The Importance Of A Website For Storytellers and Why You Need One
Founder, Steam Powered Dreams
Authorpreneur, Editor, and Publisher
Every storyteller needs a website. There is no exception to this rule.
It doesn’t matter if you own an international business or you’re trying to build your personal brand. You need to be where your potential followers are, and that’s online.
Did you know that in today’s world one of the major deciding factors in why one service or product is picked over another is their online presence? And, the truth is, social media alone isn’t enough. While your online presence may take many forms, having a website is still the best way to get clients and potential clients alike the information they’re searching for.
So, let’s breakdown why you should have a website, as well as what type of website might be best suited for you and your brand.
Why Do I Need A Website When I Have A Social Following?
I can’t tell you how often I get asked this question. Sure, it’s asked in 100 different ways, but the meaning is the same, why should a storyteller spend their time and budget on a website if they already have a social following on Instagram, Facebook, or any other network? Why spread out resources to multiple channels when a social channel is growing so fast?
This is usually followed up with, “Besides, social media is free and having a professional-looking website costs money, so it’s not worth it, right?”
While having a social media presence is very important, it’s your website that you can truly leverage to help you grow. When you have a website, you have full creative control over what is seen, when it is seen, and how it is seen.
“It doesn’t matter if you own an international business or you’re trying to build your personal brand. You need to be where your potential followers are, and that’s online.“
It’s up to you what to display on the homepage, what keywords to focus on, what content to feature, and what pages to push. With a website that is fully optimized, the pages you choose will appear in search engines for the right keywords, reaching an entire audience that you just can’t get with social media alone.
If you’d like to see what I mean, head over to google and search for “how to tell an amazing story.” As you scroll through the results on the first few pages, you’ll notice not a single link to a social network. This isn’t because there are no social profiles or groups that answer the question. This is because a website can provide higher-quality, in-depth information on the topic, and Google knows that.
There is an average of 3.5 billion searches on Google alone each day and most of them result in a website being clicked on, not a social network. This means that each day you go without a website is a missed opportunity.
Free Websites Vs. Premium Hosted Websites
However, while these services are great as a first step, free website hosting services have two major downfalls, they lack customization and do not look very professional.
Services like these have a limited amount of templates and they tend to be very generic and widely spread. Because of this, it’s nearly impossible to create a unique website, let alone stand out from the crowd.
Let’s take Blogger as an example. The service has been around for 20 years and is a very popular option for personal blogs or getting started. However, the free account only allows you to pick from 11 themes and doesn’t offer any substantial add-ons to enhance what you can do.
Another problem is the website URL. When you use these services, you’ll also be stuck with something that makes your website stand out, but not in a good way.
If we were to create a wordpress.com site for SPD StoryStudio, potential clients would have to type in spdstorystudio.wordpress.com to find us. Not only is this extremely long and complicated, but it also shows that we don’t care enough to invest in ourselves.
These reasons alone are enough to turn many potential clients away from choosing you over a competitor.
Page Builders, CMS, & Coded Websites
Now it’s time to get into the nitty-gritty of web development.
If you do some research on the different ways to go about creating your website, you’ll run across three basic types. Page builders, content management systems (CMS), and having your website professionally coded from scratch.
A page builder is a website similar to what you’d find on Blogger, but designed with professionals in mind. These are all-in-one packages and usually start around $10 a month, but it includes your URL and hosting together. They usually rely on a drag-and-drop building style, which is great to get your site up and running fast but comes at the expense of deep customization.
Pros: Fast setup. Easy to use. No programming knowledge needed to get started
Cons: Lack of deep customization. A limited number of themes. A limited number of add-ons
Content Management Systems (CMS)
A CMS is what is known as a framework. Someone else has taken care of all the basics but left the details for you to take care of. They offer a lot of customization and oftentimes have extensive add-ons that easily plugin for added functionality.A page builder is a website similar to what you’d find on Blogger, but designed with professionals in mind. These are all-in-one packages and usually start around $10 a month, but it includes your URL and hosting together. They usually rely on a drag-and-drop building style, which is great to get your site up and running fast but comes at the expense of deep customization.
Pros: Highly customizable with themes. Very expandable with add-ons. Not too difficult to get a basic site up and running. Deep customizable for those with knowledge of CSS/HTML
Cons: Basic knowledge of how the framework works is important. HTML/CSS knowledge will help a lot. Not as easy to set up or maintain as a page builder
Professionally Coded Website
A professionally coded website is exactly what it says, a website created by a programmer, oftentimes from scratch. You’ll need to hire someone with extensive knowledge of what you’re trying to create. They will start with the barebones of HTML and CSS, then add layers of other programming languages, depending on your needs. Each section of your site will be meticulously coded to fit your vision.
Where To Find: Unlike the other two, there are no platforms for this. Instead, you’ll have to hire a programmer.
Pros: You’ll get exactly what you want no matter how complex it is. Great for sites that need interaction with the audience, such as SasS platforms and web apps
Cons: Expensive and not easy to maintain. Depending on the complexity, you may need to hire someone either on-staff or on-call to help manage and run the website. Development time also takes longer on average
Ready To Get Started?
I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, every company needs a website, no matter which path you choose.
If you’re still not sure which one of these is right for you, you’re not alone, but we can help. Contact us or comment on this post with questions you might have, or head over to our Services pages to see if there’s something we can do for you. We have helped many storytellers get their website up and running as well as increased traffic through Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and content marketing.
In future articles, we’ll dive more in-depth into what storytellers can do with a website and how to make the most out of one. We’ll also be conducting a series of webinars for storytellers later this year, so don’t forget to sign up for our mailing list to find out more!
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