Today I am inspired to write about why you need a website or blog in the world that we live in today?
And while acknowledging that the answer varies depending on what the “need” or “objective” is, I will go as far as saying that in today’s age, not having a website or blog is the exception and not the norm.
The Internet is here to stay and is the future there is no doubt about that. Just think about TV-Web integration such as Google TV, or social network to car stereo integration such that GM and Ford Motor pretty much have on every new vehicle now.
Everyone works to earn money in some way, shape or form. So let’s briefly discuss the Internet’s implication on “doing business”.
Today’s fast paced information based society makes having a website or a blog a necessity in my opinion. Can you think of a business today that does not have one? Even the smallest mom and pop shop has a website today. They HAVE TO or they won’t be able to perform as well in the long run.
Amongst 2,546 other things, a website serves as your identity, your business card, a global one that is available to the world 24 hours a day and seven days a week. It is how you share information about you, your business, and everything else.
Working professionals today have extensive LinkedIn profiles, and many have their own websites with digital resumes available for employer review. More professionals today are blogging and tweeting about their industries and professions.
In fact, because of the saturation we are experiencing online of personal blogs (such as personal finance, hobby, etc), many “internet experts” are predicting the future trend to be formed by bloggers who blog on their profession, industry, skill or trade. I can totally see that.
Then you have those that simply feel the need to say something to the world. They too have their own blogs. How else can these folks get their word out there otherwise? As you can imagine, a website is not only for a business, but for anyone.
As it relates to this blog’s audience, a website can be used as a tool to establish a part time business on the side. It is a convenient way to do business because you work on it whenever you have time and can build a business steadily overtime that will generate extra cash for you, or may turn out to become your full time activity.
The latter is not too uncommon. Many have taken this route to the next level and have replaced their full time income from income generated by their website or blog. Many embark on the journey with the sole intention of becoming “job optional” and earning their freedom and flexibility back.
Owning your own successful website is very powerful. Not only does it give you the freedom and flexibility in terms of when and how you want to work, but it also allows you to earn an unlimited amount of money. A web based business is extremely scalable, and there is simply no ceiling to how much you can earn, unlike in a job.
The best part about going this route is that today you don’t even need to know anything technical to run a successful website. Thanks to the easy to use tools available online, many of which are free, anyone can establish a successful website. Many can supplement their income from employment very nicely or replace their full time income all together with income from their web based business.
The necessity of a website or blog is further amplified if you already have an existing business.
If you already have a business, but no website to compliment it, you are definitely wasting a lot of time and leaving a lot of money on the table.
Think about all those customers who you are not able to reach? After all, where do people search these days? Is it the radio, TV, newspaper, yellow pages or magazines? NO, absolutely not. They go to the Internet. This trend will only increase with time. Is it a surprise that print media is dying? No. These are precisely the reasons why.
No matter what type of business you already have going for you, you can’t afford not to have a website. Your website can be your global business card, your all-in-one marketing tool, your personal advertising banner (including coupons and promotions if you so wish), it can bring in new business and clients for you, can provide information to your customers and allows you to maintain constant communication with them through your company blog and email newsletter program (which is proven to be the most powerful and cost effective marketing medium).
Few years back I had invested in a small business in my community. One of the contributing factors to the business’ success has been the incorporation of a website, online coupon and promotion distribution system, as well as a newsletter system that maintains and hones relationships with customers on auto pilot. I can go on for days on the benefits of a website or blog to an existing business. There is too high of an opportunity cost not to consider this.
If you don’t have an existing business, now is a good time to think about developing something interesting around your passion, whatever that passion is. Or maybe you have a product or line of products that you strongly believe in and think would do good selling them.
Why not start a website to do that? You can sell other people’s products as an affiliate marketer like I do and make money from sales commissions. Commissions from affiliate sales is my biggest income stream today.
And what if you don’t have a product to sell or one in mind that you would like to market? No big deal. Why not display advertisement on your website and get paid for it? Paid advertising (companies pay me to advertise their banners on my website) and displaying public ads is my second largest revenue stream today.
What about writing about an expertise you know about (maybe your profession)? Or writing about something you are passionate about like your hobby? There are ways to make money no matter what which one these scenarios appeals to you. That is the beauty of the Internet. It is flexible and profitable because the costs involved are very low, if any at all in some cases.
