Look there is no denying that I like Google Plus. The sense of community out there is great. You can get into conversations with so many different people. You can setup hangouts and create relationships with individuals. You can keep track of events and technologies using circles. With all of this technology, it is very easy to look back at your website and think to yourself.. “ohhh… well just… look at you… what can you ever do better now that this is in my life.. ”
Now, your website is not going to respond because…. well… it’s a website. But that doesnt mean that it agrees with you. It just means that you are overlooking three basic things that a website can do for you.
Give you an Actual Home
Here’s the best example of looking out of date. How do you usually feel when you run into someone who says “Oh email me.. my email address is firstname.lastname@example.org ? Or email@example.com ? or firstname.lastname@example.org? Dumb right? Tech is very fashion when it comes to this.. and we tend to have a “oh get with the times, grandpa” effect when we see this. Guess what.. @yahoo.com is becoming that.
While I absolutely love Google, and sincerely think that its here to stay forever – I dont bet on anything other than me.. Having a website and having an email to a website says something to a person. Think of sharing a file. When you say “Oh.. go over to this free service where I paid or tell people about X service” May be cool.. but theres an amount of Gravitas that comes with “Oh.. just pick up the file in your client folder on my site.. here it is.. ”
These things say that you have invested something in the brand that you are trying to push onto them with a business card or a phone call. I argue that having it makes you look a little more serious. In this day and age where every little bit counts.. its an advantage that you cant afford to lose. Technology changes. That is inevitable.. and a couple of years from now, you could be looking at gmail.com as so 2012. I mean.. everyone knows Windows is where its at.. right… right?
You Monetize and Build a Brand
Lets say you want to go to company XYZ and pitch them on having them invest in you (give you product to review.. sponsor you.. commit to spending X on an idea you have). When you go to that company and tell them, “Oh.. how important am I? Well.. I have 100,000 Twitter followers” you are going to look like a complete tool. Do you know why? Cause anyone with a paypal account can buy 100,000 twitter followers.
Here’s something interesting. Doesnt it surprise you that XYZ Twitter celebrity with thousonds of twitter followers sends out a tweet that says “Oh.. mr. So and so (lost/burned/damaged/ruined) his XYZ and we need 5,000 dollars to get something back.. lets take charge. I’ve come back to these accounts and have seen “Ok man.. 4 days left.. just 4000 to go.. ” If you’ve got 80,000 Twitter followers, and you cant motivate them to give you .0625 cents, guess what – you’re a bystander in this conversation…
Now.. go back to the same conversation and tell someone “Hey.. my website does X amount of page impressions.. gets X amounts of views… has X amount of unique visitors. My newsletter campaign goes out to X amount of people.. with X% that open it. ” Now you are an influencer.. I believe at some point in the future, we will collectively look back at these last few years as the Social Media Bubble.. much like the internet bubble and the sock dog puppet.. All this bluster..no movement.
You Set Your Own Rules
With every new service out there, there is almost always the requisite “HOLY SMOKES HAVE YOU SEEN THE TERMS OF SERVICE ON THIS PIECE” war that happens a couple of weeks after it rolls out. We all jump up and down and swear” how dare company X steal my picture” as if it were the next BBB (Bresson Blurry Bike.. yeah I said it) pic.
You know where you don’t have that problem? On your website. If you use your site to post your content.. you’ll never be in violations of your own terms of service. If you post your content over on your site, you generate for yourself. You assume that there will be tons of people that will not know all of the instaTweets, or gowalsquare or whasseewhosits and develop content that will be uniquely yours.. on your terms.. and no one is going to kick you out or manipulate you out of this one..
Those are three things to keep in mind… Considering the fact that you can make your own website for like 6 bucks a month and have the whole thing looking pretty for under a hundred dollars.. you’d be crazy not to. Don’t believe me? I wrote a book about it. make sure you check it out!