Why you need a website
Social media platforms like Facebook, Snap-chat and Instagram are great! They’re fun to use and they keep us sharing and connected. They all provide a way for us professionals to present and share our work. So, is it really necessary to have more presence than that? Yes. All serious professionals need their own web presence.
Social Media by itselfRight now, you might be relying on just social media to showcase your talent, work, experience and ability. By using social media, you can definitely grow an audience and relationships within it. Your followers can learn more about you and what you do, and connect with you. These platforms are a great way to do this. There is a downside to using only social media to promote yourself, and that would be the “algorithms” that they use. Algorithms are basically a set of mathematical calculations that determine how your content gets displayed. They are changed and updated frequently, and that affects the way users see your content. Sometimes “paid” content has priority over un-paid posts. Entrepreneurs’ solopreneurs and creatives sometimes pay for sponsored posts or social media advertising, just to stay visible and relevant. This is one reason why professionals need their own web presence.
Why Social Media isn’t enoughIf social media is the primary way you nurture an audience, there are a few things you need to know. Social media platforms, like Facebook, use a time based news feed, so photos that you post will be seen lower in your feed, as you post newer content. To be able to see older posts and content, your followers have to scroll for them or visually search for specific content or photos, and possibly search your albums. As you can imagine, this is frustrating, and they may never find that week-old post they were looking for. Not good. You don’t need to stop using social media altogether, because it’s still important for connecting. It’s just not the best way for promoting your work, skills, abilities or brand.
Owning your own spaceWhen you buy your own piece of internet “real estate”, you now have your own dedicated space to present your work, share your story, and provide a place for interacting and connecting. You’re the one who gets to decide how to use that space. You’re no longer relying on a platform that you can’t control, and your current and new audience members will be able to find your new space if you continue to engage on social media and let them know your new address. Another reason why professionals need to focus on getting their own web presence! Owning your own domain name (“something.com”) is an important part of establishing your web presence. It helps build online credibility and a personal and professional reputation. If people can find you on the Web, they’ll be able to do business with you. Your domain name and a web platform are the first steps towards a stable, credible web presence. A well designed and professional looking platform translates into credibility for you. It provides a sense that you’re serious about what you do and that you’re serious enough to invest time and money into the thing that you’re passionate about. It doesn’t have to be expensive at all. There are many options. I’ll continue to write about them, and for now, here’s a handy downloadable, free guide.
To have your own dedicated web presence, you need three things:1. your own your domain name (“xyz.com”) 2. a reliable hosting provider 3. content to share. When you have your own web presence, on your own platform, you can decide how to present your work and give yourself priceless opportunities, like being able to reach the larger global community, provide value, help others, and establish a following….all without buying social media ads or paying to “promote” posts. A harsh reality of owning your own web space is that people won’t find it overnight. It can take a long time to establish an optimal search engine ranking. One particular reason for this is that Google ranks websites and domains higher the longer they’ve been around. Your web space and brand will grow over time, and your traffic will increase organically. So, learning some basic SEO, or hiring some help, and creating a stable web presence on your own platform sooner rather than later, are always good ideas.
GREAT REASONS TO OWN YOUR WEB PRESENCE:
Your workA website is a place of business. It’s where you communicate with people, grow a fan base, and sell or promote products and services. Your own web space, in the form of a dynamic, visually engaging, content-rich website, has the power to create a web presence that: • represents YOU: your personality, work, voice, brand, and values. • gives you the power to connect and influence. • puts you out there as an expert and an authority in your area of expertise. • sets you apart from the hundreds of others who solely use social media. Making yourself available to the world like this can lead to unbelievable personal and professional growth. A noteworthy point to make here is that your web space will be accessible by all kinds of devices; phones, tablets and laptops, just to name a few. You site will truly be available to anyone, anywhere, who has a device that can assess the Web.
