The whole reason to have a website and be online is: To be found. In turn, we hope it leads to revenue… but why would you place your business wholly in another’s hands. That’s exactly what you do by not owning your online real estate.
The Entrepreneur And The Small Business Owner
Recently, I overheard an Entrepreneur telling another Small Business Owner:
“I have my own free google websites already. I use google’s blogger.com for my own websites and webshops.”
She went on to share a free one-page website set-up that promised to be tweaked for SEO, and offer attractive design options.
When I asked what led the entrepreneur to share so enthusiastically and with such confidence, the reply was similar to this:
“I’m just sharing things I find in my surfing. I am always getting questions on how to set up a website, and most people are too busy or tech-phobic to do it my way, so when I come across a simple free/cheap professional-looking option that has good reviews, I share it with those who might find it useful.”
First, the entrepreneur must be having some success, or people would not ask her what she is doing. That should be recognized.
Second, I do think it is essential for small business owners to come together to exchange ideas that have brought success! They should network and communicate with other entrepreneurs at least once per month.
Third, we need to remember that some tasks & topics can be crowdsourced, while others should be left to professionals for hard and fast advice.
By that I mean:
- Would you ask your auto mechanic about your child’s sports injury?
- Would you ask your dentist about the leak in your roof?
- Would you rely on Tiger Woods to make the winning Super Bowl touchdown?
The correct answer is, no.
Don’t Send Your Ducks To Eagle School
We need to be looking to the correct professionals to perform tasks of their expertise.
Entrepreneurs are great at developing and running their business. But they probably will not be able to give you the best advice on website development (unless that is indeed their business).
Jumping back to the above conversation, I went on to explain to the entrepreneur and small business owner:
“Your methods are actually short-changing your business if you are using free sites for your primary online presence.”
The Entrepreneur was not over-joyed by my direct statement. But I made it out of desire to see these small business owners succeed!
Free Is Not Free
Every time you do something on an online free resource – you are part of the product. The owners of the site refer to you as a “user.”
All of your activity there contributes to that platform’s SEO, not necessarily your own. PLUS, you own nothing there — it’s all “rented or leased” space.
You’ll also notice there are usually lots of advertisements, or the site is actually trying to sell you something else. If we’re talking about websites, a common tactic is to offer you a small upgrade for $5-10 per month.
Additionally, a big company like Google can make a decision at any moment that affects your business outcome. Haven’t we all experienced the ebbs and flows of Facebook?
Sites like blogger.com, wordpress.com, and onepager.com are great for:
- Getting your feet wet. Learning.
- Backlinking – obtaining links into your main site. A secondary activity.
Users of those platforms should remember that the longer they are there on a primary basis, the longer they do not own the ultimate outcome for their online business activity.
Quit Leasing & Own It
A self-hosted site formatted in WordPress is actually more in-line with modern processes and technologies, and gets great “Google Love” (SEO).
Secret: It’s the same thing you find at WordPress.com (“free”), only you own it. Simple!
It really is. I sometimes get resistance to the idea, but here’s the simple truth:
- WordPress itself is free.
- You can use a free theme to get started.
- It is very customizable through “plugins,” (similar to phone apps).
Some Simple Math
Less than a year ago, I paid $126.00 for my domain name, hosting, and security certificates – that’s total cost for a year.
My theme (design) was $35.00.
So, a total of $161.00 with tax.
Divide that out over 12 months = $13.42 per month.
My plan includes some things many often opt not to include. But I wanted extra safety features.
For a business expense, that is extremely reasonable!
The Pleasures Of Owning Your Online Real Estate
No landlords or supers – I own it all! And it’s easy to maintain — For just a few dollars more than the “free or almost free” options listed above.
No big companies make decisions that affect me, and I’ve created an inbound marketing tool that attracts my customers to me – on local, regional, national, and international levels.
Even better – I can monetize my site so it is working FOR me, and it can become an additional form of revenue for my business. Especially if you’re blogging to create consistent indexing to improve your Google rankings.
BONUS: Google loves WordPress…I’ve watched them favor it in the search rankings! 🙂
What do you think your chances are of being found online at a free site, when you are stacked among those that own their sites?
Did I miss any benefits of ownership above?
I’d love to hear from you below in the comment box…