It's a question I've been asked countless times. If you were to Google it, you'd find an overwhelming amount of pros and cons for investing a website. The problem is those in favor generally campaign their points with very broad criteria and dry statistics with no applicable interpretation. And the flip side is usually angry business owners who spent far too much on a subpar website years ago and have sworn off web designers ever since. In an economy of diverse products, services and influencers, the traditional "Do I need a website?" conversation needs to be equally dynamic and unique. Here's 4 reasons you should invest in a website for yourself:
Do you sell goods and/or services?
This is an easy "yes." I can't tell you the number of times that I've heard people skip out on trying a new business because they looked them up online and were not impressed with their: 1) outdated website or 2) lack of a website in the first place. These are the moments when customers pick H&M over a boutique, Starbucks over the local coffeehouse and Walmart over speciality stores. And if you don't already sell your products online, you should plan to. According to BigCommerce, "Ecommerce is growing 23% year-over-year, yet 46% of American small businesses do not have a website." Ladies and gents the writing is on the wall on this one: the next opportunity for small businesses lies in online retailing.
Are you a model, artist or consider yourself a creative?
This one could go 50/50. On the one hand, it could be argued that social media would be a sufficient portfolio and building a website to hold essentially the same content would be redundant. However, an advantage of having your work on a website is that you have the opportunity to really showcase your brand and what sets you apart from your competitors, which will consequently appeal to people who might want to work with you. At the end of the day, an Instagram grid is just that — a grid — and from profile to profile they all look somewhat similar. More often than not, clients will ask for a link to your portfolio and showing up empty - handed could effectively drive projects away from you.
Do you create or wish to create content — i.e. blogs, articles, videos, tutorials, etc.?
Hop on to any spectrum of the internet and it's absolutely undeniable that hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs and visionaries have found their success simply by creating useful content. With both Millennials and Gen Z naturally gravitating towards brands and individuals who can help them, teach them or offer a solution to a problem, it only makes sense that the market for unique blog posts, dynamic tutorials and education - driven videos is growing. One of the biggest mistakes I see in the blogging/vlogging world — a mistake I made myself, not once, but twice — is using a third-party site like Blogger or Wordpress to host your blog. Although those sites are a fairly easy way to get your start, those sites are mostly geared toward cataloging content and you might find yourself limited down the road. A website with a blog feature leaves the door open to things like setting up an ecommence store, hosting and managing RSVPs for events, scheduling classes and workshops and so much more. The bottom line: if you have a voice and want to be heard, you need a killer web design.
Are you an independent or freelance writer, photographer, hair stylist, life coach, make up artist, tutor, graphic designer, etc.?
Often I've found that freelancers and independent entrepreneurs feel that their social media is enough to drive business to their inboxes. A prospective client can easily take comfort in a company, but asking them to invest in and trust an individual? That's a much harder battle to win. And while I agree that social media networking is the "word - of - mouth" of modern business, it's just not enough to support freelancers in today's saturated market of independent contractors. The solution echoes what I've said before: nothing looks quite as legitimized as a modern web design. Forbes explains it well: "Use your website to show you’re a serious professional, not a part-time moonlighter." A website is the face of your business, the personification of your brand and it establishes both credibility and authority. If you are a one (wo)man band and passionate about what you do, your online presence can be the introduction you need to meet new clients and raving fans.