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6 Reasons to NOT Build a Website – Keep Up With The Web – Sherryl Perry

6 Reasons to NOT Build a Website

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Need a blog? Need a website? Why? What are you planning to do with it? Are you selling something? Do you hope to make money through affiliate programs or Google AdSense ads? Do you have an existing business and need an online presence? Building a website should be done strategically – (unless you have time and money to “burn”). If you’re serious about your business or being an entrepreneur, you need to think and act strategically.

6 Reasons to NOT to Build a Website

#1 Everyone tells you that you “need” to have a website.

#2 If you build “it” (a website), “they” (new customers) will come.

#3 Blogs are “hot” right now.

#4 Your competitor has a website.

#5 Your son/daughter (neighbor, friend, third cousin twice removed) offered to build one for you.

#6 You can build a website for “free”. Plus, it’s “easy “to do!

Believe it or not, I have been approached by quite a few people who want to have a website but have not really thought it completely through. Some of these people have businesses and brands. Others have an idea but may not have a strategy. They may even know what their product/service is and who their ideal customer is but they may not yet have a name or brand in mind. If I listen and their reason for needing a website is one of the six above, we need to talk. It doesn’t mean that they don’t need a website. They probably do. The other thing they need is a plan.

6 Reasons You’re Ready to Build your Website

#1 You have a business strategy that includes having an online presence.

#2 You know who your niche target customer is.

#3 You have a specific objective in mind. (advertising, customer service, e-commerce, opening new markets, reducing the cost of printed materials, etc.)

#4 You have a specific goal(s) in mind. (increase sales by 50%, acquire 5 new clients each month, generate $10k/month thru advertising revenue, )

#5 You have done your homework. (identified your niche target market, researched keywords, strategized on how to differentiate, identified your brand, developed your marketing message )

#6 You have an action plan.

What do you think? Do you have more reasons to add? (I’m sure you do.) Now, I’m not saying I won’t build a website for someone who doesn’t already have a business strategy. Actually, those people are some of my favorite clients to work with. I do think that as a professional, it’s my responsibility to make sure that my clients (my family, friends and casual acquaintances) have a plan. After all, websites aren’t effective if they’re not producing your desired results.

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Published by Sherryl Perry

Welcome! If you're looking for help building an Internet presence that fits your needs and works for you, you're in the right place. I blog common sense articles about WordPress, social media and SEO. My goal is to help small business owners and entrepreneurs understand their core business. Together, we can develop and implement business strategies that make sense to you.

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86 Comments

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  1. Darrell,
    One of the biggest problems that I see is people who use free website builders to build their websites. There may be free website builders where you can move your site if you need to but I’m not aware of any of them. In most cases, you’re using proprietary software and if you decide (or need to move it), you’re faced with the prospect of rebuilding your site.

  2. I would add make sure they have time to tweak it and adjust inventory if they are selling products. It takes a lot of time to maintain a retail website. Also each product needs great copy to showcase it. So many details. One must be willing to work hard, not just put it up and think they will make sales.

    1. Thanks for adding that Lisa. There are so many abandoned websites for exactly the reasons you’ve mentioned. There is no such thing as just building a site and waiting for visitors.

      Product copy is an excellent opportunity to optimize eCommerce sites for the search engines. Also, every website needs to be tested for usability. If someone doesn’t have the budget to pay for this testing, at the very least, they should sit down and watch how people use your site. If people get frustrated or have to ask what they’re supposed to do “next”, you have changes to make because in the real world, that person would simply leave your site.

  3. “If you build “it” (a website), “they” (new customers) will come.”

    If only eh Sherryl, if only?

    Lot of hard work to build a real following… and that’s just the beginning.

      1. Hi Sherryl
        Can’t imagine what the idea is, but I look forward to reading it.

        BTW – it’s Keith Davis here from easyP.
        I’ve just set up a new site, hence the different email etc.
        If you get a few mins, please pay me a visit.

  4. When having our own website, we need to have good reasons why we need to have one. We need to remember that commitment to our site is needed so we can truly maximize its benefit. I’ve seen some sites built by others then eventually taken for granted by its owner.

    1. Michael,
      I use the word “commitment” often when I’m talking to someone who is considering blogging. There are so many abandoned blogs in the blogosphere, we don’t need any more. A lot of my clients reach a point where they maintain their own sites and us me as a backup. Other clients of mine elect to have me “babysit” their websites. A lot of time it comes down to skill sets and the best use of their time.

      1. Yup! I’ve noticed some abandoned blogs too. I read that most common reasons why these blogs were abandoned is because most bloggers were not able to see any promising benefit from the their blog. Some find it difficult to maintain their blogs, whether the issue is about financing the blog or creating contents.

