If you want to succeed as a Professional Organizer, you need the right tools -- and that includes an attractive, navigable, and informative website. But you don't have to worry about knowing programming code or search engine optimization or style sheets, because my husband and I have put together the perfect web design "jump-start" kit.
Everything You Need To Master The Internet
So what qualifies my hubby to build websites for organizers? For starters, Matt and I were the original creators of OnlineOrganizing.com
(he served as programmer and graphic artist, while I was in charge of content.) During our tenure, the site grew into the largest organizing resource on the internet and won numerous national awards -- so we know a lot about what makes a website work and what doesn't. And since we sold the business, Matt has continued to design websites for individual Professional Organizers (including me -- he's the brains behind the graphics and the blog system at RamonaCreel.com
After more than 10 years in the business, my husband understands the unique challenges that organizers face in trying to promote their services -- his goal is to provide an affordable, effective, and comprehensive web solution that is customized to suit the needs of this industry. Whether you're a beginning organizer who is just starting to establish an online identity, or a veteran P.O. who is frustrated with your current website and would like more control over your virtual presence, Matt can help! His website packages include:
- Content Management System (the days of tossing a bunch of static HTML pages up on the internet and calling it a "website" are over -- if you want your company to be seen, your web presence must be dynamic, ever-changing, and always expanding -- thanks to the concept of "content management," you can now add to your website on a daily basis, without ever knowing one bit of programming code -- your website design will be based on either a Joomla, Drupal, WordPress, or customized Content Salad system -- to create a new page, simply choose the layout style, enter your text and pictures into a form field, and the system does the rest for you -- you will be able to write, edit, and schedule blog posts, as well as create static descriptions your services, lists of testimonials, pages of before-and-after photos, embedded video or audio recordings, links to external third-party e-commerce platforms, and much more -- best of all, you can manage your site directly through any web browser, no special software or skills needed -- just log into your secure administration account from any computer anywhere, and start editing -- brilliant!)
- Blog Publishing Platform (tell me if this sounds familiar -- you spent a lot of time and money setting up a website, decided at some point to start blogging, then found out that your posts had to be routed through a third-party -- traffic that should have been increasing your site's rankings is instead benefiting Blogger or Wordpress, and you're annoyed at the fact that people are going elsewhere to read your latest posts -- not to mention the fact that, no matter how hard you try or how many different templates they offer, your blog still looks and feels like something "separate" -- fortunately there is a solution that will help even established bloggers keep their content at home, where it belongs -- this system integrates your blog as a PART of your site -- you will create blog posts with the same graphic look and feel as your static pages, embedded in your site and included in your navigation, yet still generating that RSS feed you love so much -- it's easier for visitors to move back and forth between your content and your services, and you will find more of your readers actually hiring you in the long run -- and while showing off your expertise is nice, wouldn't you rather turn visitors into paying customers?)
- Automated RSS Feed Generator (the beauty of a blog is that, unlike an electronic newsletter which has to be emailed out, you can have your posts show up in a million different places on the web with one click of a button -- your website will automatically generate an RSS feed for each of your blogs, no matter how many different topics you choose to create -- visitors can subscribe to these blogs feeds, receiving an automatic update every time you post new content -- you can use these feeds to stay connected on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social networking sites -- and fans can even syndicate your feed so that your content shows up on their websites, giving you additional exposure)
- Social Networking Integration (everyone tells you that social networking is the key to internet success, but who has time to put up daily posts on all those different sites? -- lucky for you, this content management system does the work for you -- your website and your blogs will be connected to Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, the three most popular and heavily-trafficked social networking portals on the web -- your home page will be linked to your social networking profiles via individual "follow me" links -- an RSS feed will be set up that automatically publishes new content from your blogs to your social networking sites, without you having to lift a finger -- and most importantly, a "share this" widget will be installed on each of your pages, allowing readers and visitors to share your original content with others -- coordination with other social networking services and the installation of additional widgets are available at an extra cost -- now you have no excuse not to stay connected!)
- Customized Graphic Branding (a successful website is more than informational, it serves as a unique graphic representation of your business identity -- first impressions count on the web, and your site needs to be visually engaging if you want to catch your visitor's eye -- unfortunately, most web packages either don't include graphics or require you to use a standard "template," and you end up with an impersonal site that looks like a hundred others on the web, but not here! -- your website will include a customized graphics plan that is specifically designed to suit the personality of your business -- it is a bit unusual to find a programmer who is also a successful artist, but Matt's natural talents will help you to stand out from the crowd, no matter what your style or the goal of your website -- this package includes either a new logo or integration of your existing logo, home-page and header design, and a consistent graphic feel across all of your static and dynamic pages -- don't settle for the same old clip art and templates that everyone else on the web is using, when you can have a look that is designed just for you!)
