Just like commissioning a good logo doesn’t suddenly mean you have a brand identity, having a website – even a good website – doesn’t mean that you have an online presence. Without keeping the full picture in mind, you’re doing yourself and your website a grave injustice. Why spend all of that money on a website if it isn’t actually going to do much for you?
Don’t get me wrong – I really wish that a website was all it took these days, but it isn’t. Saying, “I have a website, and that’s good enough!” is like saying, “I have a billboard on an old, decrepit road sort of near Route 66, and that’s good enough!”
Website vs. Web Presence
If you are reading this article, you probably have a decent idea of what a website is – but what, pray tell, is a web presence?
This is an identity that you have created. Generally, this kind of thing is created through interactions with people online, branding of all of your social media channels, and yes, your website. Over time and with tons of effort, your online presence will bring more business, leads, and referrals simply because people take Google and Facebook very, very seriously.
But I Don’t Sell Anything Online!
Sure, that makes sense – you can’t sell every service or product online, but you can meet new clients there, even if you aren’t actually trying to get them to buy anything from your website. With 2.3 billion smartphone users in the world and over half the world on the Internet, people are going to expect a business to be on the internet. That’s just how it is. You will be expected to be there, presenting your products with whatever personality your brand is going for, and if you aren’t – people will notice.
Prove That You’re Human
With a few clicks, you can have a website. With a few more clicks – or a few dollars – your website can look good, have good content, and be presentable. But what makes it look like it was designed by a person, other than typos? Consistency. You pick an idea and you run with it across your entire online presence, including your website. Be warm, professional, helpful. Whatever you’d like to do. And then start maintaining relationships. Answer questions. Make it easy to contact your company. Say “hey!” instead of “hello”. A complete online presence instead of just a website is what is going to help you get there.
Money-Wise, It Doesn’t Cost All That Much More
So the truth of building out an entire web presence is that it will take more time. You have to make sure responses are the same across the web. All of the banners for social media are different sizes, which can be super challenging when it comes to making sure everything fits without getting chopped off or distorted. And yes, you’ll have to spend some time managing your presence every day, instead of just expecting your website to do all of the work for you.
However, monetarily, it isn’t going to cost a whole lot more to get yourself across the web than it would to throw up a website (that was designed by a professional web designer, of course). This makes this sort of marketing and branding and lead generation really, really cheap. It makes it ridiculously easy for customers to come to you, and it expands your reach almost exponentially just by creating the full picture instead of just depending on one piece of the puzzle to get the point across.
All in all, it’s an excellent investment and a great idea to expand past that website, friends. It’ll be worth your time and it’ll be worth your effort.