This week has been my favourite time of the year. It’s nothing to do with Christmas: It was the interview episode of The Apprentice where the 5 remaining candidates get the pleasure of having every aspect of their progress businesses past and present, business plan and general characteristics by 4 of Lord Sugar’s key aides.
I watch this every year, not because I’m mean, but because nothing gets past these 4 musketeers. They analyse everything from how accurate the candidate’s market research is to how realistic their figures are. And they always look at the candidate’s current business website and for about 80% of the time, there are flaws.
Last year, out of the 2 finalists that went on to become Lord Sugar’s business partners, one hadn’t updated her website for about 5 years and the other one had an accreditation displayed on his website which shouldn’t have been there. ironically both of these budding business owners, went on to become Lord Sugar’s business partners.
This year was no exception: There was the hangover cure guy who boldly claimed on his Amazon page that he’d sold over 1 million sachets, when realistically he’d only sold 47,000 and the Tennis events organiser that had listed half her events on her website as cancelled. And my personal favourite: Camilla, the nut milk entrepreneur whose original online branding was so provocative that it bordered on soft-core porn.
My son, who was also watching this with me, was looking up their websites on his iPad and we both had a good look. And indeed there are flaws. There were superficial flaws such as a logo that had been cropped to the extent that you couldn’t read the company name, a website that was clearly designed just for desktop users and my critical eye found that one of the slogans was “Just another WordPress site.”
I’m not saying Claude Littner, Linda Plant, et al are looking at your website right now, but like it or not, humans are naturally curious species beings. I’m sure I’m not alone in saying that after meeting someone either in person or interacting with them online, I’m straight onto Google or Linkedin to find out more about that person and their business. Making it all the more important to keep your website and social media profiles updated.
Even after 18 years of working in the web industry, it kills me when someone dismisses updating their site saying “no one is looking me up online” Wrong. So wrong. People are looking you up whether you want them to or not. If your website or online profile aren’t up to scratch, it is going to reflect badly on you, whether you are #1 in Google #1000.
So take half an hour on a regular basis and look objectively at your website and social media profiles: Are they up to date? Is there anything new you can add? Are you emphasising your achievements? And more importantly, is it truthful? Can you back up your achievements (with accreditations, testimonials and media coverage)? Even better ask a friend or colleague to take a look. What do they think? Sometimes a fresh set of eyes makes all the difference.
it is the final tonight and I wish the final 2 candidates the best of luck. It is hard to tell who is going to win this year. I have looked at both of their websites this morning (Sunday) they have both been updated since Wednesday night, so its anyone’s guess.