Do I need a website or is this just a phase that will pass like all the others?
Great question – and one I hear time and time again! And, as with many things in life, there’s no right or wrong answer – it all comes down to what you want to achieve. What purpose will a website serve for you (or your business)?
I know everyone needs a website – but do I need a website?
I tell everyone that if you own a business – you should have a website. Even if it’s purely an informational only website – that is, a place for people to find out the bare bones info about your business such as contact info etc. The challenge here would be to make sure you don’t allow the site to go untouched for too long. An outdated website is extremely bad for business in lots of ways (think – unprofessional, incorrect info, incompatible with current browsers and software… and the list goes on)!
Be prepared for the extra time and effort
Do you actually need it? Are you bringing in enough money without one (assuming you’re a business)?
You probably already have a facebook page (or, at least you should!) so is social media enough or do you want more? Simply having a website doesn’t guarantee more people will find you. If you have a website and you want to use it to drum up more business, then you need to be prepared to put in the time and effort to start spreading that site far and wide.
The cheapest way to do that is by continuously adding new content to the site – eg a blog. You then share that blog on social media etc and if they are interesting enough they might go viral and start bringing real volumes of people to your site. But the key message here is the time and effort it can take to constantly create new blog posts. If you’re not prepared to put in the hard yards – you might need to consider a back up plan.
How will people find your website?
Every single website client of ours is given this important piece of information before we even sign the contract… Listen carefully now –
Having a website does not guarantee anyone will ever actually find your website!
A website is just a series of pages stored on a server. Nobody will ever know those pages are there unless they know they’re there! This is where that nasty ‘SEO’ term comes into play. Check out this article for a ‘low-jargon’ description of what SEO is…
SEO is a hit and miss topic these days. If you want your site to go far and wide, it can be a good investment for the long term. But it’s expensive and results can be slow to achieve. Results can also be hard to see initially so a lot of businesses get turned off of it easily.
If you’re lucky enough to have a business with low-competition, simply having a great SEO plugin in place (your web designer will know of one) might be good enough! I personally know of a few businesses who have made it to page one, and even to first place on a Google search purely from using a great SEO plugin and posting regular blog posts!
But… Do i need a website?
So… in conclusion about the ‘do I need a website’ debate, you ultimately need to think about what you hope to achieve. Do you want more business from it? If yes – then go for it but be prepared for the effort it will require. Page content is important and time consuming to produce (properly). I’d even recommend paying for a top copywriter to ensure you get your message right and to make sure your website is SEO ready!
If you want it for info only purposes – still go for it, but be careful it doesn’t go stale or out of date – which can happen quicker than you might think!
How to make it look the part
My last snippet of advice is to use good quality images. The photos you use can make all the difference on a website. Original photos are best but stock photography is ok if you don’t have your own. Or even better – pay for a professional photographer to get at least one excellent photo per page of your site (specific to the topic on that page). There’s no point having a website that is boring and unappealing to your target audience – if you’re going to do something, do it right from the beginning and have it in top condition from the moment you launch it to the world!
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