‘Does my business need a website?’ is a common question among online entrepreneurs. With social media as a viable alternative, it can be a tough call for some. The truth is there is no one-size fits all answer to this question, but there are several things you should know before you decide.
This is something we’ve planned to write about for a while now and with the latest shake up in the entrepreneurial world, we decided it’s time to finally address the pros and cons of building a professional website.
The Chaos of Borrowed Platforms
If you haven’t heard by now, you’ll likely soon be reading all about the latest big breakup between Pinterest and Etsy. What’s interesting about this latest shake up in the entrepreneurial world is the fact that there was NO WARNING! You can no longer claim your Etsy shop on Pinterest and there was no press release, update, or heads-up for the online entrepreneurs who rely on the Etsy-Pinterest integration to run their online business. This latest update is just one more example of the dangers of relying solely on ‘borrowed’ platforms.
Social media platforms are wonderful for sharing marketing and branding content but they are borrowed space that you ultimately can’t control. From algorithms to CEOs, there’s always going to be changes that throw you for a loop. We’re not saying the people behind these social platforms don’t care about your business, but we are saying they will not ask you before changing the rules of the game. Leaving you in a position where you have to always be ready to update your marketing strategy which takes time and resources.
So let’s talk about the pros and cons of building a professional website versus relying on borrowed platforms!
Your Website is *Your* Space
One of the biggest pros for building your own website is that it’s your space. Unlike social media platforms where algorithms control the ‘shelf life’ of your content, your website gives you full control over the flow of your content. You get to determine what and where information is shared and you can build your website to move your audience through your sales funnel.
Social media is great for building brand awareness and driving traffic, but your website is where you generate qualified leads and boost conversions. Anyone who jumps from your social media profile to your website is probably in your warm audience - meaning they are interested but not convinced. That’s where your website takes over and does all the heavy lifting! Showing your audience the exact information they need to make a decision.
Websites Create Credibility
Another pro to having a website is the credibility it builds for your business. Think about the journey you take online when you want to learn about a new business. You probably go straight to Google and search for a website! Trust us, your audience is using the same investigative technique.
Your audience needs to see proof that you are running a legitimate business. They want to be able to learn about who you are, why you started your business, and what unique benefits you offer. Your website is your opportunity to neatly package all that information so your audience can confidently make a decision.
Understanding the Clicks
One of the top reasons for launching a professional website is the ability to look at user-behavior. Unlike borrowed platforms where you can see very limited information about engagement, reach, and impressions, your website analytics give you a much more in-depth look at what your audience is doing when they click-through.
Most website platforms have built-in analytics or you could use a third-party tool like Google Analytics. Either option should give you a much clearer picture of what content resonates with your audience. Just knowing that your audience clicks-through is only half the battle - you also need to know how they’re interacting with your content.
For example, we use Google Analytics to look at behavior flow. We look at the point of entry (or what content encourages a click-through) then we look to see what content is most commonly jumped to (or what is keeping our audience interested). This is helpful for two main reasons: one, we learn what content drives traffic and two, we learn when our audience is losing interest. This helps us create better traffic-driving content and shows us the gaps in our content strategy.
Drive Organic Traffic Consistently
Another pro for professional websites is the ability to drive organic traffic consistently! This goes back to algorithms and the ‘shelf life’ of your social media content. Unlike social content, your website content doesn’t have an expiration date - or at least not an uncontrollable one. You get to determine what content stays on your website and you can continuously build on that content to drive traffic organically.
The number one goal for all online entrepreneurs is to drive qualified traffic and the easiest way to do that is SEO! Your website gives you a space to include ALL the information your audience is looking for - unlike the snippets of information social media allows. That means your website is way more likely to be found by your target audience CONSISTENTLY!
What about the Cons?
Of course, there are drawbacks to building a professional website with one of the biggest being the resources required. It takes time, skills, and/or money to build a website. Even if you’re using a hosting platform with a website builder included, you need design skills to strategically structure your website for conversion. The design skills needed are enough to drive a lot of entrepreneurs to use custom designers and website templates.
Another con for professional websites is the technical skills required to keep it running. You will need to know how to find issues and how to fix them. It’s just the nature of doing business online - similar to maintaining the structure of a brick and mortar store, you need to know how to maintain your website. From indexing to cloud management, there are several technical skills you’ll need to acquire to properly manage your website. (However, we’ve never had an issue that a quick Google search couldn’t fix!)
The final con you should know about before deciding if you’re ready to launch a website is the time and effort it takes to actually make the website work for you. Think of your website as a long-term investment - optimizing it will take time. You have to consistently put love and attention into your website to get a return on your investment. Also, your website needs to grow with your business which means you’ll need to periodically change the copywriting, update your SEO, and test what’s working. The investment of time is definitely worth noting when you’re making this decision!
Websites and social media both give you unique opportunities to grow your online business, and you certainly don’t have to choose just one. You can utilize both to achieve your business goals.
We use social media to build brand awareness and drive traffic to our website, then we let the website do all the heavy lifting. Our website gives us the freedom to step away from work without worry because it’s always on the clock. And social media lets us build meaningful connections with our target audience.
We also know entrepreneurs who rely solely on social media and they are killing it! So, the final decision should come down to what works for your business!
Are you ready to launch your website but don’t have the resources to build one from scratch or hire a custom designer? This is a common barrier for a lot of online entrepreneurs. You’re finally ready to launch your website but you don’t want to spend a small fortune or hours learning new design skills.
Website templates are designed to help you quickly and affordably launch your business website. We design WIX website templates for coaches, therapists, educators, course creators, and service providers. We believe that launching your dream business should be easier and it’s our goal to give you the digital tools you need to do it!
Visit our shop to learn more about our WIX website templates!