I can think of at least 6 different ways my websites make money for me. I make money from affiliate programs, from private placement advertisement, from selling my own eBooks, from referring leads to companies, from donations and from public ad platforms such as Google Adsense.
In fact, my first niche website was an information based website that my wife and I started based on one of our hobbies. All this website contains is tons of information from our personal perspective. Months down the road we signed up with Google Adsense and started to display public ads. As traffic increased, we added private ads, affiliate programs, a couple ebooks, and the rest is beautiful history.
Even if you don’t care about the financial side of it, you may want to create a website anyway for fun, as an online journal or as a site to share with family and friends almost like your own personal Facebook network.
Or, you just may want to leverage Facebook and build your own community on there. But then again, your presence will only last so as long as Facebook is alive. I know what you are thinking, but anything can happen. Just a thought? Think about what happened to Friendster or what is happening currently to MySpace.
You may want to create something for your church or another service group that you are involved with? Maybe you want a website for the non-profit you volunteer at? Either way, the capabilities provided by a website and its benefits are invaluable. Like I said, today a website has become a necessity in my opinion. I cannot imagine any business (or person) not having an online presence, or one in the very near future.
When I was heavily involved with Paid Surveys, many survey takers who I was able to recruit through my website asked me how can they replicate my success and refer thousands of other survey takers like I was referring them at the time.
My answer was always the same, and that was to build your own website to increase your referral commissions. Sure, you can “manageably” earn $200-500 a month taking paid surveys and completing other product trial offers, but referral commissions is the best way to exponentially increase your monthly revenues from get paid to programs online.
While $200-$500 works for many, others simply want more. What if you want to make $1,000 or $2,000 a month? Or much more than that? It is possible. But since you only have X amount of free hours a day, it is not possible by merely continuing to complete paid surveys and other offers. So how do you get to the next level? You need to scale your “business”.
Most “get paid to” programs offer a referral system. Not only can you make money by working the programs yourself, but you make more money when you refer others to it as well. The limitation here is that you can only email so many people or tell so many people that you personally know. How the heck do you get the referrals you need to go from $500 to $1,000 or more per month?
The answer is by starting your own website or blog. Having your own website or blog will allow you to write about the opportunity, the success you’ve had with it and attract others. You can also teach others how you have done it.
This will turn your readers into believers and they will join the programs using your referral links embedded on your website. Your website is available all over the world 365 days a year. Think about how many people you can be attracting. Think about how your website can be working for you even while you are sleeping or on vacation.
Even though this example is very specific to paid surveys, you can apply the same concept to pretty much anything. Let’s say you are a runner who has gotten faster over the years. You can develop a program on how to run faster and sell it on your blog, but only after establishing the blog and building a followership through discussing your first-hand experiences.
Going back to my specific example, here is how my business evolved over time before my eyes. I learned about the paid survey system on a client engagement while I was employed. I decided to try out the system personally, completing paid surveys and various other “get paid to” offers. I did this for a few months and I found myself stuck financially at a certain point.
However, I did notice that my earnings were given a nice boost each time I was referring others. I was getting my leads mainly through posting in relevant forums and blogs, conducting banner exchanges (a thing of the past) as well as the few I managed to email or ping on Facebook.
I then decided to start a website to expand my reach. Once I had a website going, I kept adding relevant content, providing tips based on what I had learned. With appropriate search engine optimization and internet marketing, I was able to drive a lot of traffic to my website and as a result generate more referrals.
After nearly six months, I added a newsletter auto responder that communicated with my referrals frequently on auto pilot. This helped me build relationships and further increased my referrals. My website visitors often signed up for the newsletter, received and read my content, built their trust in me and subsequently joined the programs I advocate.
Before I knew it I was no longer personally completing paid surveys and “get paid to” offers. Rather, I was making more money creating new content on my website, building my newsletter series and continuing to hone the relationship with my website visitors.
All of this started with simply putting together and basic information based website, one that has become a flexible and lucrative business I never imagined it would become, turning me from a simple survey-taker to an authority on the subject matter of paid surveys and making money online with no out of pocket investment.
