Building Your Own Website - Introduction
I have a couple questions that I'd like to answer for you before I give you some tips on building your own website:
1) Why do you need a website?
2) What is its specific purpose (or what should it be)?
Your website is your own personalized home base on the internet - like your own personal office or storefront where people can stop in to learn more about you and buy your stuff or services. Every business and entrepreneur needs to have a place where people can go to find out if they want to do business with them. While social media sites are critical for marketing your business, if you are relying on them solely to represent you and your business, you are missing a huge opportunity.
Social media is for communication, your website is for information.
Even the most popular social media services don't offer everything that you would need to create your online home base for your business. And you must ask yourself: what is their priority for your social media page/account? Almost all of them just want one thing: more ad views. And lately Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are changing their services and policies to serve that exact purpose - and with no notice and on unclear terms.
You need your own online real estate that serves your priorities first and foremost.
You need full control of your space and your content so that your business is represented in the most effective manner possible online. And all social media outlets serve as avenues to drive people to your website.
Your website is NOT a digital resume/catalog/business card. It is not just a storefront either.
The primary purpose of your site is to reach new customers/clients along with continually engaging existing ones. Just like a physical "brick and mortar" store, you want people come in and check things out once they hear about you or see your display window. Once they are inside, you want them to stay and find out more, and spend some money. You want them to keep coming back for more. And you want them to tell their friends about you. Your website is at the core of all of this, which is why it is so critical.
Blogging is the number one way to regularly provide fresh content to keep people coming back to your site. But you can also use your social media accounts like Instagram, YouTube/Vimeo, Pinterest, Tumblr, etc. to add new content to your site by embedding their content (which can be automated), resulting in a back and forth between your website and your social media pages. Your website needs to be the place that draws all of your content to one central location, as opposed to having it all floating around out there in various places online. I like to think of your website as the axle of the wheel that is your overall web presence. Your website is in the center, driving and controlling all of it, keeping it all in sync.
As such, it should be the first stop for people doing web searches. When people Google your business' name, your website should be the first thing that shows up - not your Twitter or Facebook page. You have full control of your own website to do everything you can to make sure that it shows up at the top of search result lists. It's all about your website having the proper formatting to make sure search engines can absorb your information, and then providing good content to increase traffic and links to your site, which is how your site is shown above others.
In the next few blog posts, we'll look at the steps to set up your own domain and website, along some tips on content and integrating your site with your social media accounts. The goal is to get your system in place to reach more people via social media and search engines, and then keep them coming back.