Do You Need a Website?
Audio Interview “Do I Need a Website”
In this interview Ed & Phil talk about online communities of buyers and sellers who may not need a website. Ed says if you can’t afford a (managed) Geoffrey website there are hundreds of cheaper options.
If you’re running a business, then the sort answer is yes. You do need a website. In the grand scheme of things, a basic website isn’t a very expensive option (we build $1k-$5k websites regularly) and you can get a website for free if you want.
Buying and Selling Online
There are people selling stuff quite successfully on Ebay, Etsy and Facebook Marketplace (similar to Gumtree) who may not have even thought about getting their own website. In some cases, the person hasn’t really set themselves up as a proper business, but as a one-off craft shop, or they are selling second hand gear.
There are also people who aren’t good with (or just don’t like) technology. They may never need a website but might one day encourage a nephew or niece to build one for a couple of hundred bucks. After a few good sales runs on Etsy, it might be time to put aside a little cash for a proper website. Your nephew is likely to turn his attention to something else anyway.
If you are selling things on a regular basis – or even one prodcut in quantity – you may need an eCommerce store or shopping cart website.
(Shopping Cart Websites)
Ecommerce can seem cheap at first, but it get very expensive, very quickly. In my experience, each store is unique. There are very few cookie-cutter themes that don’t need a lot of modification. And in the case of WordPress, modifying a them can mean buying plugins. Licenses for each plugin can cost between A$100-A$200 per year – each! And you might need to buy 5 of those every year.
The question then becomes Do I Really Need a Website with Ecommerce?
Shopping Cart Websites work better when added to a Bricks-and-mortar Store
I’ve built several Ecommece solutions and the ones that work best are websites which have been built to increase sales for an established businesses. Launching an ecommerce store is probelmatic in that you need lots of traffic (customers) just to break even. Even if you built a WordPress eCommerce store yourself, a new domain is not going to get many visitors unless you spend time and money on marketing.
It’s also helpful if you have a backgroud in sales or previous experience running a business. If you have never been in business before, it’s cheaper to build a non-ecommerce, lead-generating website.
Online Marketing & Sharing
A good, strategic combination of Social Media, Google Ads and Content Creation. By “content” – I mean writing about your products and industry – not just uploading pics.
Consider a Blog
Writing blog posts like this one garners trust in you and your business. Trust leads to sales.
I advise anyone who hasn’t been in buiness to build their own (FREE) wix.com or weebly.com website frist. you might need to upgrade to use some of the inbuilt ecommerce systems thpose platforms have.
You need experience running a website.
Ecommerce hangs on the idea of a shopping cart. And that’s the expensive thing. Expensive because of the hours involved setting it up and getting it working right. When I say “expense” I really mean time. You can easily sink 100 hours into building a website on one of these platforms if you’ve never done it before. In some cases, if a client is using Squarespace or Shopify or another platform, I laugh out loud. To me, they might as well go and learn HTML & CSS for $15 at Udemy.com – the amount of time some of these things take to learn is truly incredible. Not everything is usable (read our last post about UX Usability here).
Online Art Communities
Just like Youtube, there are huge online communities of like-minded people out there. And there are places where those people hang out to sell their wares. They are not only selling, but also buying each others art, craft works and music from each other.
You my not need a website if you optimise your user entry by doing some light SEO for one.
Craft & Art Communities
If you are making singular items like Onesies, you may not need a website. Communities such as Etsy or one of the many other selling communities (also listed below)) allow you to sell or buy onesies.
- Big Cartel
- Handmade at Amazon
There are also commuinties of Musicians who selling albums in mp3 format online. If you want the LP version of the album, you can buy that and have it shpped with a band t-shirt. While places like Bandcamp cater for all music tastes, Beatport specialises in electronic music.
- Apple Music
- Google Play
Edwin wrote his first (Harrier Jump Jet) text adventure computer program in 1982 during the Falklands War conflict. He now builds websites with best practice, future-proof web development, Ad marketing & SEO. He taught at Curtin Uni and OUA and in 2007 was voted 5th best lecturer (out of 2,500) across all disciplines taught in Australia. He loves sharing what he knows.