  5. Building a website is not an easy task. You need to make a plan on how this site would be successful. Starting from the right domain name, reliable hosting, interesting content, great link building technique, etc… Absolutely, have lots of things to consider. If all are ready, I guess it’s time to build a site, but a person needs to have high level of commitment, positive attitude towards reaching his goals to make his site succesful.

  6. I agreed with you. In considering and expanding on your last reason about having an action plan, you had me thinking about authors. They always say that you shouldn’t even think about publishing a book without a plan on how you’re going to promote it. I think this rings so true for a blog as well.

    1. I’ve recently begun working with several authors as clients and what I’ve been told by a couple of them is that publishers don’t even want to talk to them unless they already have established a presence on social networking sites like Facebook. It’s amazing how times have changed in the last few years.

  7. A business benefit from its online presence when it’s able to generate leads. A web site equipped with good landing pages will have its own benefits. Cleverly prepared landing pages serve as a great source of valuable leads that contributes to the growth of business.

  8. I think this pretty much has things covered. If someone is going to start a website with business oriented intentions then they’re going to need to cover all of their bases. Things are different if some is creating a website or blog just for fun but when you have clear cut intentions that’s when the critical thinking comes into play. It’s certainly not as simple as setting up a website and adding come content to it.

    1. I agree Evan. Anyone with business intentions should definitely plan ahead. Even if someone doesn’t think they’ll ever turn their blog into a business, things change and they may. The great thing about WordPress is that it’s possible to build a really good website with it. So, many bloggers have a good foundation to work with. What I see that bothers me the most is when people want a website and they turn to proprietary website builders. That’s almost always a shaky foundation because (in most cases), if you want to host your site elsewhere, you need to rebuild your site.

  9. Sure.

    Most good SEO firms will rank well for some SEO terms. We don’t rank well because we have not put much effort into ranking. We have been too busy with clients. You really want to see what a SEO firm has done for their clients.

  10. They expect this because they are told this by so called experts who just want them to pay flat fees for SEO. The lead generating business really fuels this. They cold call ANY business and sell dreams of making millions by ranking for some obscure keyword related to their business.

    “We can rank you for ‘dog grooming (your small town)’ and you will rank above all of your competitors in your city! You will get all of the online business. Imagine how much money that can make you and it will only cost you $699!”

    So many problems begin with telemarketers preying on small businesses.

    A business owner really needs a business that can do well online and have a market to sell to. The market must be large enough to make it a worth while investment. If you don’t KNOW the REAL size of the online market (factual, historical numbers) then don’t even put together a plan until you get those numbers. A good place to start is adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal

    1. This is great advice Joe. The link that you included to Google’s keyword tool is a great place for someone to start. Ideally, all business owners know who their target customer is, why that customer needs/wants their product/service and what the benefits are to that customer. It’s unfortunate that many business people do not have the answers to that. It comes down to those basics and then the business person should start researching keywords.

      I hear what you’re saying about SEO “experts”. Some of these so-called experts can’t even place their own websites in the top search engine rankings. So, how can they possibly help other businesses You sound very knowledgeable. Let me know if you’d ever be interested in writing a guest post. Maybe you could give us some insight into how (or how not) to find an SEO firm to work with.

  11. I agree with Sherryl. I have seen many sites that look horrible and give a bad image to a good business.

    I have seen countless businesses that have horrible sites contact me for SEO and say “I need you to rank me #1 for these terms”. I refuse the work. Having a bad site will never bring business and they are hard to rank.

    I think many small businesses just want a quick little site and think they will easily get online customers, but they rarely have a good budget or real plan. They are left with a mess and wasted money. Real plans with a good budget can generate amazing return on investment. Just make sure you have both.

    1. Thanks for weighing in with your opinion Joe. It amazes me to hear of businesses who expect to be able to hire someone to optimize their websites for SEO without having laid the basic foundation which is a decent website. Even if you were able to drive traffic to their site, what would keep the website visitors there long enough to answer the call to action? You’ve offered excellent advice to create a plan and have a budget if you truly want an optimized website.

  12. Justin, One thing that I did not mention in this post (but I’ve blogged about before) is that some people opt to build their website with free website builders. I always caution about that for several reasons. One reason is that you don’t actually own a website that your can host anywhere other than with that one vendor. The content is yours but if you build a site using proprietary software and you want/need to move your site, in most instances, you’re faced with rebuilding your website.

