As a web designer, I frequently encounter business owners who believe a website won’t benefit them. I know many business people who attract most, if not all, of their business either through word-of-mouth referrals, analog marketing (ex: flyers), or through social media like Facebook and Instagram. I also frequently encounter business owners who are frustrated with their website experience because they just aren’t happy with what they created themselves and feel like they don’t see results. These business owners, and perhaps yourself, have decided to scratch the website strategy altogether.
I understand we want to work as efficiently as possible and most of us know the 80-20 rule. Most of our results are the fruits of only 20% of our efforts, so why would you invest in something you haven’t been happy with so far? If you haven’t seen results through your website, what if I told you it might not be your website that is the problem? Maybe websites seem outdated and unnecessary, however, I would like to offer you some things to consider for the future of your business.
Do I need a website? What are the benefits of having a website?
When you invest in a website, you own it (or at least you should).
More often we are hearing stories of people who have their social media accounts shut down – often with a lot of followers they worked really hard to gain. I know websites and email marketing can often seem outdated, but the unmatched advantage is that you OWN your email list and your website. In the event that your social media platforms are disabled, you would still be able to communicate with your audience either through email blasts or by posting information directly on your website. No one can take that away from you! Additionally, in the most extreme scenario of something happening to your hosting, if you have your website and email list backed up on a hard drive, you can upload your files somewhere else and still have the same audience.
Thinking like this might seem a little extreme, but let’s explore why it’s critical to consider investing in your business like this.
What if my Instagram account is shut down?
On Oct 31, 2022 many Instagram users woke up to a notification that their accounts had been suspended due to violating community guidelines. Shockingly, they had done nothing against the guidelines. Instagram had experienced a bug that luckily they were able to resolve quickly. However, some users are not so lucky and do not receive access back into their accounts.
13% of Americans have been hacked on Instagram and lost access to their accounts altogether. In the last year social media hacking rose tenfold. Plenty of personal stories also exist of accounts that seem to be disabled for no reason, with no explanation, and no access back in. Facebook accounts and pages are also experiencing a similar fate.
* Poof* just like that, the audience they worked so hard for is gone.
What if we see another shutdown like the COVID-19 pandemic?
While the chances of another global pandemic are low, 2020 reminded us how quickly life can change and that we don’t always know what to expect next. Diversifying where customers can contact and interact with you adds an element of resiliency to your business. If something shuts down in-person business again, do your customers know where to find information about your business?
What a website means to customers
Even if most of your customers find you through a different channel, a website builds trust and credibility. You might be leaving money on the table because you caught someone’s attention but when they searched for more information about you, they couldn’t find it. When a website is built properly with great copy, it lowers the transaction cost, overcoming the like/know/trust factor before you even talk to a prospect. A lead will reach out with a sense of knowing something about you, your mission, or how you do business.
How to get local leads to my website
As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, your website might not be the issue.
The very first time I created a website, I was completely confused that traffic did not immediately start pouring in from Google. A new website is like a seed. If it is built properly, it has great genetics to grow into a strong plant providing bountiful fruits. The seed will not grow without water, sunshine, and fertile soil. The nutrients for a website are a proper SEO strategy. Are you publishing valuable content consistently? Is your Google My Business (GMB) page optimized? Are you linking to other sites and are other sites linking back to you?
If you have a website, you probably have a thirsty seed just waiting to be watered. Sometimes optimizing your GMB page is enough to provide you with new local leads.
How do I know if I own my site?
If you work with a web designer, your contract should state that at the end of the project you own your website and the content on it. You should also be able to login to the backend of the website, where your domain is registered, and the hosting. In the event you need to work with someone else or migrate to a new platform, these accounts will need to be accessed. Always make sure you know your logins and have in writing that you own the site to avoid being locked out or in a worse-case scenario – having a designer hold your site for ransom.
Another factor to consider is where your website is built and hosted. Some platforms, often online course builders, actually own all of the content you upload. Be sure when you start your project you are the clear owner of all content you publish.
We recommend WordPress websites because you own everything and can download backups of your website to ensure you always have a copy of the site you own and control.
Owning your own website is a powerful tool to ensure a backup plan and resiliency in case anything ever happens to your social media accounts, other platforms you are a guest on, or in-person business. A website is also a powerful tool to leverage in building trust with potential clients before they even reach out to you. If you have any questions about getting started with your very own website or setting up your Google My Business page, reach out to your local web fairies for some magic behind your online strategy! Let us create a website you feel confident in while attracting local leads.