When You Don’t Need a Website
I wrote before about why you need a website. But… honesty compels me to write this follow up and confess. There are a few, very, very occasional situations in which I would NOT recommend someone create a website. Gasp!
Diving right in.
You Don’t Need a Website If…
… your business is an MLM.
I know, I talked before about my personal (and not-so-personal) objections to MLMs. But the truth is that it’s a business model that’s not going away any time soon. AND it’s one of the few cases where you’ll do just as well, if not better, with a Facebook group and/or Instagram page than setting up your own site.
The market is so highly saturated with Doterra, Juice+, and Avon products that you’re not going to be able to rank competitively in searches for them. And you’ll probably be selling products through the MLM company’s page, or using a simple payment service like PayPal. So a website, while always a plus, really isn’t going to help you stand out from your fellow consultants.
My Recommendation: Facebook groups, Instagram, face-to-face networking events
… you want to sell photos.
NOT if you’re a photographer! If you want to book your services, absolutely have a website with information about your style, your portfolio, and so on. But if you want to sell photos you’ve already taken and you have no interest in working with people, then a website might be reinventing the wheel. Stock photo websites don’t pay a ton, BUT they get your photos in front of many, many more eyes and it’s basically passive income after the initial work.
My Recommendation: Shutterstock, iStock, RYBF (Other suggestions here)
… you specialize in hand-crafted artwork or gifts.
I do think a website is a plus, and this is a case where you might be able to compete for SEO if your particular product is niched down enough. HOWEVER more people will find you through searches on Etsy and other well-known marketplace websites. I’ve even seen sellers with their own website who then direct users to their choice of marketplace websites to buy the product. You could also sell on both your site and those 3rd party sites, but if you want to skip all the payment handling, security issues, and so on, Etsy could make your life easier.
My Recommendation: Etsy, Amazon (Other suggestions here)
… you freelance in an (extremely) self-explanatory field.
We have someone who cleans our house twice a month. I’ve never asked, but I’d be surprised if she had a website. Her referral game is strong and everyone has the same general expectations for what a clean house looks like. Now, if she wanted to brand herself as a business and grow, then a website might be necessary. But for now, the referrals seem to work.
Similarly, a dog-walker, nanny, or personal assistant could probably go the freelance/contractor route without too many people asking for a website with more explanation. Not to mention that there are tons of freelancer listings to add your name and information to. So it would probably be cheaper to make a profile on Care.com than to build your own website.
My Recommendation: Face-to-face networking, Care.com for nannies and dog walkers, for everyone else literally google what you’re trying to offer and see which sites pop up on the first page. That’s your best chance of being found by clients.
… you haven’t tested your business idea yet.
Unless you’re designing websites (and sometime even then) you can get started without a website! In fact, I highly recommend poking around, doing your research, and, if at all possible, doing a few test runs of your business idea before buying all the stuff. Especially if you’re a service based business, work with a few people and then when you do build a site, you’ve already got case studies and testimonials to put on it.
My main reason for suggesting this is that I hate to see people invest their time and money only to decide they don’t actually want to do X. So even if you don’t want to wait, at least have a business plan put together and know that your idea is viable. My own business started on the side and continues to grow slowly. You might not be as cautious as I am, but I don’t think it’s ever a bad idea to research first and invest later.
My Recommendation: Do a few client projects to get started (for free if necessary), research similar businesses, make a business plan
Don’t See Yourself in This List?
Wondering if your business is another exception I forgot to mention? Schedule a free consultation with me and I’ll give you my honest opinion. Even if that opinion is, “Yeah, you don’t need this right now.”