The rise of social media over the last decade has given many entrepreneurs and small businesses an understanding and sense that they, in fact, don’t quite need to have their own website. And nothing could be further from the truth. Let’s recall the comedians who had a following of over 800k and were able to monetize their brand and comedy via Vine. From one day to the next Vine literally unplugged their service and just like that the Vine comedians lost their loyal following, their content (1-minute videos), and their income stream. Gone….poof. There is a gymnast who had over 1000 videos on YouTube, without any warning, his content has been taken down and over 90% of his content had been demonetized.
As a web designer and digital marketer, when I hear a business owner tell me that they have an active Facebook page with over 5,000 followers I congratulation them but also ask them if their followers are all subscribed to their email list and are they actually visiting their website. Social media platforms have the right to your content and they also have the right to modify the algorithm as they see fit for “their” business, not yours.
There is a solution: build YOUR own website! Your website is the digital foundation for your business. Your domain, your content, your mailing list. Facebook, albeit unlikely, could vanish tomorrow and how could you continue serving your customers, fans, loyal audience?
When you look at it through this lens, Social Media is where you meet them at the party but your website is where you invite and host them in your own home to your private offerings and where you will ultimately want them to convert into your customer.
When you have your own website you can create a membership website, take payments or donations, sell digital or physical products and services. You can make exclusive offers for those on your email list as many times as you’d like.
WordPress is by far the best platform to create a flexible and customizable robust website. Ultimately your WordPress website gives you the MOST control. Squarespace and Wix are ultimately not your websites, you are renting or leasing space in their platform. You’re content again isn’t quite yours. What this means that if they decided tomorrow they reserve the right to take it from you. Even if you were to change your hosting company, with WordPress, it’s YOURS. You own it and can take it with you when you move to another hosting provider.
The hosting companies that I have recommended to clients are DreamHost and WP Engine. Either of these, offer WordPress out of the box so it is fairly simple for you to install WordPress with the click of a button, literally. Once you’ve installed your WordPress you are ready to start designing your website! If you are a Do It Yourself-er and don’t know where or how to start I recommend spending some time learning about Web Strategy, Design, and User Experience. Or you can fill out a project inquiry form so you can learn about my process using the Growth-Driven Design method to build a custom website.
If you would like to try to build your own website pages and forms, there are many ways to go about this. You can use the text or visual editor within WordPress, or you can use the Divi Theme and Divi Page builder to build your own custom website using drag and drop rows and modules. You can also download just about any plugin for the function you are looking to add to your website, which is why what makes WordPress so expandable and customizable to suit your business goals and needs.