Now that we have discussed the WHY, let’s focus a bit on the HOW. This section would have been significantly different had I been writing it 5 years ago. Yes, in just the past 5 years, advancements in technology have turned website and blog creation from PAIN to PLEASURE.
Technology used to be the biggest barrier to entry in the online space, and it is because this barrier was shattered that we now see a saturation of websites and blogs online. Website and blog creation today has become a real fun activity, one that anyone can indulge in, thanks to the tools available to us today.
Building a website or blog from scratch is a great experience. You get to plan it out, visually monitor its progress over time and finally witness the end product when it’s all done. I don’t know about you but this stuff excites me even today, despite having built over 20 websites now, both personal and “quasi-commercial”.
Websites are very satisfying and are yours to keep forever as long as we have the Internet. Once you have a website, you have the flexibility to make it into whatever you want. It’s all about experimenting, getting creative, learning and reaping the satisfaction you get out of it.
Of the many programs available to design a website, the two best ones in my opinion are CoffeeCup and DreamWeaver. DreamWeaver is the best website creation program I have ever come across. I have been using it for as far back as I can remember.
Website creation programs are referred to as HTML editors, because HTML is the programming language in which websites are written or coded. But you don’t have to learn how to code in this foreign language if you use one of the programs I mentioned.
HTML editors today allow you to design your website by using your mouse and keyboard, by pointing, clicking, dragging, dropping and typing. It is no different than typing on Microsoft Word. As you design your website, the HTML code is automatically generated in the background without being visible to you. Of course you can have a peak at it if you want.
These programs are called WYSIWYG, which stands for What You See Is What You Get. They are very easy to use and like I said don’t require you to know any coding / programming.
If you want an even better website building tool, which is more comprehensive and comes with your own domain name (website URL), hosting service, keyword research and SEO tools, as well as other functions, have a look into the Site Build It! suite.
This is the program I used to build my first few profitable websites.
Whatever you decide to do, DO NOT create a free website. Read here why. If you are going to use WordPress, I recommend that you get your own domain name and host the website on your own host. Do not leave your work on a domain and host that you don’t own and control.
I like WordPress because I think after SBI, it is the next best website or blog creation platform. I like the Thesis WordPress theme specifically out of all because it saves you the hassle of the HTML, is extremely user friendly and is designed with SEO in mind unlike most other themes that convolute the Blog’s code and harms its SEO.
If you are going to blog, I highly recommend using the Thesis theme, which inherently will put you ahead of your competition. If you’d rather maximize your time and do something else you are more in-tune with and want to hire a web developer, I recommend Elance or RentACoder as excellent hubs to hire a reliable programmer.
I have put together a comprehensive section on How to Make Your Website with over 100 articles that will take you step by step through the process. It is written with the non-technical beginner in mind like me. Remember, I am not a programmer.
I have also written a comprehensive report on how to go from $0 to $1,000 a month in passive income online in just 180 days. This report has done very well and has been downloaded by nearly 75% of my subscribers. You can access it on the top right hand side of this blog when you sign up for email updates.
In our lifetime we have seen the internet evolve from a Government experiment (Al Gore thinks otherwise however) of limited usage, to a creation that has become part of us and our day to day lives.
We all live online and maintain our own unique digital personalities to some extent. This extent will likely increase in the future, although I certainly hope not to the extent to which the movie Wall-E foreshadowed our future to be.
The interesting fact about the internet is that when compared to the telegram, radio, television, refrigerator and telephone, it STILL HAS NOT hit critical mass. I cannot imagine what the world would be like when it finally hits its stride.
The beauty of all of it is that the cost and reach is becoming more scalable by the day, making internet more accessible and affordable for consumers globally. In addition to the low cost, the internet allows us to experiment on it with relatively low financial risk (i.e. when starting a business venture).
It is fun, flexible, forgiving and most importantly has no scalability limits. We can tweak it, twist it and turn it in whichever way we want. So unless you are not a professional (employee), don’t run a business (side gig or full time), or don’t feel like you have anything to say to the world, I guess you can get by without a website or a blog today.
But for the rest of the 96.9724%, I will argue that one is needed or you are shooting yourself in the foot.
Do you have a website or blog today? What do you use it for? If you don’t, are you planning on having one?
Some of my additional thoughts on why you need a website these days.Previous: Why Do You Work? What Makes You Get Up Every Morning?