Several times in the last few weeks I’ve heard people question whether they need a website as a solo-preneur. I’ve also heard several messaging coaches suggest that as an individual you don’t need one at all.
I totally disagree with them.
Every small service based business and entrepreneur (consultant, CPA, VA, Lawyer, talent manager, business coach, mindset mentor…) should have more than just social media working to get eyes on their business.
There are so many reasons you and your business can benefit from having a website, that I recommend at the very least having a one page site…especially if you’ve been taking on clients for more than a year.
- Customers Expect A Website
- First Impressions Matter
- Control Your Own Brand Narrative
- 24/7 Calling Card
- ‘Easier’ Marketing & Visibility
- Set Yourself Apart From Your Competition
- Build Trust & Establish Credibility
- Showcase your expertise through offerings and work
- Show Social Proof
- Educate Your Audience
- Understand & Connect With Your Audience
- Own Your Data
- World Wide Visibility
- Grow Your Audience
- Immerse Visitors in the Experience & Attract Leads
- In Summary…
I’ve posted about this in the past, so you know this is something I’m passionate about, but it’s not just because I’m a web designer. I truly try to partner with the entrepreneurs I work with because I know by myself I can only make so much of an impact to better this world. When I support others, the impact becomes larger.
Customers Expect A Website
Approximately 73% of small businesses have a website (Fit Small Business )
How many times have you heard about a business and immediately did an online search for a website to see what it’s all about?
We’ve all done it. Someone or a service is recommended and it’s almost automatic to whip out the phone and look it up.
But what do you feel when you can’t find them online? It leaves a twinge of doubt in your mind, right?
Even if you’re hearing about them word of mouth from a super reliable source, how can you get in touch with them if they aren’t anywhere online?
Put yourself in a position to be findable and reachable by the people you want to serve.
Don’t be the best kept secret!
A website of any size signals to many that you are legit and professional. Bonus if your website reflects the quality of service you provide. Because…
Once the website’s pulled up on the screen we make a snap judgment about the business or quality of the services, right?
First Impressions Matter
We all know that first impressions matter. It’s true when you’re meeting someone on the street as well as encountering a business for the first time. I know we all say we don’t do it. But in reality we do.
That’s why it’s important that your website reflects the quality of the service you provide.
A website allows you to start crafting the narrative of your brand through the way you show up online.
Control Your Own Brand Narrative
You can post all you want on social (a good thing!) but the only things you can control are the images and voice with which you post. As people scroll so quickly, your ‘brand’ has a harder time standing out.
Your website is created to reflect you and your services. The design, content, branding and overall vibe of your site is created to reflect your own personality. Your site is creating the experience of your brand.
Your website lets you control this more than social ever can.
Search engines ‘scrape’ your website. That’s how they know to show your site in search results. When you use words and key phrases that your ideal audience is searching for, you’ll be more likely to show up in search results.
Even when your social shows up in those search results, it doesn’t greet the visitor in the same way as when they land on a website that reflects you. It also lands them in a place where there is less of an overall picture of what you do and where their first inclination is to scroll.
It’ll be harder to be ‘found’ without a website.
24/7 Calling Card
I keep hearing more and more about people getting burned out.
There’s so much pressure to post to social who knows how many times a day/week/month.
I attended a virtual retreat recently where the host shared what she thought was the ideal working schedule.
She broke down a 40 hour work week like this:
- spend 14 hours doing sales activity (connecting)
- 6 hours actually in sales conversations
- 8 hours reaching out to past clients or leads
- 4 hours nurturing people on your list
- 2 hours creating content for and posting to social
- 12 hours generating leads
- 4 hours doing actual client work
- 4 hours taking care of your business backend (finances, etc)
All Ultimately to get only a handful of clients. No wonder entrepreneurs are burning out!
Is there a way to take some of this off your plate? Maybe not completely, because we should all be reaching out and attracting clients, but should it all be us chasing leads? Or are there steps we can take to ‘be present’ all the time and increasing the likelihood of leads come to us?
A well-created, strategic website can act as your 247 calling card. You still need to do a little work to point people to it. Yet it can be an effective tool in your toolbox when used alongside social…rather than relying entirely on social, which is what this coach recommended.
