Do You Really Need a Web Site?

Back in October, 2009, I proposed an article on “Do You Really Need a Web Site” to some editors I work with, but the idea didn’t really seem to have traction. Today, though, it’s a topic I hear people talking about more and more, with Facebook and LinkedIn providing potential alternatives for companies and individuals hoping to connect with the outside world, but not wanting to deal with the cost and effort required to build, maintain and update a web page.

I’m not ready to give up my web pages yet but I can see the potential for certain types of businesses or individuals in certain professions to do just that.  For instance, business consultants and service professionals (e.g. attorneys, accountants, financial advisors) hoping to connect with other business professionals can certainly do that on LinkedIn.

  • By building a profile with the appropriate key words they can generate search results not only on the LinkedIn site, but also through Google search (because LinkedIn is highly optimized for search).
  • Participating strategically in LinkedIn groups can help to establish credibility and boost name awareness (tip: participate in groups that draw those who represent your audience).
  • Using the “Answers” section of LinkedIn can allow you to engage in conversations with others and share your expertise, again building credibility and establishing yourself as a thought leader.

The same types of activities can work on Facebook which has other options and opportunities, including the ability to build a Facebook page for your business complete with images and links (a lot like a simple web site).

It’s really a different type of model — a “let me come to you” vs. “please come to me model.” Think about it. Once you’ve built your web page, you sit back and hope people will find it. You may help them in this process by promoting your web site address in various places, offline and on.

With social media, though, you’re going to the people. It’s much more proactive and much more focused. And, importantly, it allows for two-way communication.

As I said, I’m not ready to throw in the towel on my own web activities, but I’m also continually experimenting with and learning about opportunities to connect with people in other ways and I really think that given the sea change we’re seeing with the transition from desktop computing to mobile, things like social media and apps will dramatically impact how we access information in the future.

What do you think? Have you considered giving up your web site? Do you know others that have?

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