- WYSIWYG Editor (unlike HTML in which each page requires its own individual coding, your website will come with a "what-you-see-is-what-you-get" editor, which functions much like Microsoft Word -- you will enter content into a form field, the system will automatically format the page according to your specifications, and you can preview the end result before publishing the page -- the system knows what color to make the background and where to put the header and how the page titles should look -- but if you want something in bold lettering, just highlight and hit the "bold" button -- you've got easy-to-use buttons for changing the font size or color, for creating a hyperlink, inserting a graphic, and much more -- what it boils down to is that you won't have to hire a programmer to create, edit, or update pages for you, and you can spend your time on the content and save your money for something more important)
- Visitor Feedback (it's one thing to create a "brochure website" that simply provides information about your company -- but you've achieved another level altogether when you can engage visitors in conversation -- your website includes a built-in commenting system which allows readers to share their thoughts and feelings about the topic at hand -- it's a great way to learn more about the organizing challenges your target audience faces, to stay abreast of the latest solutions shared by your colleagues, and to personally connect with those who might be in need of additional help -- plus, it's always a nice ego boost when a new blog post nets you a dozen comments, and you realize that people are actually reading what you write!)
- Privacy Protection (if your website includes your email address and a link for all to see, you are setting yourself up for an inbox full of of junk messages -- automated spambots crawl the web looking for addresses that they can add to their lists, and the best way to avoid these little buggers to NOT post your email on the web at all -- the safer option is to require people to contact you through a form, one which is encrypted to hide your email address -- your website comes equipped with just such a "contact me" form -- and all of your forms, contact pages, and comment fields are protected by a "captcha" human verification test, designed to repel automated spambots -- it's hard to eliminate junk completely, but at least you can make sure that anyone sending it to you is a live human being!)
- Keyword System (keywords are used for cross-referencing content within your site, helping visitors locate information related to a topic of interest more quickly -- your website comes with a robust and flexible keyword system that you can customize entirely to your own needs -- as a relevant keyword occurs to you, add it to the list, then tag any appropriate pages with that word -- a text link will show up on every one of those pages, allowing visitors to see a list of topics with that tag -- and a keyword-rich website naturally rises to the top of the search engine rankings, so using consistent terms over and over again throughout your pages like this will optimize your placement -- a keyword system that kills two birds with one stone!)
- Internal Search Engine (while keywords are the hot and happening way to cross-reference pages, they will never fully replace the convenience of searching for a frequently-used phrase or term -- your website comes with an internal search engine that is powered by Google -- visitors can type any combination of words into the search box, and the system will pull up a list of pages that include that exact or a similar phrase -- a good search engine, don't leave home without it!)
- Hosting And Domain Set-Up (you would think that securing a domain name and setting up hosting for your website would be the easiest part of the process, but it's not! -- you do actually have to know something about computers and the web to choose the right URL, select a good hosting company, and get all of the different components of your site to speak to each other -- fortunately, that's nothing you have to worry about here -- if you're unsure of a good domain name or the name you want has been taken, Matt will assist you in selecting a catchy and memorable one -- he will purchase the initial year's domain coverage for you, and then set you up in an easily renewable annual contract -- he will assist you in choosing a suitable and affordable web host, then handle all the technical aspects of making your website live -- please note that the cost of hosting is not included in your web package, and must be paid directly to the hosting company)
- Complete Control (when you rely entirely upon your webmaster to edit your site for you, you are essentially giving up control over your content and its layout -- it can take weeks for your programmer to address even a simple adjustment, and anything more complicated than a text change is likely to cost you a small fortune -- you will find yourself more willing to work on your site regularly and keep it updated when you can make the changes yourself -- your website comes with a powerful and completely customizable indexing system that allows you to add, delete, edit, or move content any time you want -- so if you get a whim to offer a sale or create a new blog section or revamp your site navigation at 2AM on a Sunday, no problem and no bill!)
- Syndicated Organizing Content (content is king on the web -- it draws people to your site, gives them something of value for free, fills your pages with relevant keywords, and improves your search engine rankings -- but what if you just don't have the time to write pages and pages of original text? -- if a lack of content has been holding you back, now you can stop procrastinating on your web launch and hit the ground running -- our "deluxe" website package comes fully loaded with 100 pages of syndicated content from RamonaCreel.com and OnlineOrganizing.com -- you simply tell us about your company, and we will provide you with the appropriate organizing-themed checklists, articles, and tip sheets customized to suit your specialty or target audience -- whether you organize garages, teach time management skills, work on office filing systems, or help busy parents get their kids in order, we have the content you need)
- Additional Design Enhancements (both of these packages are intended to provide you with a scalable website that can grow with you as your business grows -- additional design enhancements such as animations, advanced graphics, customized forms, flash presentations, video / multimedia, e-commerce, and other high-end functionality are available at an extra cost -- just speak to Matt directly and he will be happy to help you with any web or graphics project you can throw at him!)
