURL in the Google search bar.
Erica: Can we just really quick – what does it mean to be indexed, for people listening? Cause I feel like they, that might be a foreign term.
Whitney: Basically that just means that Google’s little crawler, um, the Google index of the Google. Um, you could probably say this better.
Erica: Their like listing of every website ever out there, basically.
Whitney: Yes, the index is just the source of all knowledge on the internet. Um, you want to be in Google’s index. Of course you don’t want not good pages to be, you know, pages you’ve deleted and things like that. But that’s all another topic.
Iin order for you to appear in search engines, you know, you need to be indexed and you want to make sure that all the pages on your website are indexed and you want to make sure that Mmm. You know, they’re, they’re looking right when they appear in search results.
And so if you do site:yourURL, you can see how it’s looking. And, uh, if your pages are not there, then it means your site’s not indexed and probably a good course of actions maybe is to look at some of your resources on how to, how to fix it.
Erica: Yeah. And if you want, um, I’ve found personally that most people who are blogging have heard of Google analytics and they’re hooked up with that and they know how to see how many people are coming to their website.
But not everyone is set up with Google search console. Um, which is where you could really easily, you click a button and you see which pages are indexed by Google and you can submit pages that aren’t indexed directly through that interface. It’s free. Yup. It’s some people struggle in this setup. It’s not hard, but it’s a little foreign, um, in terms of what you have to do to set it up. But, um, yeah, I do, I go over that in the first week of my SEO course cause I’m like, okay, before we go anywhere, make sure we have Google analytics and Google search console set up. Yeah.
Whitney: Yeah. So we, you know, because it, yeah, it can be a little daunting to set up. Um, so we make sure, you know, and all of our client websites, we’ve got them set up and show them how to do it and all that kind of stuff. So, um, yeah, you know, if people want to do it on their own, but that is something we do too. So, you know, if anyone needs help, always holler at us.
Erica: Totally. Yeah. And, um, yeah, I think to bring it back to what you’re talking about earlier, I think that’s a great example of just like a quick win. Like sure. An entire overarching SEO strategy where you have like your keyword research, like, list of things you’re going to write about and the content you’re going to make, like of course, like that’s great longterm plan, but just today in like an hour, you could also go in and just like add some keywords to some of your key pages and probably get a win. So yeah, start small.
Whitney: Yeah, for sure.
Erica: Yeah. Cool. Well was that five, was that five things?
Whitney: Yeah, that was five.
Erica: Okay, great. Perfect timing. Um, well I don’t know about you, but I feel like we dropped a lot of helpful actionable tips and I hope that people listening are like, okay, I’ve got some things I can, I can go in on my website and actually improve. So thank you.
Connect with Whitney
Erica: Um, so if someone wants to connect with you and is interested maybe in your services, where should they go to learn more?
Whitney: Yup. So, um, visit Whitneybateson.com. You can also, if you just want to go straight to booking a call with me, I do 30 minute discovery calls to get clear on what you’re looking for. We can talk through things. You can just do Whitneybateson.com/scheduling.
Um, but I also, you know, my website, look around, I’ve got some free resources and downloads on there too. I blog, uh, occasionally. Um, and also, you know, if you want more tips and things like that, uh, Instagram is where I post a lot of information about. It’s kind of a hodgepodge of marketing tips as well as travel, uh, stories and things like that. So a few different ways to get in touch and get connected.
Erica: Amazing. Well, thank you so much for sharing all of your advice. I learned a lot. I’m sure people listening learned a lot too, so I’m grateful. Yeah. Grateful for your time.
Whitney: Oh, thank you.
Erica: All right, that’s it for today’s episode.
If you want to check out the show notes, just head to theunconventionalrd.com/episode022. There you’ll be able to find all the links to anything we mentioned and also links to further connect with Whitney if you’d like to do so.
And if you were listening to this episode and you got intrigued about ways to set up your own website, um, or just best practices to follow, don’t forget that I always have my free how to start a website tutorial available as well at theunconventionalrd.com. If you go to the website just in the main navigation there, you will see a link to sign up for that free tutorial. So thanks guys and catch you next week.
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Erica Julson is a registered dietitian turned digital marketing pro. She has over 12 years of experience blogging and building online businesses and has taught over 900 wellness professionals inside her signature program, SEO Made Simple.