I’m on Facebook and have a blog – why do I still need a website?
Last time we examined the three vital components of any successful website:
Today we’re going to back up to examine a more elementary question: With all the social media outlets available and the ease of managing a blog, why do I need a website?
First and foremost, you need a website to host YOUR content. Social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+ are a great way to connect with people, share relevant content, and establish yourself as an expert, but you are always at the mercy of that host site. There was a big hullabaloo a couple years ago when Facebook changed their fine print to say that, essentially, they would continue to own all the content (images, copy, video, etc.) that their users posted, even if the user cancelled their account. The pushback was intense and immediate, and Facebook retracted that fine print.
The thing to keep in mind, however, is that unless your content is posted on a site that YOU own, it could disappear at a moment’s notice. For example, say you breach a rule – even one you weren’t aware existed. You run the risk of having your account/page frozen or removed. So then what happens to all of your content? If you don’t have it backed up somewhere else, it’s probably gone forever.
The same is true for a free blogging site like WordPress or Bloggger. Blogs are immensely useful and, in many ways, much easier to manipulate and manage than a traditional website. However, if your blog is ever suspended or blocked for any reason, there goes your access to your content and, more importantly, the content itself.
WordPress.org does offer software through which you can create a standalone blog/website that follows the general WordPress formatting, but allows you a great deal more flexibility than the free blog platform at WordPress.com. The significant difference is that, like a website, you must create a URL (the http://www.thisismywebsiteaddress.com part) and purchase hosting. Think about it like a rental house. Your address may be 2506 N. Evergreen Street, but you rent the house at that address. Your URL is the equivalent of the address. Hosting is the like the landlord to whom you pay rent for your house. Your site is sitting on their Internet land, and you pay them to use the space.
With a traditional website, or a standalone WordPress blog or website, you own the content and can rest much more secure in the knowledge that you won’t accidentally defy any rules and risk that site being wiped out. Regardless of WHERE you host your blog or site, though, you should always have a backup of your images and content somewhere other than on the Web, like your hard drive or a backup drive.
Other reasons to have a website in addition to social media and a blog:
- More flexible ecommerce options (some free blog sites do not permit ecommerce functionality)
- More options for things like video hosting (on a free blog, you must own the video and/or pay fee to post videos, Flash, or other content)
- More options and flexibility regarding overall appearance
- Limitless pages
The good news is that, if you’re doing it properly, your social media and blogging activity will drive traffic to your website. We did a post awhile back about the fact that there’s no single path into a marketing strategy. What’s important to note is that each component of your marketing strategy can and should feed the others. Your blog should feed traffic to your Facebook page which should link to your website which should have a link to your blog.
Your website doesn’t have to be super complex with tons of bells and whistles to be effective. Next time, we’ll suggested pages and components you might want to consider when building your site.
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Friday, Sept. 30 – Is your author website DOA?
Monday, Sept.26 – Internet Radio: Are interview opportunities just waiting for YOU?
Thursday, Sept. 22 – Rehearse your BOOK PITCH until it rolls off your tongue fluidly