Writers, bloggers & online business owners, you need a website
If you own an online based business and are using someone else’s platform to sell your products and services, please read this post because you need a website.
I came across an old question and answer post on Entrepreneur.com today. The post was from 2004, and the question was, “Why do I need a website?” You can read the answer on their website because the answer is still valid today. In this post, I want to tackle this question from a different perspective. That of writers, bloggers and online business owners using platforms like wordpress.com, Blogger, Wix, Weebly to name a few.
Some bloggers and writers adopt various social media platforms as their own. Small shop owners have migrated to these platforms as well. Platforms like Wish, Etsy, Ebay are recruiting new shop owners every day and the list keeps growing. The competition is steeper than it ever has been online because the barrier to entry is so low. Some of these sites offer a great starting point but with so much saturation it’s getting more difficult by the minute to keep up.
Writers, Bloggers, and Websites, Oh My
Incredibly talented writers, bloggers, and online shop owners are using platforms like wordpress.com, Blogger, Wix, Weebly to name a few. Small shop owners have also migrated in droves to these platforms as well. Etsy is getting more saturated every day. The list of new platforms keeps growing and why not, the money’s great.
It’s wonderful to see so many talented people take the opportunity to turn their talents into a business but in the end, it is a business. In real life, no one lets you rent out space for free. It’s time we come to terms with the fact that Online is real life, and the “free” space they gave you is not free. For example, Etsy went from 50 million in annual revenue in 2012 to 240 million in 2016 according to their annual Income report. All from giving you “free” space to set up shop.
Free Platforms are More Expensive than you Think
You Need a Website
Every time I watch a youtube video I get this add, “You need a website.” This commercial is annoying but speaks the truth. I do need a website. I know wordpress.com is free and Blogger.com used to be an excellent way to get traffic. Now Wix, Weebly and a host of others are popping up. What more could you want? It’s free, easy, convenient and always available.
These hosts make it super simple for you to make a beautiful site and host it all for free. Why?
Why These Platforms Are Easy (Hint: It’s not about you)
The platforms make it easy to set up your site. Okay, that’s great but what’s the catch? Why would another platform pay for bandwidth to give you a free website? Not only a free site but free templates, support, and all the perks? You need a website, and they’ve come to the rescue, perfect. Remember, nothing is ever free, you’ll pay for it now, or you’ll pay for it later. The reason you’re getting a free website is they get to put ads on your site you don’t keep that profit, the platform does. These sites give you a false sense of ownership for your businesses.
Remember, nothing is ever free, you’ll pay for it now, or you’ll pay for it later.
You’re getting a free website because they get to put ads on your site. In concept, your site looks beautiful, but once all the platforms ads are plastered all over your beautiful shop walls, it’s just not the same. Your website looks tacky with adds popping up at inconvenient times and in the wrong places. The worst part is, you put in all the work, they place the ads, and you don’t keep that profit, they do. These sites give you a false sense of ownership for your businesses platform. Your hard work is bringing traffic to their site. These platforms put ads on your content. If you want the ads removed, you have to pay.
Growing Your Online Business on Their Terms
As your business grows and you want personal branding, you realize it’s not going to work out. These platforms charge for the personal touch and bandwidth for analytics. Even adding your logo to your tab costs extra. In the long run, this will cost you more than sucking it up and buying your domain and hosting on your own.
Besides, your growing up you need your space. Why pay rent and live by someone else’s rules? Not to mention, these sites are not yours. You can build a super popular blog with thousands of links and high traffic. What good are links and traffic if your site belongs to Google? FYI, Google owns Blogger.
Social Media, The Ultimate Borrowed Space
I know some people are thinking, I don’t need a website, everything I do is on social media.
Social Media is not Your Friend
Your friends may be on social media, and they may all love you. The platform, I don’t care which one it is, it does not care about you. It cares about your followers, and it cares about it’s advertising dollars.
The social platforms will do whatever it takes to get you to pay to play. I’m sure you’ve noticed your reach going down. I know I’m not alone here, because like you, I”m surfing all the Facebook groups too. You’ve also gotten at least one notice from Facebook telling you so and so paid $3 to boost a post like yours. This message is not a suggestion. It’s a warning. The message is, you need to pay to play. Don’t get me wrong, advertising is important to grow your following but what good does it do when you’re sending people back to a Facebook page or a blogging site?
Thier Platform, Their Followers
I don’t know how many times I’ve talked to someone who boasts twenty-two thousand likes on Facebook and not have their own site. Business owners are walking on thin ice here. Imagine all the love and hours that went into earning these likes. Now imagine it going down the drain when your platform of choice decides not to show fans and followers your updates.
These platforms should only be enhancements to your website, not your entire business. Who knows, they may kick you off for not following their rules. Twitter kicks you off for following too many people all at once for goodness sake. Now we have to pay to interact with our fans too. Social Media platforms are growing. They bombard us with ads. Almost every other post in my feed is promoted. Pretty soon there won’t be any room left in the feed for paid promotions much less an unpaid marketing message from you. Facebook is already weeding these out.
In fact, According to The Online Marketing Made Easy Podcast Episode #162 Facebook has already said they’re running out of room for ads in the newsfeed. No more space for paid ads means even less room for your blog news.
I don’t know about you, but I won’t run the risk of losing all my work and my entire business on what’s happening on someone else’s platform. If you know you need a website but don’t know where to start, stay tuned I’ll be talking about that next time.