Do You Really Need A Website?
It’s more important than ever to have a centralised place for people to find you. After all, not everyone is on Facebook or TikTok. A website builds credibility and projects a professional image. It gives customers and clients a reliable hub for information. Perhaps most importantly, it’s a direct line to engagement and sales — and you’re in control.
Let’s take a deeper look at those reasons. But first, a story…
So you’re talking to a freelance journalist, right. She mentions a hobby, and says she’s monetised it into a small side hustle.
“I’d love to know more,” you say. “Where can I find your business?”
“Oh, I have a Twitter feed,” she says. “And an Etsy store. And Instagram, of course.”
You make a mental note. The conversation goes on, and she tells you about her latest piece of investigative journalism.
“I’d love to read it,” you say. “Where can I find it?”
“It’s in the newspaper,” she says. “And the follow-up is at this domain, and it’s being republished at this other domain.”
That’s becoming a lot to remember. “Well, anyway, your articles sound really interesting. Can I see your portfolio somewhere? What’s your website?”
“I don’t have one.”
“But if you google me, you’ll get links to a bunch of my pieces….”
Too late. She’s lost you.
See, people are busy. Busy people don’t want more things to remember. That journo? She just handed you, count ’em, seven things to try and remember. Nobody needs that.
Instead of giving you 3 hobby pages + 1 news article + 2 follow up pages + 1 “just google me,” do you know what she could have said?
Do you need a website? Yes.
But that’s not the real question.
The real question is: Why do you need a website?
Build Credibility and Trust
We’ve talked about trust factors on a website before. What you might not realise is simply having a website in the first place is a massive trust signal. Anyone can start a Twitter account for free. Anyone can take five minutes to bash together a spoof Shopify page. But a website? A website takes time, energy, and financial capital to maintain. A website commands credibility. It boosts authenticity. An authentic and credible website will build trust in people and help convince people to engage with your business.
If you search for a company online and get directed to a Tumblr page from 2007, it doesn’t look very professional, does it? Even companies with up-to-the-minute social media branding will have a website as well. It’s not an either/or, but a yes/and.
A website conveys a professional image that social media simply cannot. Whether it’s a simple landing page with your company information and contact details, or a complex behemoth that melds twenty sub-brands into one cohesive interface, a website creates a certain image for the prospective client or customer. It projects professionalism, which loops back to our first point — building credibility and trust.
Accessibility Is The Name Of The Game
How many times have you gone to read an article on a third-party news site, only to find it locked behind a frustrating paywall? Or you’ve searched up a company to find their Google My Business listing is years out of date, they only have one social media account, and you have another. How did you feel?
Not only has that company irritated a potential customer right out of the gate, they’ve blocked what should have been an easy channel to engagement. They might have even lost a sale.
The beauty of a website is this: it’s open to all. It is truly inclusive and accessible. Customers don’t need this account or that paid subscription. A DuckDuckGo search will turn up your website just as well as a Google search does. A good website doesn’t care if you’re running Chrome, Safari, Windows 98, or DOS.
Well… okay, maybe that last one. But the point stands.
Keep It Simple, Stupid
Hands up if you’ve ever reached the end of a long day, stood bleary-eyed in your kitchen, and felt exhausted at the mere thought of deciding what to cook for dinner? Decision fatigue can be a beast, both for you and your customers. When you give them too many options up front (Facebook! Instagram! TikTok! Etsy! Shopify!) people give up. They don’t know what to choose, so they choose nothing. They stop listening — or, worse, they go elsewhere.
When you give them a website, you’re giving them a single source of information. You’re giving them a direct sales route. You’re giving them all your social media channels in one go. You’re giving them a complaints department and a compliments department, an Inside Look sneak peek and a History channel. You’re giving them two years of sermons, or three years of articles, or five years of photography, plus the ability to search for the exact thing they’re looking for.
You’re giving them everything.
But it’s only one decision for you, and it’s only one thing to remember for them. Simple.
You’re In Control
Perhaps the most significant factor: you are in control of your website. Not a third party. Not a social media conglomerate. Not an AI algorithm. You.
When you own your website domain, you can’t be unceremoniously banned from your sales portal overnight for no reason, like this New Zealand family found with their successful business run primarily through Facebook Marketplace. Your visibility isn’t dependent on posting in the right channel at the right time of day. You’re not at the mercy of an ever-changing algorithm, or competing with hundreds of advertisements just to be seen by your clients.
You have the freedom to say how you want your website to look. Where you want your customers’ focus to be. What their journey of engagement with your brand looks like.
You’re in control. So what are you waiting for?
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