‘Easier’ Marketing & Visibility
A website can act as a central hub online for your business.
All of your social can point back to it. One place to share all of your important information. That info can easily get ‘lost’ and spread out on a social feed.
Going hand in hand with discoverability, if you blog, you’re creating more opportunities to use words and phrases people are searching for, and you’re also creating more material to share on social. This in turn will make people want to head to your website and learn more about you.
Once on your website, people can sign up for a valuable freebie (often called a lead magnet, freebie, or opt-in), which in turn grows your list. Once you have a list you can nurture your ideal audience. (Bonus that your opt-in can be something you offer on social to lead people back to your website, too!)
Set Yourself Apart From Your Competition
Show up with your own branding & message on your website and immediately set yourself apart from your competitors. You may ultimately have a very similar end-product or serve to inspire the same transformation, but you do it with your own special sauce.
A website lets you show up in your own online space filled with your personality sharing offers best suited for your ideal audience. On social the only thing to set you apart is the image you choose to stop the scroll.
Set yourself apart visually and draw people in.
Build Trust & Establish Credibility
48% say the number one way they decide on the credibility of a business is determined by the web design (Forbes)
The content you create on your website isn’t just for discoverability or for making your marketing easier. It also builds trust and credibility.
A well designed site adds to credibility and legitimacy simply by existing!
A website provides one single place to display testimonials, reviews and contact information. These are usually individual posts on social and can very easily get lost in the scroll.
I hate to add this point, but social can be filled with not-so-honest people who are showing up similarly to you. Having a website adds to the legitimacy, especially when you can back it up with blog posts and external links to published articles.
Showcase your expertise through offerings and work
You can share your offers on social media via your profile/bio. You can share them on Google My Business.
However it can be a little harder to see the overall picture. Again, people tend to see one post at a time and look at profiles when wanting to hop over to a website to learn more.
It’s just so much easier to point people to your website. There you can share your offers in greater detail. You can even state the first step to working together to get the process started.
You can then back it up by pointing people to your expertise (blog posts/articles/listings of published works).
Include a portfolio on your site to showcase examples of your work. This is so much easier to do on a website than on social.
Show Social Proof
You can, of course, create social bios/profiles that include social proof. The following stats show how important social proof is:
79 percent of people say that user-generated content highly impacts their purchasing decisions (such as images, comments, reviews, videos, and so on that have been posted by users on online platforms) (Stackla, 2021)
And “73% of consumers trust business after seeing that it has positive reviews.
However, typically on social media these reviews get scattered throughout your feed.
Sharing reviews, testimonials, client comments via video, etc, all in one place on a website make it easier for prospective customers and clients. They can see in a snapshot that your services are recommended and this makes a much bigger impact.
Posting these to social as well as to your website serves to keep other’s recommendations for you in front of your followers. Another way using social and your website together is great!
Educate Your Audience
Similarly to building trust and credibility by having a website, you can also educate your audience.
Create content for more than simply sharing on social to be seen on social.
Create blog posts that showcase your authority by helping your audience understand what you do and how.
Educate your audience.
Answer their questions before they know they have them.
Use your site as a platform to bring them to the place they need to be to hire you. After all, 47% of buyers see between 3 and 5 pieces of content before engaging with a sales rep (source: Lead Pages)
Don’t be afraid to integrate videos into your blog posts, especially when we know people learn differently. Including videos on a website can increase time spent on page by 88% according to Forbes and other sources.
Create newsletters for your list that echo this education. Point them back to your site for proof, or share a snippet of a post with a link back to the content on your site.
Give them resources to learn more about the topic by including links to other posts or external sources to show your audience know you understand what they are struggling with and trying to learn.
Using your website alongside your social is a great way to do this!
Understand & Connect With Your Audience
Educating your audience and filling in the gaps of their knowledge through blog posts is great.
Sharing what you know to help them understand better can also generate comments.
Keeping an eye on social media likes and comments can add to this, too.
Gathering feedback from both your website and social gives you a more full picture of understanding your client than relying on one or the other.