Content MarketingCreatives create because we enjoy it. “Creating” is part of who we are. Wouldn’t it be nice if someone appreciated our creations enough to pay us money for them? It happens all the time, with content marketing. Content marketing is a type of marketing that focuses on creating, publishing and distributing subject matter to a specific audience. When people go online to research products or services that you provide, you need to have your own web presence on your own web space, if you want them to find you and learn about what you do and provide. Having your own web platform also means that you can find out what your audience is looking for, and then publish content that’s relevant for them. When you publish content that your audience wants, and make it available on your site, they will come. You can use social media to spread the word. Content marketing draws visitors to your web space and gives them an opportunity to find out who you are and what you do. It’s a type of “inbound” marketing, and it’s the opposite of “pushing” ads out to people. Inbound marketing is very cost effective: online marketing researcher, Hubspot, found that inbound marketing-leads cost 61% less than outbound leads do.
Using AnalyticsUsing analytics tools (like Google Analytics) allows you to learn about your visitors and how they interact with your site. Google Analytics is free, and easy to set-up. Some things you’ll learn about your visitors are: • whether they accessed your site by mobile, laptop, or tablet • the pages they visit on your site • where they are geographically located when they come to your site • how long they look at your content • whether they’re a first time or repeat visitor • If they’ve read more than one page on the site • whether they’ve made a purchase (if you provide that ability) All of this information is useful when you’re planning a marketing strategy.
SalesA web platform can be the place where you sell your work or products, and the great thing is that sales can happen 24/7. You can test and experiment with products and pricing, and by introducing new products or services to see how they’re received.
Your voiceWhen you own your web space, you’re no longer limited by geographic location. Your place of business is anywhere in the world people can find your web presence. Owning your web presence allows you to share your values, thoughts and ideas with the world. Blogging gives you a forum to create thoughtful and valuable content and a way to share your story and journey. These give you a voice, and the capacity to influence.
Your reachThere are nearly 4 billion Google searches every day. At any time, a potential new customer or fan could discover you! Owning your web platform means that your content is always available, all over the world, and allows people from anywhere and everywhere to find you and discover what you’re about.
Your credibilityHaving your own web platform helps to build your credibility and reputation as a professional. People expect to be able to find a dedicated web-space for any well-known Creator: artist, author, designer, photographer, producer, musician etc. If someone looks for you on the web and can’t find you, it could send the wrong message. When your followers can find you online, it tells them you are serious about what you do. Your credibility and reputation grow as your web space gets more visitors. Visitors may get to your site directly from other sites that share your audience and choose to link back to your web space. This is called “back-linking”, and it’s a valuable practice. It’s like getting massive approval or a meaningful positive reference from these other places that have a common connection to your audience. You can grow your credibility by engaging on social media and with relevant “event” websites, bloggers, galleries and any others who share your audience. Share links to your content. Chime in. Provide value. They may love it that you provide value to their audience and want to link back to your website. Questions? Contact me: [email protected] or My Contact Page Other articles you might like: -6 Tips to Make Your Blog Post SEO Friendly -Using images: Tips to improve your SEO rankings -Why you should have a customer thank-you page
About the authorI developed Image and Aspect because I believe that professionals need to have an impactful web presence. One that showcases their unique talents, skills, and abilities as well as their values and style. A presence that focuses on social engagement and connection. I’m passionate about what I do; I like helping fellow humans, I like having all kinds of social connection with others, and I want to give back, to make the world a better place. I do much of the designing and coding myself, and I also have a wonderful network of professionals that may contribute as well; photographers, copywriters, branding experts. I love designing and coding beautiful, elegant and responsive web creations. I ALSO teach and help others who want to learn how to do it themselves. ‘Tips and Snips’ is my blog, and it’s full of information and inspiration to help transform any online persona from “meh” to AMAZING! Sign-up HERE to get blog posts right to your in-box every Friday! I write about Design, Marketing, Search Engine Optimization, Branding, Vlogging, Color Theory, HTML5, CSS3, Bootstrap, WordPress, Social Media…anything you’d want to know to get yourself noticed online. Visit Image and Aspect to learn more about your web presence options Diane M. Metcalf, M.S.