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Do I Need a Website?

I see many virtual workers putting off starting their businesses because they don’t have a website. I think this is a mistake. Why put off your dreams? When I mentored people through the International Virtual Assistant Association, I always suggested they just make sure their LinkedIn profile is very complete and then go after it. Start that business.

But, it always comes back up again.

Do I need a website?

The short answer is “yes”

The longer answer is “eventually.”

Let’s delve into that some. If you own an online business, at some point, you need to have your own place for hosting your information. There are a couple of analogies I like to use for talking about websites.

The first one is to compare your online business to a brick-and-mortar business in that you need a place for people to go to learn more about you. This place needs to be owned by you. If you are just counting on people to get to know, like and trust you via social media, then that can be a dangerous plan. Those platforms aren’t owned by you. They can have outages at any time and they can block you at any time. By now, we’ve all heard of Facebook jail. So, even though you want to get your business started and can certainly use social media to do that, especially LinkedIn, you will still want to budget some of your time to create your “own home” instead of a rental.

What should I put on my website?

This is where my second analogy comes into play. I encourage you to think of your website like a wheel. The website is the hub/center of the business. The spokes are going to be things like your social media, blog, emails, lead magnets, ads. . . everything you do needs to lead to the website where they are going to be able to actually purchase your products or services.

You need to keep SEO in mind when building your website. This is why I highly encourage you to have a blog. Do you need to post every day? No. Even once a month is helpful. Google needs a place to search for you. A way to find you to share you with your potential clients.

Also, you will want to put your biography, some testimonials, what your services are and how to get them set up on your website. And, definitely don’t forget to add your social media links. If you use a drag-and-drop site like Wix, please note that there will most likely be social media icons already on there. Delete the ones you aren’t using and be sure to link the ones you are using.

How do I build a website?

This sounds expensive.

It can be expensive. If you are just getting started and don’t have a budget for business setup, you can begin with something simple like building a drag-and-drop website via Wix or Squarespace. My website was built in Wix and it’s been working just fine for me. I’ve built on it as I’ve built on my business. I have clients with Squarespace sites and they’ve been perfectly happy with those. I would encourage you though to at least reach out to a couple of web builders before deciding. Depending on what you want, it may not cost as much to build it in WordPress (the Mac Daddy for most people) as you think it would. It can’t hurt to find out. To find a designer, ask around in online groups you belong to as well as any networking groups or associations. Definitely don’t just jump on the first person you talk to. Like anything else, there are some good and bad designers out there.

If I build it will they come?

No. This is where you need to refer back to What Should I Put on My Website? Just because you have a website doesn’t necessarily mean people will visit it. You will need to put some work into marketing your site just like you market yourself. Make sure to list your site on all your social media and LinkedIn and any other places you have profiles built. Be sure it’s in your email signature. Get a Google My Business listing. Start a blog. Put it on your business cards and letterhead. Are you getting the idea?

Again, point your own spokes to your website. It’s a marathon, not a sprint to have a website work for a small business but eventually, you will have that space designed how you like it and fit your personality, just like your home.

Rebecca Paciorek is an Online Business Manager specializing in assisting in the growth of your business through traditional and digital means.

*I often recommend products and services that I use or that have been recommended to me by people we trust. In many cases these recommendations are accompanied by an affiliate link, which provides me with a referral commission should you click through and make a purchase.

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