A Web Designer Answers Honestly: Do You Really Need a Website?
Some of you might be coming here with the knowledge that a website is absolutely essential to run your business. Others of you might be on the fence, wondering if it’s really necessary. I’m a big fan of transparency, soulfulness, and cutting the BS out of marketing/business practices. So I’m going to dig into this question with absolute honesty.
First, a Little (Obvious) Context
Humans have had businesses ever since they figured out how to exchange goods to meet their needs. No, they didn’t have fancy suits or business coaches. But they had mouths to feed and a soul to fulfill. So they found ways to get food, materials, and cultural artifacts that allowed them to express their individuality. (Geek alert: I’m an anthropology nerd.)
So that means we’ve been doing business just fine for thousands of years without the internet, social media, or websites.
But Then the World Changed
As we all know, the invention of the World Wide Web has taken everything our ancestors knew and turned it completely on its head. It’s contributed to a whole lot of amazing, helpful changes and global connections that didn’t really exist before. It made incredible things happen and social movements to create collective power.
But it’s also created lots of cultural, social, public health, and personal issues that didn’t exist before.
Your critique of depending on the internet to exist is well-founded, my friend. If you count yourself as a soulful kind of person, the tension between being online and being in the woods can be intense sometimes.
(I know it is for me.)
Soulful Marketing is Important
As I talked about more extensively in this post, I’m a big fan of soulful marketing and doing what works for you. Sure, there are glitzy entrepreneurs out there trying to sell you their secrets for the perfect Instagram feed, the ideal SEO strategy, or how to get to 6-figures in 6 months… But we all know that just because someone says we should do something doesn’t mean we really should.
Marketing, after all, is just a fancy (albeit loaded) word that means letting people know you’re offering services or products. It really is that simple. So who’s to say what is right for YOU? Only you, of course.
Where Websites Fit Into the Puzzle
I’m not the kind of person who tries to convince someone that they need a website when they really don’t. And, yes, there are still business owners who could do just fine without a website. (Yes, I — a web designer — really just said that.)
So let’s parse that out a little bit. Because I really want you to spend more time out in the woods, in your community, and with your people and pets.
Businesses That May Not Need a Website
You’ve been running your business for years without one — and you’re doing just fine.
Your business is focused on offering in-person, local services or products.
You have time to let your business grow organically and slowly.
Your services are in high demand and you really don’t need to even do marketing — clients just seem to show up.
You do something really innovative and unique that skips marketing and goes right to collaboration.
You’re in partnership with other businesses that do marketing for the whole team.
You have ethical issues with the internet and don’t want any part of it.
You prefer to fly under the radar, preferring instead to be present in your community to get clients — and you’re successful at it.
Business That Will Likely Need a Website
Your business venture is brand new and you’re trying to get a foothold in your community.
What you do is common in your area, so you need to find a way to stand out.
You don’t have time to let a business organically unfold — you need to get the word out quickly so you can create a sustainable income.
Your business is centered on working with people at a distance.
You want to sell products online and need a platform to do so.
Potential clients often ask “Do you have a website where I could learn more?”
Community members who refer to you often ask if you have a website they could send to referrals.
You need to automate some business activities (like scheduling) so that you’re not wasting precious time on admin — you want more time working with clients!
You want a way to fully explain who you are, what you do, and what clients can expect.
You know that this is the Age of the Internet and folks expect you to have some kind of online presence.
Reasons to Consider a Website Even if You Don’t Need One
Maybe you’re one of the lucky ones who don’t actually need a website. So why should you even consider it?
Websites allow you to fully explain yourself, show what you do, and answer simple questions ahead of time.
They help you filter people that wouldn’t be ideal clients — saving both of you time and energy.
You get to educate and inform — great for folks with a burning passion for changing their communities.
You might be asked to partner and collaborate with others more often.
Introverts might find that a website helps them to showcase their expertise and ideas in a way that isn’t as scary as doing so with strangers in public.
Some clients and customers might not want to reach out to you if you don’t have an online presence (may or may not be a dealbreaker, depending on your values).
You might find that having a website makes your business more visible, helping to create growth again if you’ve plateaued.
The Harsh Reality of Modern Business
They say don’t judge a book by its cover (let’s be honest, I love a good book cover), but businesses are constantly assessed based on their online presence. We’ve become a society that does its homework before buying. Long before clients reach out for a consultation or hit “Add to Cart”, they’ll likely be stalking your business on social media or reading everything you’ve got on your website.
If your website looks old, doesn’t work right on their smartphone, or is poorly made, they might make some assumptions about who you are and what you can really do for them. It’s not fair, I completely agree. But it’s the way our minds have been trained in these days of constantly evolving trends and ideals. It’s also kind of human nature.
That said, your ancient website might be just fine if you’re not really depending on getting business from it. But if it’s a driver of clients, you might do some asking around to find out how folks first perceived you based on your online presence. It might be uncomfortable to hear the truth, but — after all — business is all about personal growth.
The reality is businesses today depend on having a modern, cohesive, mobile-friendly website. BUT if you *really* don’t need it to run your business and you tend to steer clear of the internet, feel free to say no way.
If the end goal is to love what you do, feel happy in your business, live your values, and make a sustainable income, then do just that.
In Questioning-Everything Solidarity,
PS If you do need/want/love a website, feel free to book yourself into my calendar for a free 30-minute call. We’ll talk about your business, what you need, if you really need a website, and see if we connect. Can’t wait!