  13. Thanks Reign. I’m glad you found my post helpful. I was answering a question on LinkedIn and my answer was getting rather lengthy (as they often do). I decided to turn it into an article (as well as post an answer). I’m always looking for ideas to blog about. 🙂

  14. My personal opinion is that websites seem more professional than blogs, even if lots of top-notch companies and bloggers are more than professional enough. I’ts just that sites seem…more serious. But that’s just me. A blog is friendlier, more personal (and thus useful for connecting with people), but I still find that the website should be the backbone of an online business/

    1. There actually are a lot of popular brands like Sony, The Wall Street Journal, GE and Ford that use WordPress software to build professional looking websites. There’s a discussion group on LinkedIn where WordPress designers can showcase websites that they’ve built with WP. Most of theses sites don’t look anything like blogs. I don’t think most people on these sites would even recognize them as being built with blogging software. 🙂

  15. Ron, Your point about not maintaining your site is especially true when it applies to blogs. In my opinion, it’s better to not have a blog at all rather than start one and not update it on a regular basis.

  16. Sheryl….thanks SO much for the feedback! I will go there and check it out. Your site is Great!!!

  17. Thanks for the feedback Scott. I checked out your blog and it’s good. Can I offer you a suggestion that’s quick, free and should help drive traffic to your site? Hop over to http://www.gravatar.com and create a globally recognized avatar. When you leave comments and people start to recognize you, they’re more apt to follow your links. 🙂

  18. I agree totally with you Sherryl! I use WordPress and it rocks! Thanks for the content! I will repost.

    Scott

  19. That’s the greatest mistake people kept on doing…doing business without a solid plan. if one has a business in mind, (no matter what it is), there should be a long term plan besides the short term..to measure the time needed to have it all completed…

  20. Generating public awareness of one’s product is a good reason to consider a website due to the fact that so much shopping is done on line at the present time.
    Thank you for sharing. I “liked” this post.

    1. Thanks Catherine for taking the time to comment and “liking” my post. I appreciate it. I agree that there are many reasons why business people need to have websites. I just strongly advise people to have a strategy. The old saying “build it and they will come” does not apply to websites and even if you do get visitors to your site, getting them to stay and then buy is a whole other ball game.

  21. I think follow kevin rose’s move and get a domain name but point the url to a Google plus page. I dont think I could ever get rid of my domain name, but I could defiantly rid of my website.

    1. Stephen, I’m not familiar with Kevin Rose’s strategy. Do you have a link to it so we can see what he did? As for getting rid of your website… were you joking? I’m hoping you’re just having one of “those” days. 🙂 Is there anything we can help you with?

  22. Couldn’t agree more. This is an excellent example of the whys and why nots. People think it’s funny when I talk them out of doing a web design for them because they feel most people would jump at the chance to make more on a client. That’s true, but that doesn’t make it right and I prefer to advise accordingly when it’s a great time to build. Great post.

    1. Good for you Dennis! Thanks for you input. I think by designing and/or building a website that doesn’t make sense for our client, we’re risking our reputation. If we recognize that the site they want is not going to produce the results they’re looking for, we also realize that ultimately the client won’t be happy. It’s great to get your input.

  23. Sherryl, what a breath of fresh air to read from someone with such integrity. I am sure you are not surprised to hear that so many people DO pay others to build them websites, not only without a plan, but also without any SEO advice/suggestions/etc. So there they sit with a really pretty website and have NO idea why no one is coming to visit! Great post – thanks for sharing your insights. Going to check out the Youtube video link you posted.

    1. Hi Julie, Thanks. 🙂 I couldn’t sleep nights if I didn’t try my best for my clients. I actually enjoy working with them to help them understand the business side. Like you say, a pretty website with not traffic – not a good thing!

      Thanks for the great article “Facebook TV”. I hope lots of people reading this article click on your link and read it. It’s very interesting and I for one was unaware of it.

  24. Sherryl,

    You hit he nail on the head. Building a website for the wrong reasons and not as a part of your marketing plan does not work. When you do not understand the value of having an online presence you will not take advantage of the actual perks that come with making your presence work to your make your business grow.

    My favorite one is… “Your son/daughter (neighbor, friend, third cousin twice removed) offered to build one for you.”

    Unless those people who have offered to build your site understand what it really takes to make that website work, you lose out on the value an online presence can bring to your business.

    Personally, I think that 99% of all business can benefit from having a website. I recently saw some statistics from the small business administration that said 80% of buyers do a local search on the web before they buy.

    I have found that most business do not want to take the time to learn how to set up a site. Although it has become easier and easier, it is not a hat they want to wear. And the do not need to. They can stick to what they know and have sites professionally done for them, by people that know all the ins and outs of how to make their site the best it can be.

