Commentary and Advice by Woody Goulart

You only need a website today if you want to prove to others that you exist. If you are happy to remain in obscurity, you can get along just fine without having your own website.

Individuals, small and medium-size businesses, and nonprofits need a complete, yet affordable, selection of professional and customized services to enable them to win over their particular target audience with online marketing. Usually this means paying today’s high prices for professional services to get your own website. That is just a waste. And so unnecessary.

Nearly half of small and medium-sized businesses or nonprofits do not yet have their own website. One thing that I tell people today may sound shocking: You need to have a website if you want to have street credibility today in the business world. Your personal brand depends on having a website.

I firmly believe in this need to have a website after working since 1996 using the Internet for business. If you are someone who really does not want to have your own website, please read this one page and give me a chance to change your thinking.

I can help you if you start with an acceptance that yes, you need a website if you really want credibility today in marketing your business to your target audience.

Basic Rule of Business

Once you understand the need to have your own website, you need help with strategic marketing and personal branding online. The basic rule of business that I use can be explained using an ocean metaphor: You need to swim in the same waters as your potential customers.

You get the idea. The truth is: To do business today involving seeking and attracting potential customers, you need to bring what you are offering to your customers where they are.

The other simple reality is that having your own website is essential proof that you are savvy enough to use today’s contemporary tools of communication in the digital realm and online. You don’t want to be considered irrelevant or outmoded.

Perspective

Today, the use of the Internet for business is roughly 20 years old. Websites today differ greatly from how websites worked back in the 1990s when the Internet was new.

The major difference is that today’s websites are intended to interactive for your visitors compared to the old-school style of websites from the past.

Let me quickly express what you need and should want: You want a website for today, not a website that is from the 1990s. The past belongs in the past. Learn to respect the past, but understand that we must focus on today and tomorrow.

Living in the Present Day

Today, the best practice is to have a site that is attractive to look at and easy to use, plus, the website works the way it needs to work: People need to interact with you through your website if you want to be successful in using the website for your business.

The manner or way that you employ online and using digital outreach technology should be important to you. Resist the temptation to jump into an expensive contract with a provider of website services that promises you the sun and moon and a couple of galaxies, too.

Sure, having a website today is essential, but you can be smart and conservative in how you go about it. Why? You don’t want to dump a lot of money and time into something that is wrong.

Now a Warning: Merely getting your own website is not a secret doorway to either sudden riches or fame. Rushing out and using social media channels without thinking about why is not the answer to your most pressing business problems. Text messaging to thousands of smart phones may not necessarily rescue you from irrelevance.

Today’s digital technology together with the Internet represent marvelous human accomplishments and inventiveness. Websites and smart phones could surely not have been imagined a few decades ago except by the likes of science fiction writers. But, don’t get lost in the marvels that we now have at our fingertips in the 21st century.

The best way to success is to use digital technology together with the Internet as one of the tools of your trade.

Consider how computerized word processing has become an indispensable tool for writers today. Since word processing is so important to the craft of writing nowadays, how did anyone write and publish books before the invention of word processing software? Trick question.

Here is wisdom you can take with you today: Make effective use of the tools of today’s technology. Use the Internet. Have your own website. Yes, get into Twitter. And Facebook. Send text messages to reach the smart phones you know your audience uses.

Just be sure that you have carefully thought out why you are using these tools: Reaching, interacting with, and persuading your target audience should be your core reason and chief motivation.