She has 2 websites for her business, but she doesn't really maintain them. She is a Realtor, and she’s very successful.
Why am I mentioning her? Because truthfully, with or without her websites, I think she will always be successful. Could she be more successful with a more robust updated website? Maybe. But with all the business she currently is servicing, she doesn’t seem to need the websites.
For us at ByBlacks, the concept of not having a website would mean we would not be in business.
But there is a trend now where people set up Social Media business profiles in lieu of owning a website.
The main reason is cost.
Sites like Facebook/Google/Yelp facilitate free business pages, so there is no website hosting fee, domain name registration or web developer to pay. The annual cost just to own a website can easily run you $200/year, and to hire a good website developer $800 or more, and that does not include periodic updates.
In a recent White Paper, online marketing company Hubspot advised against having your business info only on Social Media sites. Their argument was supported mainly on the grounds of the lack of control when your business has to conform to rules of Social Media sites, and control over branding. It is true, that Facebook shuts down pages for things they consider a “violation” of their terms and conditions. So having your own website means you have total autonomy over the content.
My realtor friend doesn't use her websites to get business; she relies on providing great customer service, networking and good old-fashioned referrals.
So... how do you know if you really NEED a website? The decision to own and maintain a website is heavily dependent on the type, and size of the business you have.
If you are an artist, a photographer or a musician, for example, you probably need a website. Not only to build credibility but to have one place where people can go to see your work. And of course... if your business sells some kind of product it is likely you will need a website to push online sales. In addition, you will need a presence on a variety of social media platforms. But if you are a plumber or an electrician, for example, a website may not be crucial to finding customers. But it is always still a good idea to have a social media presence. The more ways people can "find" you the better.
So if you’ve figured out you don’t need a website, what do you do now? Set up a business page on any free business listing site (like Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Yelp, etc). You’ll be able to at least network with friends and associates and let them know about your business.
If you feel like that is not enough, and you want the “look” of a website without all the costs, try using free Web services like Wix, Weebly or Wordpress. They all offer decent pre-designed website templates that can be easily customized. As long as you don’t mind the ads on your site, and think it won’t affect your brands' image.
If you’re Black and run a business in Canada, register and add your listing to our site. The basic listing is always free.