It is one of the most exciting and grown up things you can do when you start your new business. Setting up a website. It feels big. It feels like you’ve made it. It’s official. You exist on Google! Depending on how you run your business, it may be the most important tool you have. I have been running my website in its current format for almost as long as the business has existed. But do I need it? I blog via WordPress. I sell via Etsy. I touch base with clients, industry followers and the general public via Instagram, Facebook and Twitter because these platforms are flexible and fit the way I advertise myself. So what purpose does my website really serve?
Googling this as a question tells me I need a website – end of. But I am unconvinced by the explanations. It doesn’t have the flexibility I need, ie I can post images of projects underway on Instagram and interact with followers in an instant. I can put up a new blog post. I can send out an interesting news link about fashion in the news on Twitter directly from news sites. I can’t do any of those things on a website and keep the context or without the website becoming messy and unprofessional looking. At best, it is a one stop shop for all my links elsewhere and an FAQ on my business. But if it’s just repeating information, I can do this elsewhere more effectively. Aren’t I just doubling up on information?
My website drives very little traffic and I don’t think it has any effect on my sales since Etsy is a one stop shop and people arrive there from my social media first. Hootsuite is driving more traffic than my website. That may, in part, be my fault for not spending as much time on my website as I should. But social media sites are far more accessible. You can update quickly and on the move without having to log in and responses are quick and have flow. You can’t update a website effectively on a phone and who is going to post a comment there? The website is nothing more than a landing page.
I have been streamlining my business down to the basics since my studio downsize last September. Cutting unnecessary expenditure has been a big part of that and nothing about my internet traffic, or my customer base, tells me I should be spending money on a website. My account is up for renewal in just a month and not surprisingly the cost has gone up. The thought of hitting the cancel button doesn’t worry me so I think it’s time to make a break from something that’s costing me more than I make from it. I will of course monitor my traffic to see what, if any, difference it makes.
At the moment it feels a lot like having a gym membership and never going to the gym. In the end I chose not to have the gym membership and I get my exercise more effectively in other ways because I have better control of accessbility and motivation. Having a website feels the same.