Do I Need a Website?
Regardless of whether you’re an individual or a business, if you have something to promote, you may be debating if you truly need a dedicated website. A good website can be expensive to create and maintain, and it requires attention from you in order to keep the content fresh and relevant.
These factors alone might be enough for you to blow off creating your own website, but in our internet-driven, 24/7-connected world, you might want to reconsider.
6 Reasons Why You Do Need a Website
1. It can prescreen potential clients.
By having a website that outlines precisely what you do and provides examples of how you do it, potential clients can determine if you are the right fit for them. This passive prescreening will save you hours and hours of phone calls and exploratory meetings that may yield no revenue.
2. The internet is always on.
You may be based on the East Coast of the United States, but someone in California is looking for precisely the type of services you offer after your workday is over. The time difference is not a factor in this instance, as the potential client can conduct a search and even reach out to you via email while you’re enjoying dinner or even getting some shut-eye.
3. Google, baby, Google.
Let’s be honest: in spite of the competition, Google is still the go-to search engine on the web. A website with good SEO, proper tagging and dynamic content will rank high on Google’s search results pages, putting your name and URL in front of the millions of people who use Google everyday and are specifically seeking products or services just like yours. There really is no comparison when talking about exposure.
4. It will increase your revenue.
The SBA estimates that a website can boost revenue for businesses by almost 40%. Could you use 40% more revenue?
5. It will legitimize your business.
The fact is that businesses or individuals with professional-looking websites are perceived as more legitimate and trustworthy in the eyes of consumers. View your website’s appearance as seriously as you would your brick-and-mortar storefront or your company’s headquarters. Your website is the “face” of your organization on the internet; people are much more likely to do business with an attractive-looking company than a faceless organization.
6. Your content has to live somewhere.
One of the best ways to generate outstanding search results for your website and thereby increase exposure for you or your organization is to generate and post original content. This can come in the form of a blog, videos, photo galleries or more, but this original content is the type of online data that search engines crave. Additionally, this content positions you as an industry expert in your field and can help to further your brand and business. An excellent example is Mint.com; their blog on personal finance became so popular, it was soon one of the key traffic drivers to their website.
Website Alternatives You May Be Considering
So let’s say you’ve reviewed the list above, and you’re still not convinced that a website is right for you. That’s okay. Let’s dissect a few website alternatives you may be considering and see if a suitable replacement can be found.
The amount of integration available via Facebook, including YouTube videos, photo sharing and e-commerce, is astounding. Plus, Facebook already has a built-in audience of more than 550 million users. Focusing your attention on Facebook is definitely one way to spread the word about you and your products and services.
- Pros: Integration of third-party content; built-in user base of more than 550 million
- Cons: Facebook pages do not regularly show up in Google search results, and you’ll be unable to build your own database of contacts
Aside from its content limitations (140 characters really isn’t a lot), Twitter doesn’t offer a very good content management system. Long-form content is almost impossible on the platform, and in most instances, your tweets will need to be linked to something on a third-party website.
- Pros: Easy-to-use communication tool popular with younger consumers
- Cons: Difficult to manage long-form content without a third-party site
YouTube allows you to aggregate your videos and collect them onto a channel, giving you a singular destination for visitors looking for your content. This is especially helpful for organizations or individuals that need to demonstrate their products. However, in order to contain all of the information found on a traditional website, you would need to record videos that talk about who you are, when you started, what you stand for and more. There is no way to ensure that users would view these videos first, if at all.
- Pros: One online destination for all of your videos
- Cons: No control over what order videos are viewed; creates a non-linear experience that can give the viewer an incomplete picture of you or your company.
In truth, these alternatives should be additions to—not the only aspect of—your company’s online presence. Social media provides some of the best cross-promotional platforms in today’s online world, making it a key part of your marketing and branding strategy, but not the only part.
When deciding if you should create a website, you should definitely take practical concerns into account, such as cost and ongoing maintenance, but you should also weigh these factors against the type of return a well-thought-out website will bring to you and your business. In most cases, the effort to create the site is soon outweighed by the site’s benefits.