You might be thinking, "I'll just put a website together myself" -- but why waste your precious time learning web programming, search engine optimization, and content management when you could be out serving your clients instead? On the other hand, hiring a freelance web designer to create a site like this for you from scratch could easily cost you several thousand dollars -- and who wants to haggle over hourly rates? These web packages give you everything you need at one set affordable price. And more importantly, you will be working directly with the web programmer and graphic artist, so you are certain to be satisfied with the results.
This is a solid up-front investment in your company, one that will continue to repay you for years to come. And not only do you get to hit the ground running with a website that attracts visitors from day-one -- but you'll find that your business grows more quickly, you will avoid some of the unpleasant surprises your newbie colleagues experience in the first year, and you will establish your status as an organizing "expert" in no time!
About The Creators Of This Product
Professional Organizing is one of the fastest-growing industries and a great option for self-employment. Folks need help managing their time, space, and paper -- and for busy people who can't seem to do it on their own, a good Professional Organizer is worth his or her weight in gold! You can build a successful and rewarding career assisting these clients in creating order -- and my job is to jump-start your business and help you achieve success even more quickly than you would on your own!
My name is Ramona Creel, I've been a Professional Organizer since 1998, and I am a Golden Circle Member of NAPO
. From the very beginning, I've seemed to have a natural instinct for what makes an organizing business successful. I did the unthinkable and actually turned a profit in my first year (and have done so every year since.) After only 6 months in business, I found myself with more clients than I could handle and raised my rates for the first time (and I continue to do so each time my business grows to a new level.) I was even awarded "Rookie Of The Year" my first year in business by my local NAPO chapter, because my company took off so quickly.
I eventually turned my love of organizing into a website called OnlineOrganizing.com
. -- during the 9 years I ran the site, it won numerous national awards and grew into the largest organizing resource on the web, generating business for thousands of other organizers. Finally, I did what a lot of P.O.'s consider impossible -- I sold a successful organizing company for a healthy profit. I have since then returned to one-on-one coaching, organizing, writing, and public speaking. I'm proud to say that I have succeeded at several different business models throughout my career, both as a service provider and a product retailer -- I've sort of done it all! And I say this not to brag, but to show you that I know what I'm talking about when it comes to running an organizing company.
I have been teaching new organizers how to succeed in business for more than a decade, using these tools to educate scores of "newbies" and "veterans" alike. Being able to organize yourself is not the same thing as being able to successfully teach those skills to a client -- and just knowing how to clean out a closet or set up a filing system simply isn't enough. You must translate your talent for organization into a practical and systematic method that can be customized according to each client's needs. I will help you do just that and more -- together, we will turn your passion for order into a rewarding and self-sustaining business.
The focus is less on specific organizing methods and more on those issues related to business administration and skill development -- client relations, marketing, financial issues, legal concerns, organizing technique, developing credibility, and defining your own personal organizing philosophy. I hate to see otherwise talented organizers fail because they lack the business background to succeed as entrepreneurs -- that's why I offer the practical tools necessary to make sure that you run your business legally, that you can successfully market your services, and that you know how to deal with both difficult and routine client issues that might come up. I will teach you how to be a better business person so that you can be a better (and more professional) organizer.
I created these tools (as well as my training curriculum) because I found that most "how-to-be-an-organizer" guides involved nothing more than reading a recounting of another P.O.'s personal experiences. I discovered that organizers were more likely to succeed if they were part of an interactive process. If you choose to participate in a coaching or training program, you will be given extensive information about the topic at hand (marketing, client appointments, setting fees, contracts, etc.) -- then challenged to structure your own business policies in a way that will best accommodate your goals, lifestyle, and work preferences. This learning model lets me help you view the issues and problems of running an organizing business from your own perspective, give you guidance and feedback throughout the process, and provide and endless stream of suggestions for expanding on your ideas.
Matt Boorstin is a professional freelance web designer and illustrator. Over the years, he has created a career that sucessfully combines the technical with the artistic -- having worked in graphic art, interior design, 3D rendering, multimedia design, and web development. Some of Matt's larger clients include Hyatt, Starwood Resorts, ADP, and the Smithsonian Institution. But he also enjoys designing custom content management systems for individuals and small businesses -- creating user-friendly solutions that allow non-techies to control their own websites, blogs, and social networking. Most importantly, Matt puts his artistic talents to work on his web projects, developing unique graphic identities for branding those sites. He currently travels the country with his wife Ramona Creel
in a 1989 Airstream Excella as a full-time RVer, working both remotely and in-person with his clients. Visit Matt's website at FindYourPalette.com
and let him help you discover your place on the web.