In 2023, running a personal website is a double-edged sword. On one hand, it’s completely unnecessary for most creators and (small) businesses to build and manage a website.
On the other hand, it has huge positives, and it‘s’ never been easier to create one.
Why should you own a website in 2023? Let’s explore!
Before I begin
Before I dive into the why, let’s go over some important details.
First, there a good reasons not to own a website. I’ve listed some of those in a previous story. You’ll find that here.
Secondly, you might ask yourself what “website” in this case means. I am not talking about any profile, account, or subdomain you can create on any given online platform. They are websites, of course. Your Medium profile is a website, your Substack profile is a website, even your Twitter profile is a website. But we don’t think about “websites” in that way. I don’t at least.
When I say website, I am talking about a set of pages you (or someone you hired) created for you on a custom domain that you bought, pay, and run.
With that out of the way, let’s jump into this story.
Why a website?
In this digital age, having a website can be crucial for both personal and business needs. A website is a virtual hub where people can find you or your business and learn more about what you have to offer.
Here are some practical reasons why you should consider owning your own little space on the web.
To me, the most significant reason for owning a website (or at least a custom domain) is brand identity or branding.
While there’s nothing wrong with having a WordPress.com subdomain with your name (like name.wordpress.com), the branding is stronger with a custom domain like name.com.
A website gives you control over your brand identity. You can design your website to reflect your brand’s personality and values, and ensure that all the content on your site is consistent with your brand’s messaging.
#2 Establish your online presence
Some people will tell you that establishing an online presence is the main reason for owning a website.
It’s not wrong. I disagree, however.
You can establish a presence on any given platform without owning a website. Your Twitter profile can become a strong online presence for you and your business. So can your Substack profile, your Medium profile, LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, etc.
This isn’t an issue.
The next one is more interesting.
#3 Improve credibility
This goes back to branding. With your name (or the business title) on a custom domain, the credibility is instantly uplifted. For two main reasons:
- Domains cost
- Webhosting costs
Not at lot, but they do eat up some cash. That leads to more credibility (in people’s heads at least).
#4 Increase visibility
Next up is visibility. And this one is a double-edged sword again.
On one hand, a custom domain with great content, proper SEO, and increasing traffic will do wonders for visibility. Furthermore, you “own” that traffic. It is counted towards your domain name.
On the other hand, a new website has absolutely no leverage at all. Search engines won’t know you exist for a while, your domain authority score or DA score (a major factor for ranking in search engines) starts at the lowest score of 1. The highest score is 100.
Established domains have high DA scores. Medium sits at 94, for examples. That means a story on Medium will always outperform a story on your domain when it comes to search engine traffic.
So, visibility is a two-sided deal.
#5 Engage with your audience
A website allows you to engage with your audience in a more personal way. You can create a blog, post updates about your business, and interact with your visitors through comments.
Overall, though, a social media profile and a well-positioned email list will do better in terms of engagement.
#6 Money, money, money
Finally, a reason to own a website is to earn money.
You can run ads on your website, include sponsorships, add affiliate links, take on clients, offer services, sell products, and more.
Some of those, you can do without a website, mainly affiliate links and paid services. Some are better done on or exclusive to your domain, like ads.
The bottom line
In conclusion, owning a website may not be essential in today’s digital world, but it offers unique benefits in the long run. It can help you establish your online presence, improve your credibility, increase your visibility, control your brand identity, and engage with your audience.
Owning a website does come with consequences, however. Legal ones, for example. Some are little talked about. If you want to know more about those, read my story “Why You Shouldn’t Have Your Own Website”.