The Need For a Website
Here's what is real:
If you want to create a notary business that will last through time and thrive, regardless of the economic environment, you're going to need a website.
This is especially true for those using General Notary Work (shifting toward Specialty Notary Work), as a revenue stream.
Do you love this work? Do you love the lifestyle this business allows? Are you enjoying the income, or even just the possibility of unlimited income? Do you love helping your customers, on both their best days...and their worst?
Then you might say that by not taking the steps to create sustainability, like building a website so your customers can find you, is doing you, your dreams, and your customers, a tremendous disservice.
And, if you've already bought-in to the importance of a website, how much thought have you given to your site structure and the customer's experience on your website?
If you're like me, I originally put about zero thought into content, contact info, and structure of my website. I was just excited when I could get a picture uploaded and moved to the right place!
But in today's marketplace, our potential customers are almost always going to find us online, in one way or another.
Most are Googling "Notary Near Me," and the notaries that are on the first page of search results, well, they get the worm.
Even when we work to build referral relationships, or use social media to share our journey in this business, many savvy consumers will search us out on the web before they even contact us.
And, they most assuredly research us before they hire or partner with us.
Your website really does matter.
It doesn't mean your website has to be expensive.
It doesn't have to be all fancy, with flashing images, and hoodickies and watchamacallits.
It really only needs to look clean and crisp, deliver the value or solve the customer's problem, and offer an easy and crystal clear way for them to connect or hire you.
We can certainly add more. It just needs to be done with conscious thought and customer-centric strategy.
So, let's check out the 11 Biggest Notary Website Mistakes (and How to Avoid Them).
The 11 Biggest Notary Website Mistakes (and How to Avoid Them)
I brought in my friend and online marketing genius, Tyler Botsford, for a special training this week to show notaries these very common mistakes we all make.
Moreso than an opinion or critique of websites, Tyler wanted to show us what the problem is, why it is a problem, and what we can do instead. You can watch a complete replay of the training above this article, and stay tuned until the end for a 40 minute Q & A session with Tyler and I.
Mistake #12 (A Free Bonus Mistake): Not mentioning your CoVid/Cleanliness Procedures
Whatever measures you are taking right now, it is important that you set expectations appropriately and you can use your website to do that. Have a Covid19 disclosure front and center on your home page. If you have questions about procedures, feel free to mimic the guidelines of the CDC, or your own local government.
Mistake #11: Too Much Text & No Photos
Especially when we are opting for a basic, one page website, we might tend overshare information about ourselves, and our business, all up and down our homepage.
Visually, this turns our customers off, and very few will actually take the time to read it. Instead, focus on solving the customer's problem-they need a notary. Sprinkle in some pictures, whether of yourself, your journey, or just stock images from sites like Unsplash.
Mistake #10: Not listing your additional services
Sometimes, we get so narrowly focused on our services as a Notary Public, that we forget to add information to our website about some of the other services we might provide under our notary "umbrella."
The reality is, you do not have to have a separate website for each and every business or sidehustle you have. Sure, you can. But you can also house each service on one website, and have a different page for each service.
Mistake #9: No Credentials, Certifications, & Social Proof on Your Site
While your insurance, certifications, and background checks aren't necessarily differentiators between you and competitors, consumers in the general public may find comfort in them (especially certification, bonds, and criminal background checks). You can even link to your SigningAgent.com profile!
And, testimonials and reviews mean a lot today! Do everything you can to highlight testimonials and reviews on your website. In the webinar, Tyler gives fantastic advice for how to do this.
Mistake #8: No SSL Certificate
An SSL certificate makes your site secure for your customers to browse, and possibly even buy something (if you offer it).
If you do not have an SSL certificate for your website, it will be obvious to your customers, and it may affect their confidence to stay on your website.
If they don't stay on your website, they don't even get a chance to get to know, like, and trust you enough to hire you.
If you want to see if you site has an SSL, here is a free SSL checker.
Mistake #7: Not Having a Call To Action (CTA)
Your Call to Action, or CTA, is the action you most want your customer to take. For most of us, as mobile notaries and loan signing agents, that action will be to call or text us.
