Do you even need a website?

Don’t get me wrong. Social Media is a great innovation. It’s a phenomenal way to communicate. It’s quick, free and easy and gives you good opportunities for feedback.

But is it all you need to promote yourself online?

Many small businesses run with just a twitter account and Facebook page. Often with the two linked (which in itself is suboptimal). If you promote to businesses you might have added a LinkedIn, some Instagram and perhaps even a periscope and YouTube channel.

But is that enough? Or do you need to think about getting a good, old website to pull your entire online presence together.

Perhaps you want to start a blog, to generate some interest, or draw people’s attention to an issue that you could fix for them.

Then perhaps you need your own online space.

But why?

1 – It projects professionalism.

You may or may not already own a domain. If not, it’s worth getting one because even just the e-mails offer a level of perceived professionalism. sales@yourbusiness.co.uk just looks better than yourbusiness@yahoo.co.uk. Social media is quick and easy and that holds true both for you and for scammers and cowboys. A permanent online base has an accountability that social media can’t offer. It gives an extra level of trust to your customers.

2 – It protects your message.

You own a restaurant and someone is looking for somewhere to eat that evening. Happening upon your Facebook profile it helps them make their decision. Result! Or possibly not, because of the advert on your page for the place up the road that offers 50% off on Wednesdays. Social media is run as a platform for advertising. Facebook, for example, follows people’s likes and interests specifically to use as advertising targeting. Facebook is designed so your competitors can promote themselves to your fans, on your page, after you used your content to attract them!

3 – A website allows you to be in total control of your online marketing.

It’s your space. You make the rules. You can control comments; you can do whatever you like on there. Want to run a mail-out to your twitter followers? You can’t access that information. You want to run that competition? With your own website, go for it. You won’t expect to get many negative comments, but they do happen, and with social media you have less control over what is visible on your platform.

4 – It will pull everything together.

Depending on your industry you might have reviews, hygiene ratings, TripAdvisor rankings, beautiful images of products or finished projects, testimonials, events, or photo galleries. You can host them all over the internet and let your prospective customers hunt around to find you, or have them in one place, and use your social media platforms to drive people there. Your strategy should have several spokes that connect back to one hub in the centre. A website is the hub of your online marketing.

5 – It makes you more visible online, and helps your ‘sell’.

One of the most important steps of entrepreneurship is finding or creating a market. And to do that, you need people to realise that they want what you have to offer. A blog is a great way to do that and regular content is also a fantastic way to get you noticed by Google. Your post won’t be vanishing away down people’s timelines the moment it’s posted. It’ll be front and centre. Meanwhile, if you are doing it on Social Media, all you are doing is helping their rankings. Go ahead and Google for ‘your industry’ in ‘your town’. How many of the top ranked results are individualI don Facebook pages? Have a look at the second, third or fourth pages. We’ll wait….

6 – It expands your reach.

Roughly half of the online population are active on Social Media. If you were not familiar with Facebook or Twitter, can you imagine trying to find useful information? But while more than half of the online population aren’t using social media, what they are is online elsewhere, and looking for you.

7 – It’s always there.

You’re not open for business 24/7, but your website can be. As a one-stop-shop for information on your business, that is easy to find and easy to use, it ensures that no matter when someone decides to look for you, they can find everything they need. They might not be able to give you a call, but with well thought-out, accessible content, they wouldn’t need to.

8 – It gives stability.

Imagine you were doing this back in the mists of time and put a lot of time and energy into setting up your business profile on Bebo or Myspace? Or Bolt.com (Which was once, apparently a thing). If Facebook decided to change colourscheme to something that clashed horribly with your brand, there’s not much you can do. Your website is yours. Forever.

9 – It’s cheaper than you think.

Marketing is full of big, bloated media companies who show you their pool tables and juice bars without reminding you who is paying for them. (Clue… It’s you…). But an online presence doesn’t need a team of people with huge overheads and Silk Partnership offers exceptional rates for build, design and ongoing management.

10 – You can do it yourself.

The idea of just knocking up your own unique website might make you stare at the screen in silence, blink a couple of times and then shudder. But the landscape has changed. You don’t need to spend thousands at a shiny web design company, charging you extra every time you want them to edit a page title.

Or if it is still too daunting, we can help you out. The days of shelling out vast sums on even the most basic of sites are long gone. Or at least they should be. So take a look at what we can offer and how little we can offer it for.