10 Reasons to Have a Web Site

After posting at Search Engine Land on a new patent application from Google, I decided to keep things simple over here tonight, and go back to basics.

I couldn’t think of anything more basic that to ask why someone might want to have a web site to begin with. Here are ten reasons that I came up with:

1. Because there’s not enough room on a business card.

2. Stands in for you to your customers/clients/friends/associates when you’re asleep/eating dinner/spending time with friends and family/doing other stuff.

3. Can answer the same questions for you over and over and over.

4. Makes it easy for people to find your phone number without having to dig out the phone book.

5. Allows people too shy to call to send an email with the address they find there.

6. Enables you to share your expertise, experience, education, and enthusiasm without lifting a finger.

7. Permits you to have simultaneous one-on-one conversations with many different people.

8. Presents the opportunity for you to show off your personal side or your professional side or both sides.

9. Lets you keep in touch with friends and acquaintances.

10. Spreads your voice across the globe.

Added – More reasons from people commenting on this post:

11. Having and using web sites allows people with limited access, because of handicap or illness, to broaden their interactions with others. – Miriam, of Solas Web Design

12. A web site allows you to make connections with people who share common interests but with whom you might not other wise have crossed paths and met. – Barry, of StayGoLinks

13. To add to and supplement other marketing efforts, such as newspaper print promotions – Elizabeth Able.

14. To have a chance to experiment with and learn about design. – Praveen

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20 thoughts on “10 Reasons to Have a Web Site”

  1. Good Evening Bill,
    That was a nice post…and I share your sentiments about going light with this one, having just worked my way through your digital signatures post at SEL! (That was fascinating, by the way).

    One thing I think would be nice to add to your list above is that the ability to both own and use web sites has truly enriched life for countless people who are ill or handicapped. The Internet has given ‘handicapped access’ to the whole world for millions of people. Pretty neat.
    Miriam

  2. Yes, it is nice to get back to basics occasionally, Bill, and your post will probably be one that many more people can relate to than your excellent but sometimes complex posts on patents.

    If I was to give only one reason for having a website, it partially picks ups a number of the items you have but extends them somewhat. For me the Internet is all about making connections. Of course that can be with people who know you already and are looking for you. But it can also be people who have never known you but are looking for someone like you with your interests. Thankfully the search engines are so powerful, despite all we say about them, that they make that looking for connections process workable.

    The other reasons you give are good too, but they’re secondary to me.

  3. An excellent point, Barry.

    I think that if I were to bring the list down to one reason, I would agree with you.

    One question I sometimes hear from people, in response to suggesting that they start a web site, is “How do I make money from it?” I didn’t include “make lots of money” in my list because I think for most people the value is in making connections. Creating an ecommerce site is fine and good, but the web is a medium to reach out to people. A result might be making money, or making friends, or sharing ideas with others – but the ability to connect with others to do those things is what gives a web site value.

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  5. A great post. We work with mostly small to midsize businesses and while most of them are aware of these benefits, many fail to take the next step; developing an internet marketing strategy so their site will actually be found through SEO or PPC.

  6. Hi Julie,

    I know that I’ve stepped back to a fairly simple list of benefits here, but what I wanted to focus upon was just the simple and basic concept that the Web is a medium for communication.

    Search engines are an integral part of the Web landscape, and I agree with you that designing a site so that search engines can index those pages easily is an important tactic in a complete marketing strategy.

    My focus here was pretty narrow – having a web site is a way of getting involved in conversations happening on the web. Those conversations can be initiated by a search through a search engine or a paid click, or by a link on a directory or on someone else’s site, by a reference from someone who might have visited a site, or through social networking sites.

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  8. Nice list, but are there are there really any businesses in first world countries that don’t have websites? I believe the days of the brick and motor store being responsible for all of a company’s revenue are over for most industries. Even most restaurants have a website now.

    10 reasons to replace your brochure site with a blog or content management equipped website may be more interesting. William you’re a content generating machine, I’m envious. How many hours a day do you spend reading blog entries and writing for this blog?

  9. Hi Solomon,

    There are still many businesses that would benefit by having a web site, but don’t. Just taking the microcosm of the small businesses that run down the main street of the town I live in, about one-fifth of them have websites, while at least half of them could bring in more visitors with a site.

    Nice suggestion for a possible future post – I’ve been thinking that I should mix in some more “back to basics” type posts to go with the many patent and research related entries that I make here.

    Most days I spend at least between 3 to 5 hours reading, researching, and writing. Some days involve considerably more time, but keeping on top of all the changes and trends in the industry really does mean doing lots of reading, and trying to put what you’ve read into your own words. Given the choice between doing something like watching television or reading and researching, I usually prefer to do the later.

  10. To get more mileage out of print promotions.

    Let’s say you put a sale insert in your local newspaper every seven days. Potential customers who recycle that newspaper on day two may be interested in going shopping on day four or five. Why not give them the opportunity to find your ad online?

    Reproduced print ads are not enough to make a web site sing, but once you’ve got images, prices and the expectation of a regular sale, letting customers know they can always check your prices online is a good first step to giving them a reason to come back again and again.

  11. Nice one, Elizabeth.

    One of the music stores down the street has a wonderful inventory of CDs from small music labels, and they put a tent sign out in front of the store daily, listing which new titles have been received.

    They also sometimes write reviews of many of those, which they post on a bulletin board in the store.

    I don’t walk past their store everyday, but if they had a web site, and an RSS feed that told me about new releases, and provided reviews, I’d probably be spending a lot more on new music from them. They don’t need to sell online, but if they tell me what’s new, they may draw me to the store more frequently. Here’s a good example – Atomic Records (they use email instead of RSS, but it’s still a great way of extending their voice to others.)

  12. One of the reasons why i started a website is to “experiment” with what i learnt on a daily basis.

    So if someone said use TH for a table header (assuming i havent come across that before), then i would do that change on the site to see how it looks.

    I found it to be a very good way to learn, as by making mistakes and practical exposure it is far easier to understand a concept than just reading a book or listening to a lecture.

    :)

  13. I’ve started a couple of web sites for that very reason too, Praveen.

    Excellent point. The hands-on act of doing can make it a lot easier to learn.

  14. Hi everbody ;

    I want to add one more think to your list . Web sites are perfect income methods . :)

  15. Hi bilgi,

    A good addition. They certainly do provide many more people with the opportunity to make money, don’t they. They can provide businesses with a world wide audience, and can make the location of a business less of a limitation.

    A local store in my area that sold Scottish clothing and accessories became so busy after building a web site through the traffic from that site, that they no longer needed a store. They replaced it with a warehouse with a much cheaper rent.

  16. Hi Bill

    I love your top ten. hahahha, brilliant. Going to definitely use some of them when talking to people.

    Thanks, came onto your site for the first time today and I really enjoy your style.

    Wishing you an exSEOllent 2008 from South Africa.

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