Just starting out as a Celebrant…here’s some things I wish someone had told me
Hey guys, this post is purely for the newbies, soon to be Celebrants or Celebrants who are have been in the game awhile but are only now about to get cracking on with it. This is all about the key parts to this business that I wish I had known about (or at the very least known more about) but had to learn through the hard way.
Understand the fundamentals of good website design
Starting out all of you are probably going to build your website one of the following ways –
1. Pay a professional to do it
2. Get a friend to do it
3. Build it yourself on something like Wix or SquareSpace
4. Use your background and skills a web developer and designer and build the greatest Celebrant website ever
I am assuming that there is probably very little people in category four…if any…so therefore you’ll either be relying on someone else or yourself. Regardless if you are relying on someone else or yourself you still need to understand the key fundamentals of what is good website. I will write a blog that outlines this in greater details, however suffice to say you need to consider the following –
· Is it designed with Mobile devices in mind first
· Is it geared towards ‘conversions’…i.e. is it all about getting people to contact you…because it should be
· Will it rank well in terms of SEO…(i.e. will Google put you on Page 1 for 'xxx Celebrant')
· Does it have your Phone number on it?
· Have you set your 'On-Page' SEO up right - Meta-Tags, Meta-Descriptions, Image descriptions, H1 Headings - All of this is fundamental and easy to learn
Those are the minimum things you need to be considering. However it would pay you to research this topic in greater details.
Whilst I was successful in the first two years of my business without really worrying too much about Google…it would have been a whole lot easier if I had. In fact it wasn’t until September 2017, nearly 2 ½ years after I became a Celebrant and had launched my first ever website that I jumped from Google oblivion and obscurity (was even on the first 10 pages) all the way to Page 1.
Google isn’t that hard to get an understanding of the fundamentals, but it will pay to learn them. Here’s my very quick brief, however once again, spend at least 4 hours understanding this better by reading some blog posts and other completely free online materials.
My take on SEO –
· Google needs to know what your page is about – This is what it calls indexing. Essentially it reads the text on your page and figures out what you’re relevant to…this is also known as ‘On-Page’ SEO
· Google doesn’t just care what you say you are, it also wants to know if others are also saying this – This is called ‘Off-Page’ SEO
· A mix of good on and off page SEO is what you need...but don’t be like me and have great Off Page stuff with crap On Page stuff
· SEO likes you to keep your content fresh…have a blog
· SEO also likes to know you are part of a community…so have links to other sites (put this in your blog as a tip – Like photographers, venues and other vendors)
· Google is all about Mobile…so make sure your site is fast, looks good on a mobile and the photos are large in file size
· Have a Google My Business Page…which leads to my next point –
Set-up a Google My Business Page
It’s completely free, easy to set-up…if you type ‘Google My Business’ in to Google (funny enough) it will all be there for you to set it up.
Ensure you build rapport with suppliers and your couples
This is where you get all your useful content for social media and your website…they won’t give you this stuff if you don’t engage with them. You need to actually put effort in here...the more effort you put in the more you will get back.
When you start out..it’s all about the hustle
It’s more important to get the bookings when you start than it is to be ‘winning the work you want’ or ‘totally being my vibe’….if you want to get loads of bookings and great quality clients, we all need experience. Don’t try and charge too much, just meet couples, book weddings and get experience. Once you’ve hit around 20 then you’re in the game...but don't stop there, hustle hard and long.
Get on a listing site
I spent 6 months thinking that both my network and my rep would get me raking it in…I was wrong. Then I went with Easy Weddings and my world changed…if you want bookings, you need to be somewhere where couples are looking for your services. I am not saying you need to get on Easy Weddings, there are quite a few directories out there…I just know from not only my experience but from other’s that I have recommended to join it as well this fact: It works, plain and simple.
(Disclaimer and Disclosure – Whilst I am in no way directly affiliated with Easy Weddings other than being a listed vendor on their site. There is a chance that I may get a free month’s listing if you do sign up….I am 100% not giving this advice for this one free month. I am happy to be with them and recommend them regardless. There’s a reason why I have been with them over two years and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. That’s it, no hidden agenda here)
Go premium if you do get on a directory
There’s no real point being on Page 2 of Google…same goes that there’s no real point being on a directory if you’re all the way at the bottom. I know it might ‘seem’ expensive, but trust me, when you’re building your business you need to spend money…you can taper it later on.
Don’t underestimate the power of networking
We all need a strong community, for support, for advice and for referral work. Get networking from the Get-Go...aaannnnd Go!
Lastly – Find some people to mentor/advice you
It wasn’t until I started talking with ace Celebrants likes Marry Me Dee, Russ Macumber, Annie Molenaar and Damon Hughes did I really start smashing my business. You shoud definitely do the same. My door/inbox/Messenger/mobile is always open to anyone who wants to chat, so if you can’t find anyone else, feel free to contact me. I’m 100% open about this – firstname.lastname@example.org – 0410494225.