The faster we get them either booked for an appointment automatically, or offline on a phone call so we can start building a relationship, the more of a chance we have at earning their business.
Many notaries make the mistake of burying their phone number down deep on the website, or only having it on the "Contact Me" page.
The more clicks it takes to find your phone number, the higher the chance you lose a customer.
Make your CTA (whatever you choose it to be) obvious, front and center, and "above the fold."
Mistake #6: Non Responsive/Non Mobile Friendly Site
People need a notary when they need a notary. That's usually going to be on the fly. It's estimated that 70% of your potential customers are searching for notary services on their smartphone.
Because of that, it is imperative that your site be mobile optimized. It needs to be easy to navigate and function correctly whether your client is sitting at home on their desktop, or at the hospital, on their phone or tablet.
You can test your website's mobile friendliness here.
Mistake #5: Not Identifying Your Keywords
Keywords are simply the words that your potential customers are going to type in to search engines when they are looking for your mobile notary services.
This requires some easy research and some outside-the-box thinking. You'll also want to think more about the average consumer's knowledge about a Notary Public, than your own knowledge.
Most American consumers have a very loose understanding of what a Notary Public does, so when they search for our notary services, they are not using the same "industry speak" that you and I use.
Some common keywords and phrases would be:
Integrating these key phrases, and others like it for your area of geography, or specialty, will help you connect with more of your ideal customers.
Mistake #4: Difficult to Remember URLs (web addresses)
In short, choose a domain name that will be easy for you, and your customer, to remember on the fly.
Keep it simple. Keep it ideally at three words or under. Don't use hard to spell names (especially if it is your last name).
If possible, choose as domain name with your main keyword or phrase in it, like:
See how their domain names have keywords and phrases like "mobile notary," "notary service," and "notary" with the county they service?
That's what you are aiming for if you want maximum optimization. Still, if you already have a domain you love, and it does not incorporate a keyword or phrase, Tyler has a great solution for that too. Stay tuned in the replay for the Q & A section, when he dives deeper in to how to do that.
Mistake #3: Bad/Confusion Website Design/User Experience
Sometimes we are our own worst enemies when it comes to web design.
We have this grand vision of what we want our site to look like, and it's often WAY more grandiose than it needs to be for our customers sake.
Getting fancy with colors and fonts can actually distract from your sites effectiveness.
Remember, a pretty website that is hard to read, with light text on dark backgrounds, or unusual font that is difficult to read, will not drive customers to book or buy from you.
This literally kills your business.
Keep it simple!
Mistake #2: Not having a website at all!
Stop overthinking it and get a website! Even a simple, free, one page website from Google My Business is better than no website at all.
If you are embracing General Notary Work, or Specialty Notary Work, you absolutely must have a website if you are going to create a business that lasts.
If you love being of service to customers, then you have to make it easy to find you.
If you truly believe you are the best person for the job, and you know you are going to take care of your customer better than anyone else, then you must put yourself out there and make it easy fo ryour customers to find you.
It's your duty to do so.
Mistake #1: Not Optimizing Your Website
"If you build it, they will come."
Many notaries believe that all they have to do is build a website and then sit back and wait for the phone to ring non-stop.
I wish it worked this way!
This "set it and forget it" approach to your website will deflate your enthusiasm about this business faster than anything else.
You must have a website, PLUS what is called Search Engine Optimization, or SEO.
Essentially, that is all the strategies you can do to make sure that search engines, like Google and Bing, are able to "match you up" with their customers that are searching for notary services.
Google doesn't personally know you, so it uses data from your website, social media, blogs, etc, to help determine if you do, in fact, offer the services their customers are searching for.
That's search engine optimization!
And that is what gets your phone ringin' and dingin'!
Search Engine Optimization is complex, and if you hire someone do do it for you, it can be quite expensive.
However, if you choose to do it yourself, Tyler and I teamed up to create the industry's most detailed and comprehensive SEO training for notaries.
First Page: How Notaries Get Found Online, is over 30 video modules from an SEO expert, tailored specifically to our business, as mobile notaries and loan signing agents.
Enter your email for the free report that details how I got started and grew my mobile notary and loan signing agent business to multiple six-figures.