To invest in yourself and your business, you need a website. And here’s my take on why.
If you only have a social media presence for your business but don’t have a website, it’s like spending a huge amount of time and effort setting up a stall in someone else’s shop and then… um… just hoping for the best.
Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE Instagram. For one, it’s visual, which makes it the perfect platform to showcase my design work. I also have my own personal illustration account on Instagram which I use daily. Even my dog is on Instagram! Even better, Instagram has an amazing, vibrant creative community to browse and connect with, and I get hit with thousands of fresh ideas and awesome inspiration. Every. Single. Day.
And of course, it goes without saying that your business should absolutely be leveraging the world’s fastest growing social media platform for lead generation.
So why do you need a website?
Here’s the thing… if Instagram completely disappeared tomorrow or, to stretch my analogy, the store rent suddenly shot up, I could move on easily to the next big thing. And that’s because the main deal for my business, my online hub, isn’t on Instagram. It’s my website. I totally recommend you invest in yours for the same reason.
At the end of the day, Instagram and Facebook are businesses. They do not exist to make life lovely for us creatives and niche small business owners, they exist to make a profit. We are just one of many using their platforms. As such, we are all commodities that can be monetised. It would be naïve to think otherwise. Call me crazy, but I don’t want to be caught out if (or when) the next downturn hits and they decide to cash in on me. Instead I want to be able to nimbly pack up my stall and move on to a store with a more favourable rent agreement. (How far can I stretch this analogy?!).
I may be cynical, but I can’t help but wonder why Instagram are starting to experiment with ‘likes’ no longer being visible. Could it be that the influencers are taking money that Instagram and Facebook would prefer was spent on their actual ads, for example? Perhaps businesses won’t be so keen to pay influencers to advertise their product when there are no metrics to show how much engagement their marketing cash has generated. Just a thought.
And if that doesn’t work, where will they look next for income revenue? One guess is any small business which has a lot invested in the platform and therefore can’t easily move elsewhere. Of course, I AM being cynical – there may be something to worry about here, or there may not! But with a website of my own it most definitely starts to be less of a pressing concern for me.
It’s worth noting here that the big influencers can already see the writing on the wall. They are building their own platforms to run alongside Instagram. For example, YogaGirl has 2.1M followers and built her massive following on Instagram. She launched her own branded website last year. I listen to her Podcast regularly and in a recent episode she spoke at length about how she is transitioning away from social media.
Your website is exactly that, yours
So yes, you need a website. If you only invest in one thing for your business in 2020, make it that. It really doesn’t have to be super elaborate. Even a simple, one-page site with a brochure-style overview is enough to establish a presence online.
It’s worth remembering, you do not own the communication channel you use to market to your Instagram followers. If that platform closes, or perhaps worse, decides to start charging, you will lose everything.
At the very least, a website means you can always be found online and, more importantly, you can curate your own email list. Your customers and clients will be able to sign up for news and updates, which means you can continue to connect with them and market and sell your products, no matter what happens to your online stalls elsewhere.