I Worry About Over-50 Women Entrepreneurs Online

I Worry About Over-50 Women Entrepreneurs Online

Over-50 Businesswomen Are At Special Risk

Recently I took on a new web design client, a businesswoman in her late fifties who had a great business with a gorgeous line of products. I relished the prospect of creating a fresh, sleek look for her very outdated website. But something happened right at the beginning of the project that scared the hell out of me. I found that this woman’s domain – you know, the “nameofmywebsite-dot-com” domain that gives you the right to have a website at that address – was due to expire in less than a week. It was only by sheer luck that she had decided, a mere 5 days before her domain ownership could have gone up in smoke, to have her website redesigned. If someone else had bought the domain while she sat in blissful ignorance during the expiration process, then she would have had to start all over by researching and registering a new domain, building a new website, and starting to attract web traffic from scratch all over again.

I worry about all boomer-generation women entrepreneurs who maintain their own websites. Do they know where their domain is registered, and for how long, and whether it’s set to automatically renew so there’s no chance of losing it? Do they know how their site is ranking on Google and Alexa? Do they know if their site is protected from hacking, spamming, and other security threats? Do they know if their traffic is growing, declining, or staying the same, and where it’s coming from? Do they have a sitemap registered with Google (which affects how well and how often traffic is directed their way)? Is someone monitoring their site for broken links (which can affect Google ranking too)? Do they have custom metadata for their important pages to aid the search engines and make their site come up higher on SERPs (search engine results pages)? Do they have alt text for the images on their sites (another Google-ranking-factor)? These and other issues have to do with how secure your site is and whether people will find your site. Then there’s the issue of design. Do women entrepreneurs over age 50 know what makes for a good looking and good feeling website, and what’s easy or hard or distracting or out-of-date in design and navigation? These factors determine whether visitors to your site think it looks authoritative and cool and inviting – or not – and whether they’ll have a good user experience when they visit your pages so that they’ll come back?

Many web designers will not include all of these factors into their work- in fact, many don’t even necessarily know about all of the web traffic back-room stuff or even what’s the most inviting and user-friendly design for your target market, because it’s not their area of expertise. And most entrepreneurs who create their own websites don’t know about these things either – and if they hire an expert to take care of their website or their SEO (search engine optimization), often what they get is either inadequate service that doesn’t cover all the bases, or overkill or overcharging for things they don’t need. Granted it’s a challenge for all business owners – knowing about and being able to hire the appropriate, qualified website experts to make and protect their websites properly – but this challenge is especially difficult for women who were born and educated before the internet age – namely boomer women. If computers are not “their thing,” they have no general background to fall back on in how everything operates, because they weren’t raised with computers and the internet as part of their lives. Younger businesswomen were, which means that they have an automatic advantage over us.

This bothers me, especially because I know first-hand how often it’s true that my boomer sister businesswomen have websites with serious problems. I know because all of this stuff is what I do for a living, within the niche of WordPress websites. I design or revamp their websites. I optimize search engine results for them. I establish security protections for them. And I help them create social media marketing strategies that are targeted to their specific markets and that work hand-in-hand with their websites.

Time and time again when I start out with a new client, I find a lot of problems with her website: outdated design, missing or less-than-smooth elements in the navigation, out-of-date systems requiring manual downloads or data entry or processing, lack of security, missing menus and metadata that are hurting SEO, and social media marketing activities that are not well coordinated or are killer-level time-consuming. I love working with my clients to correct and upgrade all of these problems, but I’m frustrated because I know that I’m touching a mere microscopic point on the tip of the iceberg. There are so many more over-50 businesswomen who need to find someone they can trust who knows not only website design but SEO, web security, and social media marketing – and who understands their way of thinking and the target market they’re trying to reach.

My Solution (At Least  Little): Free “Dutch Aunt Sessions”

I can’t take on a lot of additional clients, but I’ve decided that I can to do something to help anyone in the Women At Woodstock community, client or not – I’ve decided to offer a “Dutch Aunt” (my version of “Dutch Uncle”) session for any businesswoman over 50, at no charge, who has a website built on WordPress. (What’s a Dutch Uncle? He’s that mythical guy who sites you down and tells you what’s what and what you need to do to shape up.) I’ll review your site ahead of time – both the “public facing” site everyone sees on the screen and the “back room” site behind the screen – and I’ll give you 30 minutes on the phone to go over the results. We’ll cover site design, user experience, search engine optimization, security issues, identification of your target market, the best social media outreach for that market, and time saving tools and techniques to make you more effective and let you work less.

