In 2022, everyone is online. We seek entertainment online, our social interaction is online, and we do our shopping online.
With so much internet activity, it makes sense that any business would want to have an online presence. But do you really need a website?
Today we are going to talk about the importance of a website for your creative business, and why you should invest in one.
The Purpose of a Website
To understand why you need a website for your business, you must first understand the purpose of websites in general.
In today’s interconnected world, we need answers and solutions to our problems fast. The internet provides more and more of those solutions every day. And it provides those solutions through websites.
A website is a hub of information and connection with people who have similar interests and are looking for solutions to similar problems.
When you need an answer quickly, odds are the first thing you do is pull out your phone and ask your favorite search engine, often Google or YouTube, for a quick answer. Then that search engine provides you with a list of websites that it feels will give you the best answers to your questions.
Government agencies or nonprofit organizations run some of these sites, hoping to spread awareness and education on specific subjects. However, businesses run most of these websites to attract customers by offering them solutions to their problems.
And it works!
According to Emarketer.com they expect online sales to reach $5.5 trillion in 2022. That’s a lot of money exchanging hands because of websites.
Do You Need A Website?
The short answer is yes.
If you are an artist, writer, crafter, photographer or engaging in any other creative endeavor where you want to promote your skills and sell a product or service, then you are running a small business.
And every small business should have their own website.
There are few businesses out there that would not benefit from having their own online home base.
1. Having a website lends credibility to your brand.
Having your own website is standard practice for business these days. Your site is the first place potential customers will go to learn more about you and your business.
Businesses that do not have a website look less professional, like they do not take themselves seriously. If you don’t take your own business seriously, why should your customers?
2. Your website gives you more control over what information is out there about you and your brand.
On your website, you get to decide how your customers interact with and perceive your business, and you get to showcase your best work.
Without a website, you are leaving your online presence up to other people and companies who may not have your best interest at heart.
Your website also gives you a platform where you can educate potential customers about their problem and why they should consider paying your business to solve that problem.
3. Your website is yours, social media is not
Many people think you do not need a website if you have a presence on social media.
This is not true.
Have you ever heard of people on social media getting “shadow-banned” or even having their profiles shut down completely because of a misunderstanding? This happens all the time with social media accounts.
If your entire online presence lives on social media, then you are leaving your business in the hands of big social media companies who are more interested in keeping people on their platform than in supporting your business.
Plus, because the space you occupy actually belongs to them and not you, they may change the rules on you at any moment, and they often do.
4. Your website allows you to collect leads and make sales on your terms
Unlike with social media, you have the option to use your website to collect emails and build your client list.
Social media algorithms limit your reach and make it harder for you to connect with potential customers. Social media companies are set up to make them money, not you.
Your website, however, can be set up to optimize your reach with the people who really want to hear from you. So, you can get your information in the right hands with much less effort.
5. Having a website opens you and your brand up to many more marketing opportunities.
There are so many ways to spread the word about your brand when you have a website to send potential partners and customers back to.
Some companies will only work with brands who have a professional website and can prove that they are a legitimate business.
Potential brand partners often like to get a feel for the brands they plan to work with and your website is the best place to offer them a sneak peek of the value you can bring to the table.
How Do You Build Your Website?
There are several options out there for getting your website started. You can hire someone to build your website for you. This is the easiest way, but it’s also the most expensive.
If you hire someone, make sure you sit down and talk to them about what exactly you want your website to do for you and how you plan to use it.
The next option is to build your website yourself. This will require some time and likely some education, but luckily, most of the information you will need is available through free online tutorials.
Whichever way you choose to go, you will need to decide on a website builder to get started.
Here are a few website building options:
This is the most popular website builder out there today because it is highly customizable and offers a high-quality experience to your customers.
However, WordPress is not self-hosted, which means you will have to pay for separate hosting. And It can be confusing to learn at the beginning and takes time to set up properly.
Wix has become increasingly popular over the past few years, especially for creativity-based businesses.
Wix is self-hosted and easier to use than WordPress. It also offers upgrades for email management and shop integration to keep everything in one place.
However, Wix is not as customizable as WordPress, and doesn’t have as many options for businesses looking to scale.
Lots of businesses start on Wix only to realize that it doesn’t serve all of their needs as they grow. But when they decide to switch, the process is complicated and confusing.
HubSpot websites come with their own CRM, Customer Relationship Management software, and offer great marketing options.
Hubspot is built to support small business owners, but is limited in what it can offer. The platform is great for landing pages and small websites, but is not as customizable as WordPress.
Squarespace is another self-hosted, easy to use option for building your own website. They have tons of ready-made templates to help you get your website up and running in a shorter period of time.
However, they are limited in what they can offer and do not work with many popular integrations.
WordPress.com is the self-hosted sister of WordPress.org. The dashboard is similar, and it offers a similar user experience to WordPress.org.
However, the domain for one of these sites does not belong to you and many important plugins and integrations cost extra money.
In order to decide which website platform is right for you, you will need to do some research and figure out exactly what you want your customers to do on your website.
Do you want them to opt-in to your email list?
Do you want them to purchase your products directly from your site?
Do you want them to schedule appointments through your site?
Will you be updating the website yourself, or hiring a professional to do it for you?
These are all things to consider when deciding where you will park your website because once you have chosen your domain and begun building it, moving your website to a different platform is a huge hassle.
Websites offer a lot of benefits to businesses and customers alike. People who are searching for what your business offers need a way to find you online and access your products and services.
Every small business should invest in their own website, and take control of their own online presence.
There are many options for building your website. Figure out what you want your website to do for you before you choose how you want to build your site.
Then, either hire a professional, or take some time to learn how to make the website yourself.