Is a website necessary?

Having noticed that my site now shows up as ‘not secure’ I am contemplating whether to bother with a website at all. In the short term, I have to get an SSL and that’s in hand. It’s the long-term that I am thinking about.

(I am not a techie so “?” means if that’s the right word/terminology)

I have read the need (?) for https and the overt objective is all very noble. Assuming I understand correctly. the intention is for each site? to have a unique IP address, not shared.

As this is? a Google-oriented initiative and we know that Google makes its money from advertising and more particularly targeted advertising, I am wondering whether the intention is first to rid the www of all not -secure sites (a process made easier by encouraging visitors to treat not secure with suspicion and avoid) and then to concentrate upon extracting for advertising purposes as much saleable content from secure sites and IP end-owners.

Effectively by pruning the www of what are categorised as ‘not secure’ sites, Google can carry on including all sites in its search engine whilst simultaneously deterring anyone from visiting them all.

Whether to have a website depends upon what you do. I provide a professional service in the commercial property market (UK) and the content on my site is information only: I do not sell anything directly off the site. Before I had a website, I managed perfectly well to attract a vast amount of work simply by circulating my printed newsletter. Since deciding to concentrate upon developing my website, which is now over 500 pages, I ceased a printed newsletter as well. Unlike my printed newsletter which was distributed to my target market - all recipients readily found - the website attracts a different type of reader/enquirer because on-line I have no control over who visits. But whether on balance i am better off for having the ‘connection’ aspect of my marketing effectively done for me rather than doing it all myself the old-fashioned way is a moot point.

To my way of thinking, a non-transactional website is simply an online brochure. Aa a long-term RW customer, I have had my fill of wasting money on experimenting with third-party developer ideas/add-ons. Novelty having worn off, i am happy with my site theme and Will Woodgate’s services. With SSL and its requisite renewals via by ISP, not to mention the ISP’s hosting renewal costs, etc. it is apparent that the expense of a website is rising. So too is the loss of privacy. With a unique IP address, a search engine is more? able to pin-point the IP addressee?

Having a website and the impression it forms and leaves is, in my view, only really necessary for attracting the first-time visitor. It is my task to convert a visitor into a paying customer and my task also to ensure that each paying customer comes back for more whenever they are in need of more advice. So arguably the really hard tasks are nothing to do with Google or RW etc.

As I have said, it very much depends upon what you do and the role of the site, It used to cost me about £1000 ex VAT a year to print and distribute my quarterly newsletter, excluding the time-involved, to approximately 2000 recipients. My return on capital was usually 10 times the total cost. With my website, I don’t think I’ve attracted anything like the same calibre of client that my printed newsletter obtained. On the contrary, because the information and advice that is freely available on the site is so useful, I receive a steady flow of enquiries all of which have to be processed even though four out of five enquiries are pointless from my point of view.

Having a website has also made me lazy. Whereas in the past I would contact direct someone I thought might be interested in my services, I now wait for people to contact me. It concerns me too that I am obliged to be more careful in what I write about on my site, as distinct from what my newsletter used to contain. Of course, such factors are me specific but there is I think no getting away from the fact that whether to have a website is not necessarily such a good idea. Especially nowadays when the cost of circulating a printed newsletter could be reduced by email distribution.

I’d welcome your comments.

I think your post title brings up an interesting question. Although The post seems to stray away from the subject talking about SSL and Google and IP addresses.

HTTP vs HTTPS

First, let’s address the HTTP vs HTTPS subject you started with.
I’m no fan of Google, but the push to securing the web is not a “Google-oriented initiative”. It really doesn’t benefit anyone other than the users of the internet by protecting their privacy. One of the largest advocates is the ISRG (Internet Security Research Group) a non-profit group that has many large sponsors including Mozilla(FireFox), CISCO and Facebook to name a few. The ISRG is the creators or Let’s Encrypt that offer Free SSL certificates.
Google’s Chrome may have been the first to produce the warning message, but other browsers followed. As for the Unique IP address, it really doesn’t have any benefits to Google as you can still have an SSL certificate with a shared IP address using SNI (Server Name Indication) technology if the web server supports this.

Is a website necessary?

Now for the subject line of the post. One of the first things I ask when being approached to build a website for a business is “What the heck do you want a website for?” Most don’t have a good answer, they just think they “have to have one” because their competitors do. I think it’s important to figure out why and what a website is for. What the objective is, how you expect the site to be found and how are you going to measure the ROI.

Unfortunately, most website developers (both self-developed and paid) don’t take the time to define these “objectives and goals” up front, so most of the over 1.5 billion websites out are ineffective. And very few really acutely measure what’s working and what’s not.

So is a website necessary? For a lot a business the answer is NO it’s not a necessity, after all, a lot of businesses have been around since before the Internet, and a lot today are doing quite OK without a “useful” website.

Can a website help a business? A well-designed website that has defined objectives and goals can definitely improve a business.

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@Aaron wrote a great blog post about WHY you want a website for your business. I can’t find the link right now but maybe he has it :wink: ?

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Blue Corona wrote a great article on this: https://www.bluecorona.com/blog/do-i-need-a-website, but having a website comes with risk. You should have different ways of communicating with your customers/potential customers, because not everyone wants/expects to communicate with a company in the same way.

My personal belief on:
Postcards and newsletters that I get in the mail: I LOVE them. But I immediately throw them away and will reference back to a company’s website to view any material.

eMail: Hate it. I generally bulk delete email and I rarely care if I delete something important. I figure, if it’s important, someone will call. Lyft recently emailed me and sent a survey to tell me they cared about me after their driver ran red lights and sped on a recent ride in SoCal. I was offended, because if they cared, they would have called. However, Joe Workman recently sent out a video after I purchased Font Pro (I think). I LOVED it. I don’t even remember what I bought, but I remember the video email.

Social Media: Only use IG from time to time, otherwise, count me out.

Magazine Ads: LOVE them and I find myself easily influenced by them. I buy magazines, just for the ads. I prefer the printed ads over the exact same content online.

TV Commercials: I can’t get enough of them!! If I’m watching by myself, I will watch the commercials, but will fast forward if I’m with my family.

The bottom line is simple. Your question should be sent to your customer base to find out what they want and what they expect from you.

@LaPan you gave me permission to pull out the candy stick!

Not every business model requires a website. However, there’s dozens of stats that show potential clients, partners, and employees will all research a company they’re potentially going to do business with. The point of a website is to help establish credibility, trust and serve as a resource for your business.

I have clients that also deal with property development, and they especially need to have their site current, regardless if the site is used to make a transaction.

Relevant story: a local company contacted me about building their site. I sent them a reasonable proposal, and the client ended up using Wix/Weebly to build the site themselves. Fast-forward 2 weeks: I was at a networking event and this business came up. No one had good impressions because they couldn’t find this company’s website and/or when they found it, it looked very poorly put together.

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