Some of you may not remember but it was quite common to have your own website at the beginning of the millenium. I'm talking about before the advancement of social media.
This was when it was necessary to build your own site if you wanted to have any hope of being visible online.And around that time, we began to see the rise of website builders.
But thanks to social media being a staple in our modern lifestyle, things have changed. It is now easy to create your own online presence, sell your skills, showcase your work and promote yourself.In fact, you don't even need a website if you want your audience to find you online.So why should you bother investing time and money in creating one?
Here is why...
Own your own land
With a self-hosted site, and if you are using WordPress, a managed WordPress hosting, you are in complete control and own your site. You decide everything:
- the destiny of your site
- how it appears for your audience
- the type of content
- how you want to brand yourself
- you don't have to share it with anyone
Social media platforms will never stop changing and evolving.It's no secret that the likes of Facebook tweak their algorithm all the time. This has made it much harder for you to have an organic reach to your audience on Facebook.
Twitter is facing a questionable future as they are struggling to keep up pace with their social competitors.
Snapchat may be on a rise right now, but you can argue that it may help build relationships with your existing audience. But for small businesses, Snapchat may not be the highest of priorities.
Google+...let's not bother.
At least with your own site, you can decide everything.
Social media platforms should help your site
That's not to say that social media does not have a place in your digital marketing strategy. If anything, social media can play a big part in supporting and growing your site.
It's not just about generating leads and bringing traffic to the site. Social media can play a major part with your site's branding plus engagement with your audience.
People forget that the key word in social media is social. So be social, engage with the community and mingle with the crowd.And don't forget, anything can happen to the social media (as well as any sites), like the case of Google+ shutting down.
Create your own voice and message
You don't have to follow other site's rule. You can decide how to convey your own message to your own audience.
For example, you want to write a guest post on a 3rd party site. But then they want to edit your content so that it matches their voice not yours.
I am a big believer in writing for other sites. It can help raise your profile, share your knowledge with a wider audience and build relationships with publishers.
But at the end of the day, you have to follow their rules.
Your site has no rules
Just like above on creating your own message, it's up to you to decide the rules for your website.If you want to write in 3rd person, that's up to you.
If you prefer to write controversial stories, be nice but really that's up to you.
If you are accepting guest posts on your site, you decide on the rules and what goes on the site.
Customisable for your own needs
You are limited to what you can do when it comes to customisation on other 3rd party platforms. If you want to remove the Facebook logo and adjust the colours on your own Facebook Page, you can keep dreaming.
If you want to adjust the wireframe of your Twitter feeds, that's wishful thinking.
At least with your own site, you can decide how you want to appear and its design. And even if you change your mind, or you want a refresh of your design, you can do that.
Try to do that on Medium or Facebook.
Understand your audience better
Some social media tools allow you to analyse your audience and how much reach you have. But it doesn't compare to the in-depth data you can get when installing and using the likes of Google Analytics.
It's such a powerful tool and the best thing about it – it's free!
Expensive to be found on social media
It's becoming more difficult to find you and your content on social media. Facebook's constant tweaking of their algorithm means that your organic reach has reduced.Your best bet is to spend money on Facebook Ads. But in fairness, it is a useful and powerful tool as it is well targeted and you can use it on a small budget.
You are taken more seriously
If you are looking for a service or to hire someone, would you prefer it if that person/company:
- has a website?
- Only has a Facebook Page to act as a website?
Your own personal website can help with your credibility and you are taken more seriously. You can even go as far as having both a website and a Facebook Page.But don't get lazy, as you still need to build your credibility over time.
See, you don't "need" to have your own site, but it is recommended.
You do have the added advantage of owning your real estate when it comes to your personal branding. And that's the biggest benefit.
One main problem with websites is that they are often static. Many people are either struggling to maintain their site or struggling to find the time to maintain it.
It is still worth having your own site even if you are not going to update it every single day (not that you have to...quality over quantity).For those using WordPress, you should still maintain it and do the necessary updates (it's important that you take web security seriously).
And if you are going to update it with fresh and high quality content, you will reap the benefits in the long run.