    1. Hi Sheila,
      Once again, you and I are on the “same page”. I too believe that businesses need to have a website presence. That’s a very good video that you linked too. Interesting that it features Google and the SBA. I recently posted an article about resources for businesses and specifically mentioned that organization.

      Having a professional looking site is key to building brand awareness and establishing credibility. I find it upsetting when I talk to people who have ended up with amateurish looking sites because they’ve either built it themselves or let a “friend/family member” build it. As other readers have mentioned here, a bad website can do more harm than not having one at all.

  25. Hi Sherryl:
    I loved the way you made the 6 reasons in bullet points – more like hitting the nail on the head to make it compelling for anyone in business to start running to setup their own website today:)

    I liked that you pointed out that they can even setup a website for free – it’s amazing that many people do not know that. Knowing that websites are now as affordable to own, just like any essential commodity, will go a long way to get more businesses online.

    Another point is that they will greatly cut down on ad costs (to as low as $0) while increasing buyers.

    1. Hi Stella,
      Thanks for letting me know you enjoyed my post. The thing with “free” is that there is always some sort of hidden cost and people need to make informed decisions. I always caution people who decide to take the free route and use a proprietary website builder. The main problem I see with most of these builders is that you’re locking yourself into that specific vendor. Should you become disillusioned with them, in most cases, you do not have an actual website to move. If you decide to host with someone else, you have to build a new site.

  26. I agree that you need to have an excellent action plan or strategy before you make a website because it will be only a waste of time if you do not know what to do and you do not have the sense of direction.

  27. Sherryl,

    There are times you don’t need a blog or website.

    I have neighbors who are opening a Bricks for Kids shop locally. They really don’t need a blog. It may help but who has time? Anyway, they do have a Facebook page that is growing everyday where they update their fans all the time. Blog domain’s and reg are not free, FB is free.

    Now…if FB went down, a blog would be handy. Always have a back up plan.

    ~Allie

    1. Hi Allie,

      I understand that they don’t have time for a blog but do they have any sort of website? It is good that they have a presence on Facebook. I think there are always going to be people who expect a business to have a website. (I’m one of those people.) I threw out my phone books years ago and if I wanted to know when your neighbors’ shop was open, the first thing I’d do would be to Google on them.

  28. Hi Sherryl,

    I think you nailed some really great points in this article. Actually if people were to simply read this before starting a website I think we would see less bloggers and websites disappearing after two or three months.

    I think some of your points are debatable specifically when it comes to online e-commerce for business. Sometimes if you build it they really do come. If you have an existing client base and they order over the phone or manually using fax or e-mail e-commerce will bring them to the new technology.

    I think you created a really great article here and from the comments being left it’s a great topic for conversation!

    1. Hi Brian,
      Thanks for joining the conversation. 🙂 I agree that an e-commerce site can be extremely beneficial to a business. This is especially true when your competition has e-commerce on their site.
      Sherryl Perry recently posted..If Your Website Was a Wheel – Is Your Blog the Hub or a Spoke?My Profile

  29. Good point! Why make a website if you don’t need one! Indeed it’s a trend to have a website for everything you do, but if it’s not bringing any benefit, why making it?

    1. There are so many reasons for having a website. They can be an invaluable part of an overall marketing strategy. Anyone who has gone through the trouble of having a website built should have goals to measure the results and if they’re not benefiting from it, they need to change it.

  30. This are some great advises and for sure many have already bumped into them. In my opinion everyone who has business should have a website not because the clients will start coming just because is a marketing strategy and a very good way to present you products or services better.

  31. Hi Sherryl..Sometimes, there are advantages and disadvantages in building a website…It only depends to people how they handle it…

  32. Agreed!
    People, specially businesses have to think well of the strategy and must be at the right path before they start pushing and investing money on their site.

    1. It’s good to read the comments and see that the general consensus of everyone here is that a business strategy plays a key roll in growing a successful business. Thanks for dropping by John.

  33. I absolutely loved how you approached this, Sherryl! It really had me stopping in my tracks to make sure that I have the right motivation behind my blog!

    In considering and expanding on your last reason about having an action plan, you had me thinking about authors. They always say that you shouldn’t even think about publishing a book without a plan on how you’re going to promote it. I think this rings so true for a blog as well. I feel that the action plan should include a detailed marketing strategy involving various social media outlets! =) But I’m no expert. =P

    1. Samantha, I think the term “expert” is overused. I believe you’re absolutely right that bloggers need action plans that include a marketing strategy that incorporates social media. You may not call yourself an expert but I think you sound very savvy about business.

