Guest Post – Why I Launched a Website Early in My Business Journey
by Gillian Duncan
When you are in the early stages of building your business, it’s easy to get lost in the plethora of information and advice that’s out there.
You quickly become overwhelmed by it all and it’s easy to get caught up in the recent trends presented on social media by the latest ‘all-knowing business guru’, and get distracted from what is important for building a solid base for your own business.
For me, that solid business base includes having a website.
So, read on to discover why I launched a website early on in my business journey, and why I had this in place before building my social media pages up.
Starting a Business? Start with a Website
As you browse through your social media platforms, you will read all about one successful entrepreneur after another who will tell you that you don’t need a website to start your own business. Like them, you can conduct your business through your social media pages and cut out the need to build and maintain a website.
This all sounds great, particularly if you haven’t a clue where to start when building a site of your own.
Soon, you start to think that cutting out the time and money needed to build a website is the more attractive option. Why not just have your business based on a social media platform or another shopping cart service, like eBay or Etsy, and get rid of the hassle of having to maintain your own site?
Well, there are many reasons why I don’t agree with this advice, and through my own experience, I would not recommend starting a business without having a website. Here is my reasoning…
1. A Website Brings Your Business to Life
In the ‘good old days’, I remember that when you required the services of another person, you would need to physically visit their shop or office.
When you visited their place of business, you could get an instant feeling of whether this is someone you would like to do business with, or not.
If you walked in, and their place of business was neat, organised and friendly, then this was a great sign. On the other hand, if you entered a place where it was dirty, untidy or you were ignored, then you would, no doubt, quickly turn on your heels and leave.
Times have changed. There are fewer businesses working from an establishment that is open to clients. Many are choosing to work from home, or from hired on-demand offices and warehouses. Also, as the internet makes the world a smaller place, we are conducting more and more business world-wide, and this makes it impractical for us to physically visit every person we wish to do business with.
Even though your potential client may not be able to reach your place of business physically, the same ‘house rules’ still apply. Clients still want to visit a place where you call ‘home’.
They want to see that you have a presence online that is unique to you and your business.
They want to be able to check you out and get that feeling of whether they want to do business with you or not.
By building your own website, you are able to showcase to your potential clients what you do, who you are, what your core beliefs are in your business and how well you serve your clients.
This helps you to build credibility with potential clients, as they can see exactly who they would be dealing with and the quality of service they would receive from you.
Having this resource for your clients is important from Day 1 of your business. If it is not in place, you may lose clients as they may not have the same trust in you as a business.
Remember, your website will contain important information such as Terms and Conditions, Disclaimers, Returns Policies, Contact Details, and all other information that gives your potential customers reassurance that they are dealing with a legitimate, trustworthy business.
This, for me, is more important than having a good Facebook page. In fact, I personally shy away from working with any business that does not have a website to back up any social media presence, and this leads me on to my second point.
2. With Your Own Website, You Are Boss
Social media is great for increasing the visibility of your company and networking with other businesses.
Shopping cart sites such as eBay, Amazon and Etsy are a great way to increase sales and reach a larger audience.
However, these options are not great for solely hosting your business on.
You do not own these platforms.
If they all disappeared tomorrow, so would your business.
If you lost all your social media contacts, you wouldn’t get them back. These contacts have not given you their permission to contact them outside of the social media platform.
Not only that, but they also control the content that you post on their sites.
For example, there are rules and regulations as to file sizes, words used, number of hashtags in a post, what you can and can’t sell, and sometimes how many posts you can make in a day.
It’s all controlled by other people.
For example, I recently tried to sell a pair of kid’s golf shoes on Facebook marketplace. We bought them for my son, but he took a growth spurt and they ended up never being worn. So, I thought I would list them on Facebook to see if someone else needed them. My listing was banned.
Why? Golf shoes have little spikey grips on the sole. This was the reason. They are considered dangerous.
Yes, I know. I felt like the worse mother ever, giving my kids something as dangerous as golf shoes to wear!
Seriously though, this shows that there are always going to be limits, rules and regulations that these other sites will have over your business and how you choose to run it.
Having your own website in place means that you can be free to list the content that you want to share with the world. It’s not controlled by a third party.
If the platform you sell or advertise from goes down, you still have your business running smoothly in the background. It won’t affect the core of your business.
This leads me on to my third point.
3. You Can Use Your Website to Create Your Contact List
Your business won’t get off the ground until you have a contact list.
From the very start of your business, you should be looking to grow your email list.
You will find this very hard to do by using social media platforms alone.
You may have a thousand ‘likes’ on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, but that really means nothing in terms of business growth.
You need these people’s email addresses for you to reach out and find out what they need from you and make those sales.
As I mentioned before, if your social media platform goes, so does your contact list. If your sales platform vanishes, so does your customer list.
The only way to ensure that you secure a contact list is by setting up your own website to request and capture your client’s details.
So, these are my own 3 main points as to why setting up your website is so important for your business right from the start.
I set up my site before any other platforms so that;
- I would have that solid core in place in which to refer clients to so they could see for themselves my work, my values and my offers.
- I had a place where I could call ‘home’ to my blog posts, podcasts and membership site. A place where I was free to express my business in the way I wanted it to be.
- I could grow my email list from the very start. A list that is grown with true respect of current legislation and my client’s rights. It takes time to grow a list, so I knew this was important to help get my business off the ground.
Remember that your business website is the address that you will send everyone to.
When people ask, ‘How can I find you?’, ‘What else do you do?’, ‘Do you have more information?’, you send them directly to your website address, as you will have everything listed there – all in one neat, convenient spot.
With this in mind, make sure your business ‘home’ is a place where clients want to stay and have a look around. If you are not sure how to do this, or need help building your site, then ask for help, and make sure you start your business with a solid core.
Gillian is author, editor and podcast host at Clarity Junction, a website that focuses on finding a clearer path forward for women when they come to a natural cross-road in life. Gillian is also author of the book, ‘Sleep: Cure Your Insomnia, Improve Your Health & Feel Better Now‘, which is a holistic approach to improving the quality of your sleep. You can find more about Gillian, her book and Clarity Junction at www.clarityjunction.com