I’ve seen an increasing trend over the last few months claiming that you can start a business and even have a successful one without a website.
I’m not saying that there’s not some validity to that theory, but it’s a dangerous one for the long-term success of your business.
I get that I’m going to upset a few people, but keep an open mind and I’m going to break down just why you definitely need a website to grow and build a successful business long-term.
A Website Builds Trust
Let’s just get the big one out of the way. If you’re asking strangers on the internet for money, you need to build trust with them so that they’ll actually give you money. The great thing about social media is that you’re able to showcase who you are better than almost any other form of marketing that’s come before. That alone can build valuable trust with your target market.
However, social media alone isn’t going to make the majority of your market feel like they can trust you enough to turn over their hard-earned dollars to you either. We’re in a time when the average customer has a variety of ways to research you and your business, but more importantly, ways to research your competitors, too.
When your only online presence is Instagram and a landing page (that isn’t even at your own domain name), you run the risk of scaring people off. Are you a real business? Will you be sticking around to deliver on the product/service you claim you’re going to deliver on? Will you take their money and run? Can you prove the results that you’re claiming you can help them achieve?
You definitely don’t need a full, multi-page website to build trust in your business. In fact, you can do a lot with a single-page website. But you need to ensure that you’re answering questions, working on building trust with who your business is, and using a custom domain name. These simple things show that you believe in your business enough to invest a little bit in it first. Having a landing page built on ClickFunnels or another platform like that can show you’ll be gone as soon as you get the money; what goes up rapidly can also come down rapidly.
Websites are Long-Term Investments
Just like a landing page built on a platform can be thrown up rapidly and come down rapidly, it doesn’t do a lot for your long-term business growth.
Think of it this way. If you’re using a platform where the URL for your landing page is yourbusiness.funnelservice.com, you’re potentially driving the first of your business’s internet traffic to a space you don’t even own. This can be detrimental to you long-term when you’re ready to have a full website of your own, because Google and your customers are used to finding you at one web address. The other downside? You don’t often get to forward your information from that funnel-built page to a full website and you certainly don’t get the benefits of months of analytics and data when you move to a wholly new place.
When you start your business with a simple website (even one built on Wix or SquareSpace), you’re driving traffic and leads to a source you own not one you’re completely renting. You need to have your own custom domain name, too, because then it starts to build that brand recognition and trust in the longevity of your business. With even a platform-based website, you can have your own Google Analytics account and Facebook Pixel to track the data you need to get the most out of those leads. If you happen to move to a more custom platform like WordPress down the line, your data can migrate with you so you’re not losing months or potentially years of data on who visits your website and why.
Simply put, a website upfront can do more for the longevity of your digital marketing than almost anything else.
Google Likes Websites
The other important factor in all this? Google likes a full website over something built on a quick platform or social media account. If you want to get found organically through searches, there’s almost no way to do so and have your business be built largely on Instagram. While yes, Google somewhat indexes social media content, its ability to properly index that content is restricted by the social media platforms themselves.
If you want to be found long-term, your own website is about the only way to have any control over that.
You Control Your Own Website
Notice a pattern in what we’ve been talking about here? With your own website, you simply have more control over your business and how it’s presented. You’re not constrained by how many characters you can use in a post. You’re not affected by an algorithm and how much reach you can get. You’re not limited to the design aesthetics of the app you’re using.
With your own website, you get to be 100% in control – of the look, the branding, the way you tell your brand story, and how you connect with potential customers. You get to choose how they can communicate back with you, too.
So yes, while you can build a business on a social media platform, you’re doing so on rented land. It’s not yours, it’s theirs. Don’t take that risk with something as important as how you pay your bills.