Feedback allows you to create more content that your audience is interacting and engaging with. This lets you connect with your audience even more.
Own Your Data
You completely control the content on your website. It’s not subject to a social media platform’s algorithms.
Your website can offer insights into your audience. Once on your site they are consuming only your content without the temptation to scroll away.
Visitors can sign up for your list. You own the list.
You can’t really own anything on social media, it’s like rented property. You can use it for a while and call it your own, but ultimately it belongs to the landlord. We’re hearing about people’s profiles and pages being taken down. It seems to be happening more often. What happens to the people you were nurturing there?
Own your data. Use to it figure out what your audience is consuming…and create more!
World Wide Visibility
More and more of my friends are intentionally limiting their social media use.
Keeping your business only on social is limiting your visibility to only those on whatever platform you choose. Within that platform, the algorithm is limiting your posts to only a certain sector of your entire audience as well.
A website allows you to be searchable by anyone, anywhere, not just the people who are on specific platforms.
By sticking with only social media, you’re unintentionally limiting the size of your audience. Even though we all know speaking to everyone is like speaking to no one, when you are speaking only to a social media platform audience you’re cutting that number drastically. Having a website increases the opportunity for more to find you.
I’ll say it again: Put yourself in a position to be findable and reachable by the people you want to serve.
Grow Your Audience
High quality content that showcases your authority has a much longer ‘shelf-life’ on your website than it does on social media.
I’ve seen some statistics that social media posts have a shelf life of only 48 hours at most. Blog posts on a website are still showing up in relevant search results 2+ years after being published.
Maintaining a website reflective of your quality services with blog posts to nurture your audience has the potential to continue growing your audience longer than posting to your social accounts.
Your audience is different than your list of leads…
Immerse Visitors in the Experience & Attract Leads
It’s hard to create an experience for potential clients in social DMs, even with a buttoned up process.
When people read your social posts they can get a feel for who you are, what you do, who you do it for. They can catch a glimpse of working with you. But it’s still almost at an arm’s length because it’s just a social post. It’s not the whole picture of your brand surrounding what they’re reading or seeing..
On your website you can go a little deeper. Your personality can really shine. Your visitors can learn more about you in a way that truly matters and lets them understand if you are right for them.
Your website can provide an experience for visitors to walk through.
You can offer a freebie on your site to build your list.
Include calls to action to schedule/book a call.
Provide other ‘next steps’ easily on a website. And draw a visitor closer to taking that action through a site as opposed to social posts or a social profile.
All of these are in the context of your overall website surrounded by your branding, your personality, your words and tone of voice. Every step through the process is a touch point that can reflect your brand.
This immerses the visitor in the experience.
When used together with social, the experience can have all these touch points, which serve to reflect your brand:
- Someone reads a social post
- They head to your bio and see a link to your website.
- They read about who you serve and how, maybe a blog post or two
- Then check out your freebie description and sign up for it
- They see a couple social posts that reinforce you know what you’re talking about and start seeking out your emails.
- They receive a few emails with short descriptions of a blog post or two
- They click on the link to read more
- They realize you are the one they need to work on their project…
- They click a link to go back to your website
- They click that Call To Action on your website to start the process by booking a call.
You may be wondering if you really need a website when there seems to be such an emphasis on social media, but take a minute and think about who you serve, where they are, and how you can be seen by them.
- Is social media truly enough to convey your message, your values, your beliefs?
- Will the people you serve actually be able to understand your business as a whole when seeing a post here and there as the platform algorithms allow?
- Or would it be better to create one online home, and have everything you do point to that one place where people can see the bigger picture that is your business?
If you’re just starting out, social might be enough for you to figure out who your ideal audience is as you narrow down the services you offer, but a one page website will help get a few more eyes on your business.
If you’re a year or two in, a one page website might be enough to convey your brand message and values as well as showcase your offers. This may possibly include an opt-in along with a sign-up and thank you page (3 page website) giving your ideal audience a taste of your brand experience.
Or maybe you need a website with pages for each of your offers where you can provide more detail, as well as an opt-in and calendar integration so people can book a consult call right from your website? You want to give them a total experience while they’re there on your site.