Fear and Websites in Chicago

By Andy Crestodina

We’ve met with more than 1000 businesses here in Chicago over the last 10 years. In those many conversations, we’ve encountered some understandable emotions related to web design and web marketing. One of those is fear. In this post, we’re going to look at the common fears and examine how they can slow down your web design project and your online marketing.

Here are some of the top fears of website owners that can slow down your web marketing:

  • Fear of launching a website before things are “final”
  • Fear of sharing your secrets
  • Fear of being in a web video

Let’s look at each of these and consider how emotions can get in the way of results.

Fear of Launching a Website Before Things Are “Final”

“I don’t want to go live until everything on the site is completely finalized.”

It’s common for people to hesitate or delay before launching a new site. They’re reading the copy, looking at the pictures and they’re finding things that could be just a little…bit…better…

Why not take an extra week and wordsmith that last paragraph? Because the extra time isn’t worth delaying the value you’ll get from the new website. You’ll get better results sooner if you launch it now and tweak that paragraph next week.

By the way, there is no such thing as a finished website! A good site is designed to change. Hopefully, you’ll be updating and changing things regularly for years. That means the best time to go live with a new site is the first day it’s better than the old site.

Digital ink is never dry.

Fear of Sharing Your Secrets

“I don’t want to write about that topic. My competitors might steal my ideas.”

It’s natural to be afraid to say too much. Some of us have had information taken and used by competitors. (I once saw a proposal from a competitor that looked awfully familiar. As it turned out, most of it was language I had written a year before for a different proposal. Where did they get that?)

But it’s probably a mistake to not write something useful because you’re afraid it might be used by others. It goes against the premise of the Internet. When you share something you become more widely known and more relevant. I would rather be plagiarized than be irrelevant.

If you’re interested in SEO and link popularity, you may actually want other website owners to take your content. When you share your content with other bloggers (guest blogging), you’re actually hoping people will take your writing and put it on their sites, because when they do, they’ll add a link back to your website.

You get what you give.

Fear of Being in a Web Video

“I don’t want to be on camera. I won’t look good in video.”

We’ve all felt this before. It’s common. It may be more shyness than fear. But since video is such a compelling upgrade to a website, getting over this shyness can make a big difference. People want to know who they are working with or buying products from. It’s called trust and video helps you build it.

If you had a potential client or customer to your office, would you want them to see your face and hear you talk? So if you have a visitor to your website, why don’t you want them to see and hear you? Think about it: it’s not that you don’t want to be seen and heard by others, you just don’t want to see and hear yourself. Silly, isn’t it?

So give it a try. The 3 minutes you spend talking about your business may be seen hundreds of times. This might be the most effective use of marketing time you’ll ever spend.

Say it once, say it well, say it to many.

Other examples of how fear can inhibit web marketing…

  • “I’m afraid to ask for reviews from my customers.” – Positive reviews are becoming more important than ever. Muster up the courage to ask your biggest fans to write a review; you’ll be glad you did.
  • “We don’t want to show too much information about who works here. We’re afraid our competitors will try to steal our people.” – This is understandable, but leaving out team bios makes your site less personal and makes visitors less likely to feel a connection to your business. If you think including bios of your team will affect employee retention, you may have bigger problems. [This is a good point that would also make sense in the section about video. Especially because the video section doesn’t specify WHY video is compelling (humanization, face-to-a-company, etc etc)].
  • “I’m afraid of what people might say about us if we try social media.” – People talk. They’ll talk about you whether you use social media or not. The real question is, do you want to be part of that conversation? Skip social media and you have one less way to listen to and learn from others.

 Here are some tips to help get you going…

  • Trust yourself: Think of your past successes and how good you are at what you do. Imagine yourself getting it done, one step at a time. Think of what the next success will feel like.
  • Get out of your comfort zone: We grow the most, professionally and personally, when faced with challenges. When you’re vulnerable, you’ve got opportunity to improve.
  • Start Small: The first step may be hard, but take a small step. You don’t have to do it all at once, but you can start now. If you don’t do anything, nothing will happen. In marketing, that’s a bad thing.
  • Read “Getting Naked”: This book makes an excellent case for putting yourself out there, focusing on helping others and always being honest, even when it’s hard.

Being concerned about getting things right is good. But worrying too much can cause problems, especially online, where the best results are seized by those who embrace taking action, sharing information and putting themselves out there. Remember, accomplishments are proportional to attempts!


“Audentis fortuna iuvat.”
Fortune favors the bold.
The Aeneid, Vergil


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