My goal is to help level the playing field for you as you compete against all those entrepreneurs out there from Generations X, Y, and millenial. And yes, I’ll give you this session absolutely free, with no obligation to sign on as a client. Heck, I’m not even looking for a lot of new clients – I certainly couldn’t take care of as many clients as I could serve with these free sessions.

As of today, I’ve set aside one dedicated block of time in my schedule each week, for the rest of the year, to offer a free “Dutch Aunt” session to any businesswoman on the Women At Woodstock email list. If you’d like to take advantage of this free site review and free half-hour phone consultation with me, please make sure you’re on my email list (you can sign up by clicking here), and then click here to contact my assistant Phoebe Stout, who will take down your information and set up a review call for the two of us.

Click here to read what a few of the website owners who’ve taken advantage of my Dutch Aunt Sessions have said.

As I said, there’s no obligation to use my paid services after that call, and I promise I won’t take up time on the call trying to sell you. (Though if you do want to become a client, if my schedule will accommodate you, I’ll extend a Women At Woodstock discount on my fees.) I’m happy to provide this free Dutch Aunt service to any member of the Women At Woodstock community. As I said, it’s my give-back for 2016.

If I can help you, I’d love to. I look forward to hearing from you!

Click here to contact my assistant Phoebe Stout for a website review.

6 thoughts on “I Worry About Over-50 Women Entrepreneurs Online

  • January 30, 2016 at 12:53 am
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    Sienna Jai Fein sent this comment on Saturday, January 23, 2016 7:37 PM

    Ann — Thanks for this eye-opening article. Too many of us are too naive or complacent to consider things like expirations, updates, and security.

    My blog was hacked recently by a hacker who resolutely added about 10 seperate posts a day. With each addition my latest own posts were moved down the list (thankfully not corrupted or erased) with the result that my home page was filled with jibberish about cosmetic products (photos, but no coherent info) and none of my own work appeared.

    I worked feverishly on the backside to delete the offending items, but although I could get my homepage back to normal for a little while, I couldn’t stay ahead of my tormentor. I finally called Bluehost and got the problem solved. I have not had to consult BH more than 2 or 3 times during the 8 years they’ve been hosting me, but when I have called they have been available, helpful, and patient.

    Ultimately I signed on for protection from SiteLock.com and so far I feel confident that the bot is doing its job. I don’t know how this service would compare to a similar security tool you may be using, but it may be worth a look if you don’t already know about it. Sadly, we are going to have to expect this hacking-for-laughs (or worse) more and more, and it’s reassuring to have protection.

    Sienna Jae

    Reply
  • January 30, 2016 at 12:58 am
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    Thanks for writing and sharing your story, Sienna. What a nightmare, but not nearly as bad as it could have been, right? I’ve heard of SiteLock and am very glad to hear that you’re using it now. My go-to security plugin is Wordfence – but both are perfectly fine. I don’t know if SiteLock allows you to do this, but with WordPress, you can track where the hacking attempts are coming from and block individual countries from access to your site if you wish – in addition to the ongoing vigilance and individual lock-outs for bogus attempts to log in to your site. I’ve used that country blocking feature with some clients who, for some reason, seem to have lots of login attempts from one or two countries in particular.

    Reply
  • January 30, 2016 at 1:01 am
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    Sienna replied on January 26:

    Thanks for the reply, Ann.

    The Wordfence is something I didn’t know about….might have used it instead of SiteLock, for which I paid $89. In my state of desperation it seemed cheap.

    The Wordfence country block sounds like a great feature. I blog about dating and some of my posts are about sex. I get hits on those from obscure locations, many from people using search terms so racy I blush to recall them LOL.

    Reply
  • February 17, 2016 at 8:31 pm
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    I’m soooo glad I took you up on this and asked you to do a thorough analysis of my website. Since the Spring, for no reason anyone could figure out, my Alexa rank has been steadily climbing from 771,000 up up and up til it topped out at over 4,000,000 the last time I looked. As of today, it’s at 2,526,063 and I can only think that it’s because of the changes you suggested.

    THANKS, ANN!

    Reply
    • March 1, 2016 at 8:07 pm
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      My pleasure – and I’m especially glad that your Alexa ranking improved so dramatically – and so quickly – after you made the changes that I suggested. As of the date of this writing, there are approximately 1 billion active websites in the world. A rank of 2.5 million means a website is in the top 0.25% of websites worldwide. You jumped ahead of 1.5 million other websites in four weeks, Anne Flournoy – not too shabby! Congratulations!

      P.S. For more on Alexa scores, see my post “Poor Alexa – So Many Rumors, So Much Misunderstanding.”

      Reply
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