One of the questions I get asked a lot is ‘Why should I have a personal website? What benefits does it bring and how can I make money from it?’
So I decided to give my answers in a blog post.
5 ways a website can grow your business or career
Contrary to what many people think, social media platforms don’t fill the place of a personal website.
Your website is like your home — it’s where you live online — while your social media platforms are like roads that lead to your home. Another way to look at it is to see your website as your headquarters and your social media platforms as outposts.
Shortcut to thought leadership
Having a personal website is perhaps the cheapest and fastest way to build authority and become recognized as an expert in your field.
While platforms like LinkedIn allow you to list your skills and get people to endorse you as a way of establishing yourself as an expert, a personal website provides a more organised platform to not only demonstrate those skills but also bring your body of work under one roof.
Instead of sharing expert insights on several social media platforms and diffusing your efforts as it were, you can simply publish them on your website and share across other platforms.
As you post useful content on your areas of interest, people will start recognizing you as an expert and thought leader in those areas.
Eventually, this will set you up for speaking gigs, seminar presentations, business engagements and other similar opportunities that will amplify your impact, your influence and your income.
It could even help you get a job or a client meeting that you wouldn’t get otherwise.
Decision makers get to see the stuff you’re made of thus making it easy for them to ascertain your suitability without having to rely solely on your CV.
Build meaningful relationships
Your website gives you a platform to connect with people who might have been otherwise beyond your reach.
One of the most satisfying experiences I have is when people call or send me a message to thank me for helping them solve a problem through some insights or resources that they encountered on my website.
These people often end up helping me in ways I had not even imagined.
For example, that’s how I met a new friend who informed me about a British Council event that ended up being one of the most fun and rewarding programs I ever attended.
We had a crop of seasoned facilitators from across Nigeria and several countries. I reunited with an old friend and met many amazing people.
Many other opportunities have sprung up from there. And this story is only one of the many.
Reduce costs or save money
Having a personal website enhances your capacity to create value for others.
And under the right circumstances you can exchange that value for what you need instead of having to cough up good cash for it.
For example, I often get books for free, in exchange for providing my honest opinion and sharing it with my audience.
I have also enjoyed free subscription to tools that would have otherwise cost me as much as 1200 dollars if I had signed up as a regular user. In one of those instances the founder contacted me after reading one of my blog posts. Again, this is one of many examples.
Another way you can save money with a website is by getting rid of printing costs. For example, if you have a seminar presentation you can make it available on your website instead of printing it out. Apart from cutting costs, you are also protecting the environment and creating a safer planet.
You can also apply this idea in other areas such as event registrations, surveys, customer feedback and marketing.
You can do all of these on your website instead of printing paper forms.
This also saves you the money, time and effort of data entry because you can usually download submitted data as a spreadsheet instead of transferring them manually.
Differentiation, exposure and visibility
You may be the best dancer in the world but that will not take you anywhere if you’re dancing in the dark.
You need to bring your gifts, talents and skills to the attention of the people who can recognise and reward you for it.
I love the way Michael Hyatt puts it: “Great ideas are no longer enough. Without a platform – something that enables you to get seen and heard – you don’t stand a chance. Having an awesome product, an outstanding service, or a compelling cause is no longer enough.”
Jesus gave an even clearer picture when coaching his guys several centuries ago: “You are the light of the world — like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house.” (You can read that here.)
Applied in the business or professional context, the lamp represents your skills, abilities and talents. The light is the value you create with those assets and the lamp stand is your platform for showcasing that value.
If you’re fine with being a local champion then you don’t need an online platform. But if the thought of making global impact has ever crossed your mindm you need a platform, the centre of which is a professional website that demonstrates your expertise and communicates the value you have to offer.
At the very least, you should have a personal blog that allows you to publish articles, connect with influencers in your areas of interest and send emails from your own domain (e.g. email@example.com) instead of a bland address like firstname.lastname@example.org.
Among other things, this differentiates you from the general class and gives you a professional bearing.
Make ROBO effect work for you
In case you missed the memo, ROBO is short for Research Online, Buy Offline. Many people think you only need a website if you’re selling things online.
That’s no longer true, if it ever was.
Even if you’re not selling online, you still need a decent and effective online presence.
People are searching for information about your work and what you have to offer.
Buyers look for reviews, blog posts and other online content about what they need or want to buy. Once they make up their mind, they visit an outlet and make the purchase.
With a carefully crafted website you can make use of SEO optimisation and targeted adverts to capture this category of customers.
Show me the money
Now you’re probably thinking, “I love this! But there’s still something missing — how do I make money from my website?”
Or maybe you’re not so concerned about making money with your website — you have other sources of income that take care of that — but at least you want your website to generate enough money to pay for its maintenance.
One of the most popular ways of making money from your website is selling advert spaces or signing up for services like Google Adsense.
But I don’t advise it if your goal is to build a brand that resonates with your ideal clients or audience.
It’s a different matter if you’re building a news website, gossip blog or other such platforms.
Money is essentially a means of exchange of value.
As you increase your capacity to create value so does your earning power increase.
When you take a closer look at the benefits highlighted above, you will see that they will all serve to raise your value, consequently helping you to make more money.
However, if you want more specific guidelines check out these five amazingly simple ways to make more money and create massive impact.
A whole new world of possibilities
Apart from the benefits highlighted above, having your own website will open up new vistas of opportunities.
It can help you clarify your vision, build an audience, control your online reputation, land new clients, provide resources for personal and professional growth, publish your book, try out new ideas and do many other wonderful things.
In the end, it all boils down to how you choose to use it.