Note: This article was originally posted on my previous website in 2014. I’ve transfered it over because it’s still relevant.
This has the potential to be the shortest blog post in the history of blogging.
You ask “Do I REALLY need a website?”
The short answer is YES. But you’ve heard that before, haven’t you? What you really want to know is WHY your business needs a website.
“Why do I need a website? I have a Facebook page…”
“Why do I need a website? I can promote my business with social media…”
“Why do I need a website? I don’t sell anything…”
“Why do I need a website? My business is already doing well…”
“Why do I need a website? I’m just one person offering (XYZ) services…”
“Why do I need a website? I don’t have a storefront…”
“Why do I need a website? I wouldn’t even know what to put on it…”
Sound familiar? These are some of the biggest excuses I hear when consulting a new client. Each one of them is invalid. A website is the most important marketing tool available to you, and should be one of the first things you do when starting your business. In today’s market, a website provides credibility to your business. Think of your own behavior when searching for a new store, product, or service. The first thing you do is an internet search, isn’t it? How likely you are to visit a business that didn’t come up in your Google search?
Now ask yourself why you are expecting your potential clients to visit your business if it’s not coming up in their Google search?
Yes, I know. Your business is “different”. So let’s walk through each of those excuses above and hopefully I’ll be able to change your mind before we get to the end of this post.
“I have a Facebook page…”
Facebook is a wonderful thing, isn’t it? And it used to be quite easy to market a business for free and do quite well. But then 2 things happened: People started monopolizing the “free” aspect of Facebook, and Facebook realized that there was untapped advertising dollars sitting on their doorstep. The combination of these two things means that it is becoming increasingly difficult to market a business on Facebook without having to pay for it. Also, Facebook’s current algorithms decide who sees what and when they see it. Which means that neither you nor your fans decide what they (your fans) see, even if they WANT to see it. Currently, any given Facebook post is only seen by between 4 and 7 percent of a page’s fans. And yes, these numbers come directly from Facebook. (More HERE and HERE.) Put another way, if you have 100 Facebook fans, only 7 of them are seeing your posts at any given time. Still think Facebook is a good marketing tool? Didn’t think so.
“I can promote my business with social media…”
Social Media is the big buzzword in marketing right now. Every single marketer on the planet is jumping on the Social Media bandwagon. Why? Social Media is synonymous with Free Advertising. However, not quite. To use Social Media as an effective marketing tool, one must remember the keyword: SOCIAL. Social Media should be used to pique interest in your business, to engage your potential clients, and to create a dialogue. One mistake that most businesses seem to make over and over again when using Social Media is forgetting that this medium shows their business’s personality. So if all you’re doing on Social Media is posting sales pitches, how do you think that is coming across?
The days of “free” advertising via Social Media are coming to an end. Facebook has already made the switch to a “pay for reach” system, and Twitter is headed that way as well. How long before the rest of the Social Media sites follow suit?
Your Social Media profiles should be secondary to your website and always, always, ALWAYS, be pointing back to it.
“I don’t sell anything…” or “I’m just one person offering (XYZ) services…”
These 2 excuses are one and the same. Just because you don’t have a product to sell and display prominently does not mean that you don’t have anything to sell. You are providing a service to clients, which means you are selling yourself: YOUR ideas, YOUR experience, YOUR expertise. Now, why should your clients choose YOU over your competitor? Your website should tell them why. It should be a one-stop-shop for everything YOU offer.
“My business is already doing well…”
This is great news, and I am truly happy for you. However, one little thing…what happens when you need to find new business? As I mentioned above, one of the first things a person will do before deciding which business to deal with is searching them out online. Do you really want to lose potential business to your competitors because they have a website and you don’t?
“I don’t have a storefront…”
All the more reason why you need a website. If your business doesn’t have a storefront or a location where your potential customers & clients can visit you, you lose credibility points. No storefront AND no website? Potential clients are likely to wonder whether your business is actually legitimate. Having a website when you don’t have a storefront is crucial. It provides a place for your potential clients to verify your validity.
“I wouldn’t even know what to put on it…”
Websites do not need to be complicated. They should have a professional design that reflects your business, (Please, no cat backgrounds…unless you’re a Veterinarian, then cat pictures MAY be acceptable.), and should contain a minimum of 3 pages: a Home (or Landing) Page, (this page gives your viewers a brief synopsis of your business and what makes it special), an About Page, (which goes into detail about who you are and how you got to this point) and a Contact Page with your contact information. That’s it. There’s no immediate need to get bogged down with elaborate website plans when you’re still sitting on the fence between having one and not having one. Your website, like your business, will grow and change as the need arises. The important thing is that you get it out there and plot your little corner of cyberspace.
If you still aren’t sure what to write or need help with your content, I just may know someone who might be able to assist you. You can contact her here.