If you’ve taken that first step towards becoming a professional speaker, then congratulations. It’s an exciting journey that can be both fun and frustrating, but in the end, you’ll find it worthwhile and rewarding. There’s nothing better than wowing audiences day after day. Of course, making the decision to become a professional speaker is the exciting part. But in addition to the fun stuff, there are a lot of business and administration tasks that need to be done.
I could write a book on what you need to do if you’re serious about becoming a professional speaker. Again, the speaking and prep work is the fun part – the running a business part, not always so fun. One question that I get a lot from both the people that take my classes and friends from Toastmasters is whether or not they need a website.
Some speakers use their LinkedIn profile as their website. At a minimum, you should have a profile on LinkedIn. Having a web site is helpful as it gives you more flexibility makes you look more professional – especially if you have your own domain name.
Some of the things you can put on your website include:
- Photos, videos, one sheets and other marketing tools.
- A list of the topics you speak on.
- Testimonials from clients and/or speech attendees.
- A list of the products and services you offer.
- A calendar with past & future speaking engagement dates.
- Articles or blog posts that show that you’re an expert in your topic.
So as you can see, there are definitely some advantages to having a website. Since most speakers start out with soliciting Rotary and other service clubs, it’s great for your contacts to see that you are somewhat established. These clubs tend to bring in free speakers and in many cases get what they pay for. It helps if they can do some due diligence on you beforehand.
The other big advantage is that you can actually make money with your website. You can sell your own products and services online, sell products from others using an affiliate program or put ads on your web site that generate income for you when people click them. And of course, the increased exposure can result in more speaking opportunities.
Of course, if you decide to get a web site the next question is how much should it cost. There are four main expenses that people have with websites:
- Domain registration. This is your address on the web (for example jvf.com). This should cost between $8 and $18 per year.
- Web hosting & setup. This is where you get space on a server connected to the internet to host your web site. You can get free hosting through various services but they can sometimes be limited. Paid hosting is more flexible and provides more options and services but can cost between $4 and $20 per month. Some may have a onetime setup fee of around $20.
- Site design & configuration. If you’re technical, you can do this yourself for free (expect it to take you between 15 and 100 hours depending on your experience level to get everything the way you want it). You can hire someone to do the work for you. I’ve had people take my classes that have paid up to $4000 for this service from other consultants (In comparison, for speakers, I typically charge between $250 and $500 depending on how complex it is).
- Additional features. Some people pay for shopping cart systems, mailing lists, social media services and other marketing tools. In my classes, I show people some of the free alternatives to these expensive services and I also share them with my clients.
If your budget allows it, a web site can definitely be worth it. If you don’t have a budget, consider getting a free blog or setting up a free company profile on LinkedIn. You’ll at least have that online presence to get the momentum going. In any case, I wish you the best in your exciting journey as a professional speaker.
P.S. If you’d like a free consultation on getting your very own web site & social media strategy for promoting yourself as a speaker, please fill out my speaker request form. I’ll contact you via email and give you some tips to help you get established based on your budget (even if you have no budget at all).
James Feudo owns the Boston Web Design Agency JVF Solutions and loves blogging about personal development and communication in his spare time.