Websites require time and money to set up — and even more time and money to maintain. But for an author, thought leader, or anyone else who has a message to share, they are well worth the investment.
A static website, regular blog, or even a simple microsite lies at the heart of your online influence. It is your “home” online — the place you can be yourself, display your tastes and opinions, and convey your message in the most effective way possible.
Here are a few benefits a good website or microsite can provide.
While we advocate sharing your message and interacting regularly on social media, the one drawback to that strategy is that you don’t own your content. Social platforms fizzle and fail. Messages get deleted and lost in cyberspace. You could wake up one day and discover that the business page you’ve spent so many hours curating has suddenly and inexplicably disappeared.
Your website, on the other hand, belongs to you alone.
You own the content completely. You decide the colors and layouts. You choose when to archive blog posts or refresh the design. You can display whatever message you want, for as long as you want, in whatever manner you prefer.
Gone are the days of anonymity. Now publishers and audiences alike can search for you on Google and social media. But what if you don’t have a very professional presence on there? What if all they find is a private page or — even worse — your embarrassing baby photos that some wonderful family member chose to share?
That’s where a website can do the heavy lifting. Properly managed, with good SEO and smart navigation, your website can show up at the top of search results and point people to your carefully-curated online home . . . rather than Facebook. You can point people immediately to your online home, where they get to know you better and connect with you on a more personal level.
You get to choose whether to share vacation snapshots or work-related podcasts, favorite recipes or professional resources. What works best will depend on your message and target audience, but the point is — it’s up to you to decide what to share.
Once your readers or followers discover you, what’s next? How can they connect with you or learn more about your message? A website provides a central location for both you and your audience.
- It provides a secure place to capture email addresses for marketing campaigns via free lead magnets or newsletters.
- It gives your audience a consistent place to check for new content (podcasts, blog posts, etc) and upcoming events.
- It provides one location for all the things you have to offer the world — your services, resources, written content, audio-video clips, press releases, share graphics, social media buttons, and anything else you want to share.
- It offers the opportunity to include a store, if you wish, and a contact page for people to learn more about acquiring your resources and services.
Are you convinced yet?
If you don’t have a website yet, don’t get overwhelmed by the idea. You don’t need to create an elaborate mansion or never-before-seen design. You can start with something as easy as a one-page microsite or a simple template to get things up and running, and work towards developing a custom website down the road. Not sure which one is best for you? Check out this comparison of the three main options, along with examples of each.
Once you decide what will best showcase your message and most effectively reach your audience, remember to keep things simple, logical, and up-to-date (here’s why). You might be surprised at the results!
Need some help creating your “dream home” online, or even just deciding what it should look like? We’d be happy to help! Here’s how to connect with us.