I’ve had a few discussions with people recently about whether in these days of social media, you actually need your own website. I can see why small businesses or artists might question the benefit of a site. It takes some work and expertise to get the site looking the way you want it and also performing the way you need it to in search engines. With sites like Facebook making it so easy to create an official page, add your photos, calendar events etc, it can be tempting to just go with that. However there is a very important reason why you should create your own site and that is OWNERSHIP.
Your site doesn’t need to be huge, it could just have a couple of pages and pull in all of your social media links. The important thing is that it puts you in control and gives you a central point for your digital presence. Sites like Google Plus, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest do give you great spaces to promote your wares and engage with your fans or consumers. However you are at the mercy of the companies who run them. Look at Facebook, for example, their EdgeRank algorithm decides what appears in each user’s news feed. This means that you will frequently reach no more than 10% of your fans with any one of your posts, it doesn’t matter that they have elected to hear from you, they still might not. You never know what the next change might be on any of the social platforms. I really wouldn’t be surprised if premium, advertising free versions of the main social sites are launched in the future and then you wouldn’t even be able to top up your reach by paying for ads. That’s for another blog though….
The second element of ownership is that it gives you a place to launch your products or make your announcements from. You can drive to the site from your social media. The important thing is that if someone Googles your latest product innovation or event, they should find your site first. This way they will read the article in a fully branded area and there is an opportunity for them to discover more. Posts that you make on social media are less likely to surface in search engines due to the volume of posts made. Your excellent press releases may lead to coverage on other online media sites but you can’t be sure what other content your potential consumers will find when they get to those articles and you can’t control how things are positioned. With your own site you are in the driving seat, you will be at the mercy of the search engines to a certain extent but if you theme it up in the most relevant way and drive to it whenever you have the opportunity, it will be a real asset for you.