Our recent members' survey indicated that three quarters of us maintain our own website – and this remains the most popular online promotional tool – social media usage for business purposes lags behind.
This struck member, Fiona Silver, as an interesting finding and she posed a question on the E-group – 'is a website worth the time and money?'. When she set up as a freelancer 18 months ago, Fiona decided to rely on her LinkedIn page rather than pay for an expensive site or have a DIY version which ran the danger of looking poorly done, and being off-putting rather than advantageous.
Fiona summarised the resulting debate as follows:
- Most people felt that a website was important for their business
- However, this was largely as a means of reassurance rather than a way of proactively attracting new business. It is difficult to climb the SEO rankings unless you have a very specific niche
- There was some indication that the likes of LinkedIn were taking over some of the role of company websites
- A site was likely to be more necessary when dealing with end clients rather than other agencies.
- A site provides a more professional impression
- Provides a format for showcasing previous work
- Implies a permanent commitment to freelancing
- May be needed in some professional circumstances
- Available to all (unlike full profile on LinkedIn)
- Provides a corresponding email address which looks more professional.
Recommended Software for 'DIY' sites included Wordpress, 1and1.co.uk, wix.com, branded.me (uses LinkedIn profile to create a website). Timescales for creating a website varied from 4 hours (using branded.me) to 5 days – most of the time is spent in creating content.
So will Fiona now set up her own site – I guess we will have to wait and see!