"Practice what you preach" is an expression that is better taken in the spirit of its meaning rather than as a hard and fast rule.
In my book, Viral Explosions and when I am speaking I talk about how important it is to have new content on your website. Then I look at the video on my own site and I know it needs to be updated. This is a case of the cobbler's children have no shoes.
Although it is important to put your best foot forward (no pun with regard to the cobbler) don't be surprised if people who are in internet marketing (copy writers, web designers, etc.) don't always have the latest and greatest on their websites.
The same is true in many arenas. When I first started working with a lot of self-help speakers and authors I had expectations about their overall life philosophies and personalities based on their messages of being highly evolved and spiritual at all times. They were all lovely people but they did not always live their lives according to their teachings.
A fellow colleague writes blogs for her clients and yet she seldom has ideas left over (or time) to write blogs for her own site. She gets a great idea for a topic and finds herself using it for their blogs. The same thing happens with me when I think of a great marketing strategy for a client and I immediately share it with them. What I have done is eliminate the possibility of using it for my own business.
The common theme here is even though we all know what to do and we can guide our clients in the best proven strategies, sometimes our own businesses don't get the same attention.
If you are preaching something that you may not be doing be truthful about it. Be confident enough to say (to your audience, newsletter subscribers, students, etc.) "I talk about changing the content on your website to make it fresh and new to give them a reason to come back, I don't always do it and here are some of the reasons why.... I am already well-established in the business, I have been traveling a lot for speaking engagements, etc."
If your business is new or you are doing a big push to go after new business it is critical to update your site. You should be proactive about addressing this issue before your potential client does. Provide a disclaimer upfront that you are working on a new video to post or have drafts of your new pages in the works. Reinforce the importance that when you have added a new blog post or changed a sales page your strategies produce positive results. This needs to be truthful and genuine.
If your business is hurting as a result of not updating your website, then your own projects need to be a priority and integrated into your project plan. On the other hand, if your business is based mostly on referrals and not a result of search engines or ads, then you can make changes less frequently and still maintain a professional image.
Don't always judge a referral by their website. A strong referral comes from a trusted advisor or colleague and you have seen the quality of their work. Just because a referral's website is a bit outdated does not mean they won't produce great products for you. It could be a sign that they are very popular and their clients are their main priority.
Have you been turned off by a company's website and never hired them? Have you ever found that the quality of someone's work was better than their first impression online? Please share your experience in the comments section below.
Peggy McColl is a New York Times best-selling author and an internationally recognized expert in the field of personal and professional development and Internet marketing. As an entrepreneur, business owner, mentor and professional speaker Peggy has been inspiring individuals to pursue their personal and business objectives and achieve ultimate success. She provides effective Internet marketing solutions for entrepreneurs, authors, publishers, professionals, and business owners, who want to establish an online presence, achieve bestseller status, build their brand, grow and/or expand their business online. You can find out more about Peggy at her website, Destinies.com.