You would think the whole “do I really need a website?” question would have been put to rest a long time ago. However, in recent months I have come across opposite sides of the argument questioning whether a website is necessary.
One end of the see-saw was a freelancer who’d used WordPress a few years ago, his search stopped working for some reason and he didn’t have the time or brain space how to work out how to fix it.
The other end was a startup person who would be classed as the ultimate early adopter, who thought having a website got in the way of the lean startup model. He was almost a year in and wondering where the customers were.
Both are time pressured and trying to push through their own projects with the minimal amount of hassle, and I get that. But frankly the “too hard” and the “not how startups work” answers don’t make ANY sense at all.
Your website isn’t for you
Freelancers need credibility in order to get work. People need to be able to check you out and see what you do, what you have done before and so on.
Startups need credibility in order to get customers. People need to get their head around the idea, see how you meet their problem solving needs and know you aren’t some scribble on butcher’s paper with no substance.
No website = No Google, which in turn means you aren’t giving your intended audience the opportunity to do a little bit of independent research about you.
The website isn’t for you, it’s for your customers. Make it easy for them to get to know you and peek under the hood at their leisure.
Your word of mouth champions need back up
Both freelancers and startups rely on word of mouth to reach customers. But what happens if your champions do a stellar job but don’t have anywhere to refer the curious to?
If you don’t have something that other people can easily share like a website or blog, a little bit of magic is lost. You can be forgotten, you can seem unprofessional, confusing and so on.
No website means those potential customers have nowhere to go to get their own impression after the seeds of curiosity have been planted. Worse still, if they’ve forgotten your name, no way to Google you via keywords and find you again based on what you do.
What a waste of word of mouth!
You can establish authority
One of the best ways to establish yourself as an expert in your field is by demonstrating how much you know on your website.
If you blog about what you understand and publish information that helps your customers on a regular basis, pretty soon your customers get a sense of how useful your approach is to their needs.
No website means a difficult journey in establishing an expert position on your chosen topic online. But a website brimming with useful information and personality will help allay fears, build trust and promote you as the right place to come to.
If you don’t, your competitors will
Do I need to explain this? Why languish in obscurity while your competitors are easily found, showing their work off, appearing dedicated to their craft and available for inspection?
Bottom line: Yes, you need a website if people want to Google you, read about you online, find you when they’ve forgotten your company name, when they are considering your competitors and generally get to know you.
Do you really need more reasons than that?