The most common fears of having your own website is management costs, maintenance and then of course the build itself. It is obviously a lot easier in the outset to set up shop on Facebook or Etsy as the hard work has been done. But the biggest problem with this is they are 3rd party platforms.
Don’t get me wrong, I think Facebook and Etsy are great for starting out. You can test the waters with your product to see if there is a potential market before committing to a full website. It is a good leverage barrier between a genuine business and hobby. But there comes a time when you need to start to think of yourself as a business rather than a hobby.
Potential customers will take your business more seriously when they can see you have invested time, effort and money into it. A fully functional website, branding and business registrations all say “hey, I’m here for the long haul”. So many stores come and go on Facebook, Creative Market and Etsy that people could lose faith that you will still be around in 6 months time.
A website also gives you the opportunity to showcase who you are, what your business stands for and why it’s unique to all the others. Facebook and Esty, whilst they do have little blurb areas, you don’t get a change to really expand on your story. You also can’t customise the platform to your own individual personality. Facebook blue is the standard brand colour across the board whether you like it or not. 👍🏼
I touched on this before highlighting that Facebook and Etsy are 3rd party platforms. What this means is you don’t own your site or the day to day operation. What if Facebook suddenly went down or crashed for days, would you still be able to do business?
You are bound by the T&C’s of these platforms and limited to their way of doing business. You also don’t have your own marketing tools. Therefore, you have no way of re-targeting the visitors coming to your site or collecting their email address to reach them at a later date. Basically, you have no idea who has visited your page therefore you can’t target them again.
Marketing potential is one of the key factors for having a website. It allows you to control its use and see who is visiting your site and what they are looking at. Re-targeting pixels allow you to track who is on your website and hit them up again in an ad such as Facebook even if they didn’t purchase from you. Ever noticed when you go onto Target and look at a dress you suddenly see that dress pop up in your Facebook news feed? That is re-targeting at its best.
Tools such as Google Analytics will give you great insight into your customer demographic so you can target your business branding which will in turn increase revenue. You will be surprised who is visiting your site and how they are actually finding you.
If you think that a website might be in your future, then it will certainly help if you start thinking about the design and functionality now. Start to take note of other websites you like, even your competitors. Look at how they are doing business and what you can improve on. A website isn’t something to be taken lightly. It is your business and livelihood so take your time to make sure it is what you want.