Picture this, you’re at a networking event and meet a potential customer/client and everything seems to be going well. You end your conversation with a bang by providing your business card with the hopes of connecting and building your business portfolio. As you head out the door you think everything is ok until you skim over the countless business cards that you yourself have collected and that’s when you realize something different about each one compared to yours. You realize you don’t have your website on yours, but in all actuality, you never had a website, to begin with. Can not having a website be that bad? I mean you lit up the room with your personality so much so that everyone came to you.
Well, the answer is yes! Because even with the charm and personality that you gave off at that networking event the truth is your objective for being there has been forgotten, your objective being to showcase your business or service. I mean think about it, do you remember most of the people you meet at those networking events? No! And, having a business card in your hand still leaves you to scratching your head as to how you came to meet, but having a website stamped to the card allows you the opportunity to refresh your memory. It gives you a clear understanding of not only what a company does but the backstory behind it. It shows you that the person you met means business, to some degree, and might spark your interest to at least want to book a one on one meeting over coffee. So, without further ado here are my thoughts on website platforms and why your business should be using at least one out of the 3 that I’m about to mention in 3, 2, 1.
Who Needs A Website
This one is rather simple but some people still feel like a website isn’t necessary when it comes to their business and can do without it, the only thing that I can say is best of luck with that one. Now, I’m not saying that everyone must have a website or else but not having one might actually cause more damage than good. I’ve even heard a few people tell me, “I don’t need a website because I’m on social media” as if they have full control over what they post on social media. Look… your business should be using some type of website platform if you have a business, are a professional or just want to showcase your skills and/or work, a website is even good for those with a mission that goes beyond the parameters that social media allows.
You see when you post content on social media you give them the right to do whatever and whenever to your ideas, work, etc. and at any time if they choose to they can close shop without notice and Bam just like that your hustle is done. In my personal opinion, a social media platform should be used to bring people to your website and I’m not talking about Etsy, though that’s a good start, to build your brand message and provide a personalized delivery.
So, if you own a business, are a motivational speaker, write a book or anything in which you can generate income or potential brand growth your business should be using a website platform.
Why Do You Need A Website
The reason your business should be using a website platform can vary but here are the obvious reasons.
• So people can find you: You can’t be everywhere at the same time nor can you make every event, but the web can, and this is key to reaching the right people, those who are purposely seeking your services, work, etc. which can give you a major advantage if done correctly. Think of your website as your home away from home, your personal yellow pages that doesn’t have to fight for attention, once a person lands on it.
• To showcase your product and/or service: Having a website gives you endless possibilities and allows you the flexibility to provide your product and/or service to your audience with no limitations. Not only that but you can take control over what you offer and the sales you generate from those offerings.
Personal/Business Informational Website vs. E-commerce Platforms
The basic difference between a personal/informational business website and an e-commerce is that the latter has the main purpose of selling to make a profit while the former could simply be used to showcase an individual or business where the main objective is not to sell but more to inform, though you could still sell on a personal/informational business website but the items tend to be very minimal and yes, you can have both. Here are a few examples of both.
Personal/Informational Website Examples:
- Grass Fields
- Me and My Big Ideas “the shop” *notice this one has two different URL’s, one for their shop and one that acts as a business informational website.
My Top 3 Favorite Website Platforms Your Business Should Be Using
While there are many website platforms out there, and many that I have personally used, I had to narrow it down to my top 3 favorite website platforms that have been my staple since the jump. But even with that they too have their issues, drumroll, please…
With top brands like BBC America, Bloomberg Professional, and even Facebook Newsroom it’s the top place to be when it comes to parking your business and its offerings no matter your business goals. *Please note there is a difference between WordPress.org and WordPress.com, WordPress.org is a free platform, although after you purchase the things needed for your site, depending on the type of site you have, the costs can add up. For the sake of this write-up, I will be referring to WordPress.org
- The sky is the limit when it comes to customization
- 100% open source
- Offers a Free, exclusive e-commerce platform called WooCommerce (only available for WordPress).
- You can find a host of third-party premium themes to give your site a pop
- Can be difficult to set up if you’re not familiar with WordPress
- Even though it’s free to use the cost can add up and here’s why: 1. You’ll need to purchase a domain (which you should technically purchase for any website platform you decide to use), 2. You’ll need to purchase your own hosting. And 3. You might need to purchase other things for your site to run smoothly like an SSL certificate, site back-up, etc.
- Limited customer support
- You’ll need to update your site and plugins All The Time… ugh
Price: Free, but you’ll have to pay for your own hosting and domain plus extras depending on what’s needed for your site.
If you know for sure you’ll be using an e-commerce platform for your business you might want to check out Shopify. With the endless apps (some being free) and the modern themes, not to mention the included SSL certificate it’s definitely worth checking into.
- Tons of apps to make your site come alive, both free and paid
- Banging customer support team that actually knows their stuff
- Nice looking themes, both free and paid
- SSL certificate included
- The top e-commerce platform, which looks great on search engines
- Easy to set up
- Free 14-day free trial
- Default URL included (but I would recommend purchasing your own if you’re focused on your branding)
- Things can start to add up if you want top-performing apps and a more premium looking theme
- Not much customization, unless you know a bit of coding
- The basic package is limited
Price (if paying per month): Basic Shopify: $29.00 a mo., Shopify: $79.00 a mo. and Advanced Shopify: $299.00 a mo. They also have both free themes and premium themes you can pay for.
I’ve been using GoDaddy and their services for over 8 years so I would say that I know my stuff when it comes to GoDaddy. And, although you can purchase your SSL, hosting, etc. and even use them to host your WordPress site I’m going to focus on them when it comes to using their website platform service called (Website Builder), which I feel would work better for a personal business website instead of an e-commerce one but they have made improvements to the online store (an e-commerce option) so it might be worth giving it a try.
- 24/7 phone support, I’ve literally called them at midnight before.
- Free website themes
- You can hire them to design your website for you
- Helpful resources
- They’re bound to have a discount
- Easy to set up
- SSL included (this is huge because there was a time you had to pay extra for this)
- Your own personal domain is included with the Website plan
- One-stop-shop which could overwhelm anyone who just wants a website
- Their phone support is hit or miss, you might get someone knowledgeable and you may not
- Limited customization
- SEO service not included in the basic plan
Price: Prices start as low as $10.00 a mo. and can go up to $25.00 a mo. when billed annually.
Overall, you really can’t go wrong with either of these website platforms when it comes to growing your business. If you’re looking for an e-commerce website platform that’s easy to set and manage you’ll want to choose Shopify or GoDaddy, with Shopify being the first choice since that’s what they specialize in. If you’re looking for more bang and customization then WordPress.org might be worth looking into. All in all the choice is up to you, just don’t overlook this most important addition to your business family.
Don’t Get Mad, Get Successful! – Latoya M.