Have you found yourself asking yourself this question recently? You update your Instagram grid daily and are omnipresent on stories. You’re active on LinkedIn, have a fledgling YouTube vlogging habit and you email your subscribers religiously every month. With all of this going on, you’re probably wondering if you really need a website anymore.
It pains me to say this, but with so many ways to share your brand online, it’s a valid question. The growth of digital platforms can make websites feel a little archaic. I get that. But still, I 100% believe you not only need one, you need a really flippin’ good site to successfully build your brand online.
So here they are – three reasons why you need a stonking good website.
1. Your website. You’re in control.
Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, SoundCloud, Spotify – they all provide a truly magnificent opportunity to amplify your brand and get your voice heard by more people. These platforms have totally transformed marketing and given every business (big or small) the power to start some amazing conversations.
Every social platform has its own faults and quirks. They have an unhealthy hold over our screen time, relentlessly feed soul-destroying comparison-itis and exacerbate imposter syndrome. But where would we be without them? Back at turgid networking breakfasts making painful small talk and handing out dog-eared business cards. Shudder. And this is why we never EVER want social media to implode.
But reality check – these platforms aren’t yours.
Although you created the content in your carefully crafted post, the social platform that’s hosting it isn’t yours. You don’t own it and the upshot of this is you have limited control of what happens to it.
The real owners of your social media content, the ones who pull all the strings (I imagine they are hoodie wearing and probably half my age) don’t care one jot about your content. As long, of course, as it doesn’t break any rules or put them in a sticky spot with their legal teams.
If all of your lovingly created content disappears overnight, the hoodie-wearers won’t lose any sleep. But what about you?
My advice (for what it’s worth) is to use these platforms vicariously. Make the most of their phenomenal reach and conversation-starting potential. But if all of your content is hosted on these external platforms, I feel slightly twitchy for you. Are you putting all your eggs in one very precarious basket?
We’ve all seen or heard stories of people who have accounts hacked. They lose overnight all their content and contacts. That’s years worth of investment. I don’t want it to be you.
Websites are a great way to safeguard your content. It’s a place to post where you’re the boss and where you can control your own destiny (maybe with a little help from your friendly copywriter.)
So why not create a designated area on your site to host your videos? Write blogs based on the transcripts from your podcasts and your wittiest social posts? Put them in a place online where people can stumble across them freely and enjoy them until the end of time (in theory.)
2. It shows your customers you’re the real deal
Think about when you’re buying from someone or some place new. Chances are you stumbled across them on social media (those damned sponsored posts get me every time.) But before you buy, what do you do? I ALWAYS go online and check to see if the company or person has a website. I think most people do this.
It a credibility check that’s an essential step in every online buying journey. Having a website gives your business a sense of legitimacy that can’t be replicated on Instagram or YouTube.
3. Your website is the hub of your online brand
There are lots of different arms of digital marketing. But they’re all more powerful if they feed into your website.
Where do you sign up subscribers for your email newsletter?
Once your subscribers are entranced by your inbox content, where do you send them next?
And what about all of those social media followers that are hungry for more content from you?
Your website makes a great hub for your brand for two important reasons.
It attracts fresh eyes.
Website content is searchable. This means an idle Googler who doesn’t know anything about you but happens to be searching for what you offer, could become your next biggest fan.
Whether you embrace the free search power of SEO or splurge on Google ads, everything you put on your website has the potential to be found from a random search. This can’t be said for Instagram, Twitter and the like.
(I should say that YouTube and podcasts are also searchable.)
It’s the ultimate answer to ‘so what’s next?’
A social media post or vlog is often just the start of the buying journey, don’t make it a dead end.
Where do your followers go next after they’ve been riveted by your Instagram posts?
After watching your YouTube masterpiece during a 1am bout of insomnia, where can your latest fan go next to get more information (without waking you up with a call)?
Whether the next step is to find out more, search for reviews or user experience, sign up for updates, or simply to buy – your website is the next stop where they can do all of these things.
So, do I need a website?
Yes. But you also need a strategy behind it. Your social media and website have distinct roles in your online marketing strategy. You can think of it as conversion versus conversation. One is a place to connect (social media.) The other can help you to close the deal (your website.) And both work better with the support of the other.
Do you need help with your website?
Creating a website is a lot of work. And with so much to think about – from hosting and content management platforms, to design and branding. It’s easy to understand why the words can easily get left until last. As a copywriter, I can take away that burden and write your content for you.
Is there another option?
I’m working on it. I’ll be launching two new options in September designed with business owners who don’t have the budget or requirement for a copywriter in mind. Instead I’ll guide you through the writing process – so you write it all yourself but with the reassurance that an experienced copywriter has got your back.
Sign up for Word Stylist updates to be notified when these new options are available.