Do You Need a Website to Build an Online Business? | Kathleen Celmins
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Do You Need a Website to Build an Online Business?

It seems like everyone has a website these days. Well, almost everyone. Maybe you’ve come across a small business or entrepreneur who doesn’t have a website and wondered if it was really necessary.

So do you really need a website to build an online business? Let’s think of it this way.

The ‘Free Property’ Analogy

Whenever people ask me whether they should get a website for their business or not, I like to use an analogy that should make their answer crystal clear. Let’s say that someone came to you and said: “Listen, I’ve got this really beautiful waterfront property that you can build whatever you want to build on it – rent-free. You will not own the land, but you can build whatever you want and I will be a benevolent landlord and you can trust. Take my word for it. Build for free.”

Would you do it?

No, of course you wouldn’t do it. Why would you spend all that time and energy building yourself the most beautiful waterfront home if you weren’t going to actually use it? Or if there was no guarantee that you would get to use it forever?

That analogy is what social media is. Building an Instagram profile or growing your YouTube channel is building on that free land.

What happens if that landlord changes their mind and says: “Alright, listen, I know you’ve spent the last however many years building this, but what I want now is $1,000 a day or you have to leave.”

So your choices are: 

A. Take everything you’ve built and let it go

B. Start paying to play

This is exactly what other platforms are starting to do. Again, this is exactly what other platforms do.

Your Website and Email List Are the Only Two Pieces of Real Estate You Own

If you focusing on these two, you are allowed to go play on other people’s waterfront property. However, without a website, you are at the whim of a landlord who is not historically benevolent.

My philosophy on websites is that they should not cost as much as a reliable used car and they should not take as long to create as it does to grow a baby. But you do need a website because a website is Step 0 in terms of building a marketing engine.

When you start building your website, you need to build it with an eye toward conversion, mobile responsiveness, and speed. In fact, speed kind of factors into all those other little pieces, because the faster it is, the more user-friendly it is and the more quickly it will load. Even if someone has crappy cellular data and they’re trying to look at your website.

Build a Website Because It’s Your Real Estate

Make sure that when you’re building a website, you are building a piece of real estate. Spend your energy, creating content for that site and creating copy so that when people end up on your site, they know where they are. You can reuse that copy however you want. But make sure that you’re doing it on YOUR platform first.

This tip is not just for the Instagram influencers that I know (but it is for them too). It’s also just another reminder that while it’s to share a post on LinkedIn or Twitter, you must tie it back to something that you own (ie. your website).

And at some point, you are going to need to build a marketing engine so that whatever you do on social is an add-on,  enhancement, benefit and the sprinkles on the cake. What you need is the cake and the layers of the cake and that is what is on your website. You can eat a cake without sprinkles, you can eat a cake without frosting, but you can’t eat a cake without cake!

So think of your website as that foundational piece and then build from there. If you need a simple website that is optimized for conversion, please reach out to me personally at KathleenCelmins.com/contact and let’s see if we can work together.

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