New business? Want a website? My advice is: don’t!

You’re an entrepreneur and you want to start up a business. Great.

The first reaction to getting a slot on the internet is to get a website. Wrong!

Why wrong? This is because websites are notoriously expensive things! How much cash do you have? I suggest you should have a good think before you go throwing it away on unnecessary, inappropriate, uncostworthy things such as a website.

But surely everybody needs a website, or they won’t be taken seriously by prospective customers?

Of course you need a presence on the internet – it’s a requisite requirement nowadays. But not a website. What you need is a blog, and a good grasp of social networking. That’s how you get yourself known on the web. Only when you’ve made it, got a load of followers, built up your list of contacts, made some money, then you can go ahead and get yourself a website. By then you will know exactly what you want it for, and will build it with a proper purpose.

The trouble is, so many people get themselves a website, and it just sits there, looking pretty, and doing nothing. Absolutely nothing. They haven’t got the money to update it, because unless they have built it themselves they will have to pay a fortune to their webmaster to make any changes.

Now, if you have a blog, that’s exactly what you can, and should, do. This is because blogs are self-editable; they thrive on new material because they are designed for it. They are also little web magnets for internet traffic, as the search engine spiders are programmed to visit blogs extremely frequently, just in case there is something new for them to ‘read’. If they like what they find, and there are lots of keywords and key-phrases that match up to what is ‘hot’ at that moment, then you can get really high in the search engines!

And the other side of the coin is to get into social networking. The beauty of the web is that you can link and ‘feed’ all your blog content into social networking, so a lot more people can start reading about exactly what your business does – as long as you have written about it. And blogs are the place to write about your business: frequently, easily and regularly.

Don’t hide under a bushel – reach out and network. Tell the world about what you do. If people like what they read, you can start to make friends, contacts, business, liaisons, strategic alliances or whatever, all on the internet, through a relatively inexpensive blog – not by wasting your money on a website!

And does it work? There are plenty of businesses who are extremely successful today and have all started with just a blog, even before social networking got off the ground. Blogs are the beginnings of social networking, it’s just that the interactive side of the web (Web2.0) has developed a bit more recently…

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Alice Elliott has been explaining blogging to beginner bloggers for almost two decades, specialising in using ordinary, everyday language to make the process as simple as possible so that anybody can understand.
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  • Ching Ya says:

    It’s fascinating how blogging & social networking could make a great difference when in collaboration. That’s where the trend is heading at. Glad to have you in the forum.

    social media/blogging

  • Sara says:

    Actually agree with you to a point. A static website full of old content is pointless and will just get lost. If that is what your site will be then don’t bother. There are lots of free ways to generate interest – think Twitter, Facebook, free blog templates etc.

    A website that will work for you is one that social media channels, business cards, articles and all your marketing and communication points to. It’s also a place to start communicating your brand personality.

    There is no perfect time to invest in a website. After all, it will depend on your business, your goals and your marketing and communication plan.

    • Alice says:

      Thank you Sara. An interactive website taking full advantage of Web2.0 will have far more impact than a bog-standard website off the shelf. That is why I have suggested using a self-hosted blog with a decent domain name, which is geared up to attracting the search engines and is very easy to update using CMS.

  • Alice — great points, but where you say, “what you need is a blog” – I usually tell clients “You need a WordPress website.”

    With so many fantastic themes, a universe of hosting choices, and best of all – being completely free – as long as they have access to $25 and can buy a how-to book, they’re not shoveling out the cash.

    There are very rare exceptions (and usually those people struggle with even turning a computer on), but usually small business owners can manage it themselves 🙂

    Great post!

    • Alice says:

      Totally agree. Creating a blog is extremely easy, and getting someone to create a blogsite for the CMS element is also just as excellent. Having the ability to edit and add your own content whenever you like is the key to maintaining a constant supply of new material the search engines crave. Much better to have a web-presence using Web2.0 that interacts with your readers and audience than a static version that does nothing for you or your business.

  • Marji Laine says:

    GREAT POST and exactly right! I’m so loving your blog and you can bet I’ll be over here a lot now that I’ve moved from Blogger to WordPress. Love your article icons! So cool! Of course, I’ll have to discard my Texas accent at the door, but I’m willing!

    • Alice says:

      Everybody, even from Texas, is welcome! It’s great I’m getting interest from the other side of the pond! Well done for moving from Blogger to WordPress, there is now so much more scope for you.

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