      1. Wow! I so appreciate your positive feedback on my business skills, Sherryl! =) Hugs!

  34. Hi Sherryl…I agree to some points in this blog…Thank you very much for sharing ti to us…I hope you can post more just like this…

    1. Thanks for letting me know that your agree with some of the point I’ve made. I’m curious. Which ones don’t you agree with and why? (I just love a good discussion. 🙂 )

  35. I always caution people against using website builders. If you choose to go this route, make sure that you can move your site to another website hosting vendor. In most cases, you’re using proprietary software and your website exists only as long as you host with them. Should they go out of business (or you become disenchanted with their services), you’re faced with having to rebuild your site.

  36. Hi Sherryl

    All salient points that you make. I can say I did all the things you said and even had a detailed business plan. However, that hasn’t meant making the number of sales as much as I had hoped.

    I have however learnt heaps having my blog and networking. However, my next site will be entirely different; built on a different platform and approached from a different perspective.

    So although my small niche blog has been very time consuming without the required results, I now know where things can improve and what to do to make the next site more profitable. And definitely I wouldn’t start any business without lots of research and clearly defined goals.

    Patricia Perth Australia

    1. Patricia, Have you considered running PPC ads to drive traffic to your site? You’d want to target the high-end customer who is looking for organic. (Feel free to contact me if you want. I might have a few tips I could share.)

  37. Hi. Maybe I can think of some “other” reasons why one should not or should have a website. The fact of the matter is that if you don’t have a real purpose for having a website or blog for that matter, it really does not make sense putting in any effort at all. Your last “sentence” says it all… “After all, websites aren’t effective if they’re not producing your desired results.” The keyword that calls my attention right there is “desired”… to desire we have to know what we want, to know what we want we have to plan on it, and then obviously take action.

    It is also worthwhile saying that having a website without proper planning can actually even produce negative results and hurt a brand, if done wrong.. Thumbs up!

    1. Francisco,
      You bring up an excellent point that having a website can actually produce negative results and hurt your brand. Thanks for adding that. It’s a valid and important point.

  38. I do think it is important for most business entities to have some sort of website because consumer start their research there. All your points however are well taken that once the website idea is entertained, it should meet a purpose and not just be fluff.

    1. Keyuri,
      The inspiration for this post came from more than one client that I have built websites for. They did need websites but sometimes clients have a product or service but they really haven’t identified who they’re marketing to. I can’t do them justice unless I understand who they’re targeting. The entire site needs to meet the needs of their target viewer or it will be ineffective.

      Your website is an excellent example of a well executed plan. Everything about your site, from the domain name to the pages and your blog posts are clearly targeting people who are interested in parenting advice.

  39. So true Sherryl! Sometimes building a website is not the way to go when you can not gain any new businesses from people finding you on the Internet. I see so many websites out there, just “hanging”, not ever touched for several years. I always ask the question: What’s the point then?”
    I think these thoughts of yours should reach a lot of people that are planning to build a website or a blog. Great advices you had on what we should have set up before even thinking of it.

    1. Thanks Nella. There are so many abandoned blogs and websites. Unless they were optimized extremely well, I can’t imagine any of them showing up high in the search results. Fresh content is definitely more important now than ever before.

  40. The challenge so often is that people do not plan a business. They get into business and continue to react. Good info and really useful for others to know. Thanks Sheryl

    1. It does amaze me that some people launch businesses without a plan. I personally don’t enjoy writing and updating my business plan but it definitely helps me stay on track. Writing it makes me set goals and reflect on where I am. There are plenty of examples online and a plan does not have to be elaborate. It really is worth the time it takes to write one.

  41. Sherryl. Everything you say is so true. Even a blog, which is easier to manage than a traditional website, takes time and commitment. So if you don’t know why you’re doing it, then don’t until you have a plan. I wonder how many thousands of orphaned websites there are out there.

    1. While a blog is easier to update, in many ways it is more challenging to manage – especially lately with all the WordPress updates. Not long ago I wrote a post that includes why not every business should have a blog or Web site. It is too old for CommentLuv so I’ll put it in the regular URL field. Instead of recommending every business have a blog why not add their content to existing related actively updated blogs? More in that post.

      1. Nice article Gail. I tweeted it for you. Whenever anyone asks me about blogging one of the first things I tell them is that it’s a commitment.

        Thanks for the opportunity to link our blogs!

  42. Agree with you completely Sherryl! If I decide to start a business my blog, or a new one, will be used as the website. This blog is actually a prime example of a blog being successfully used as a website.