“Do I need a website?” No one asks this question, do they? Why? Because it so ingrained that when we create a business we need a whole suite of digital tools to back up our real-world offer.
But do you actually need a website? I have met a number of clients and colleagues in the last few weeks who either have no website or a disastrously out of date one. I’m talking Dreamweaver circa 1997.
A website can be a useful tool. But it requires some work. It acts as a shop window to your business and services. But imagining it is a real-life shop window, you need to consider that:
- Not everyone visits your shop every day or even every month.
- Sometimes the window display can get out of date, particularly as newer, fancier shops pop up.
- And often you need to do some work to drive people to the shop.
So, in short, a website can actually be a bit if a commitment. And this can be a challenge whilst running a business, especially for those “technophobes”.
That said, a website acts as a pretty good foundation. A place to clearly catalogue what you do. A place to document your story/ethos and also a place to provide useful content. Combining a clear website offering with consistent social media commentary that points back to your website can be a lucrative combination.
But you need to get it right.
People don’t visit shops where they have to rummage through piles of stuff until they find what they want. They don’t like going to shops that are boring, out-dated and where the stock is all mismatched. And imagine if you went to a shop and found something you liked but couldn’t find the till to make payment? Painful.
So, if you do choose a website. What makes it useful? You need to be quite specific to make your website both easy to use and engaging.
Here are some suggestions:
- What do you do? (make this as clear as possible from the get go)
- Why do you do it? (the company or personal ethos – people are nosey and want to know)
- How does the product or service work? (again, be mega clear here)
- Any Unique Selling Points to mention? (these should be obvious to find and simple to understand)
- When would you use the product or service? (make this relatable to the solution you are offering)
- Why would you use the product or service? (value proposition)
- How do you buy the product or service? (you want to make this part really easy!)
- How can you find out more? (invite people to connect with you)
In my opinion, the best strategy is to combine the professional foundation of your website with the personality of your social media.
- Website: offer useful content such a downloads, videos and blogs. This could include training materials, opinion pieces, member logins etc.
- Social: direct people to your website through engaging, eye-catching, personable social presence. It is key to be your brand here. Have a voice, an opinion and have fun. You are the expert in your field, so get people on board.
I am torn!
My social media presence is strong, and I receive a number of referrals weekly just through this, so I don’t feel I really need a website. In fact, I spend a lot of time driving people to my website which perhaps defeats the purpose of having one? On the other hand, I like to have a “shop front” which details my offer and sets the tone of my services. Almost like a reminder for me! So, it is up to you. Have a website or not, but just don’t feel you need one. It can be hard work and if you are getting business already it might not be necessary.