I'm back home after spending the past 2.5 days in Atlantic City's Borgata Hotel for some meetings and one of the more interesting comments mentioned was whether businesses (and to an extension campaigns) need websites. This isn't the first time this has come up so that's why I decided to write a post on it.
Before I put some thoughts down, if you are an eCommerce site you need a website. Sure you can use Google Shopping/Checkout but that really isn't an online store for you. Yes you can go the Amazon-eBay route which will work in the beginning, but eventually you'll need an eCommerce site. Personally, I'm leaning towards not having my own corporate website and just go the blog route.
10 THOUGHTS YOU SHOULD HAVE BEFORE YOU SPEND BIG $ FOR A WEBSITE
- Website are often just static pages that tries hard to get you to return over and over again via SEO, bookmarks, emails, etc. Sure you can add blog components to keep content fresh, but if your site is not primarily about being a blog-news generating site, you are probably better off with other options
- Now if you have a blog, you probably notice that a lot of your readers get your content off-site via email or more likely a feed readers. You can still make money in the blog feeds with advertising and then if they want to make a comment they can click over to your site. However, notice that you can get your message out and brand yourself as effectively offsite as you can onsite.
- I don't know about you, but my traffic on my site has plateaued in the 150 daily page view range. Granted I've focused less on traffic in the past 6 months, but I get the majority of my traffic now to my blogs from Twitter links and SEO results.
- Twitter has changed the way you promote yourself and push information out. People subscribe to your brand to receive quick, pithy messages and then decided whether to dive in or not. Basically Twitter can act like your Outlook Preview Pane and once again remember people are primarily interacting with your brand offsite. Also, I personally have way more Twitter followers (560+) then I've ever had on my RSS subscribers or average unique website visitors.
- Social Network sites like Facebook have way more utility and way quicker updates then you can possibly have unless you are the king of spending like President Obama. Your brand in Facebook is more powerful because of the embedded tools, linking, widgets, and commenting functions embedded within Facebook's basic functionality.
- Have I told you that you can build a great looking website in about 1 hour of work by using Typepad or WordPress? Now it would be blog based which helps quickly generate content but the ease of use and price (basically cheap + consulting/design fees if you need help) makes it invaluable.
- You can even add in Google Checkout to process your eCommerce activity if it isn't too large of a store on your blog site.
- A combination of landing pages, YouTube channel pages, and Facebook profiles can deliver a cost effective and efficient marketing campaign. For example, here is the Captain Morgan for President page on YouTube which links over to the key page at Facebook. I can't go into the marketing details but this combination was very cost efficient at getting 20K+ Facebook supporters. Think of what you would know about your supporters with this efficient combination.
- A static website takes resources to keep running including an agency to host and build pages, plus some content management tools. The cost doesn't just stop once the site is built.
- Finally, think about how you are going to get traffic coming back and the tools you need to measure what people are doing on your site. That probably means Google for SEO and advertising and Analytics for your tracking. Big sites require big expenses for tracking while the blog-Analytics costs you around a cup of coffee.