“You need a website”
I bet someone has told you that. I know I have told that to numerous people over the years.
I had one or multiple websites for over 15 years. From little personal portfolio sites, over projects, to professional blogs.
Now, I don’t have a website anymore. I still have a couple of domains, but I don’t run any websites on them.
I’ll tell you why you probably shouldn’t have your own website or blog.
The most obvious reason is cost. For beginners especially, buying a custom domain, setting up a hosting service, and building or paying for a website are overkill.
You can do it cheaply if you know some code and keep your site up-to-date yourself. I’ve done that with WordPress for years. But I still had my $5 a month web hosting plan.
People who don’t know code (or don’t want any of that hustle) can easily end up paying dozens a month or hundreds a year for page builders, layout tools, and no-code platforms.
If you’re a beginner, I wouldn’t pay for a website. There are so many free alternatives for the majority of use cases, like:
- Linktree & similar tools for landing pages
- Carrd for multipage sites*
- Medium (& others) for your blog
- Twitter & other socials for communication & sharing
- Gumroad or Payhip for online shops
Each of those has a free plan.
If you’re a pro user, a website makes more sense. But you need to be prepared for everything that comes with it.
People don’t talk about the legal implications of having a website enough. It’s easy to get one up and running with a custom domain, cheap hosting, and WordPress, for example.
But did you consider all legal implications?
In many countries around the world — whether you live there or only present your website’s content there — you need a few things to comply with website regulations, like
- Cookie banners with opt-in, opt-out
- Privacy policies
- country-specific guidelines like GDPR or CCPA
That’s a lot of legal text which should ideally be drafted by a lawyer. That will cost you.
And again, you might need to do this for every country your audience can potentially visit from. If your content is in English, that’s a long list of countries.
I originally decided to delete my websites for legal reasons.
There’s more though.
Even if you decide to pay and keep legal regulations in check, you then will have to deal with all the crap that hits a website. Spam content, hacking attempts, or contact information misuse.
Those issues are particularly annoying on blogs or shops with comment fields, contact pages, personal information collection, and sign-up areas.
You’ll get bombarded with spam, even the smallest little blog does. And it’s only getting worse when you grow.
On most blog services, you’ll find plugins or add-ons to deal with spam, hacking attempts, and other misuses. But they won’t get everything right either.
You’re still planning on having a website?
Then, you also need to invest (a lot of) time into updating the site, maintaining all elements, keeping up with safety issues, following new legal regulations, implementing changes quickly, and so much more.
That’s a lot of work. And a lot can go wrong.
Finally, you need to ask the question why?
Why would you go through all this trouble to have your own website when you can get most of the upsides from free services without all those (or most of those) problems?
I did ask myself this question. And in the end, I stepped away from my own websites.
I write on Medium & Substack, I use Payhip & Gumroad for shop functionality, I had a landing page on Linktree & Carrd*, I use Twitter to communicate and share, and I don’t pay anything (apart from the Medium membership which is optional).
The bottom line
For most beginners and intermediates, that’s all they need. Trust me! Spending a lot of money and time for a website isn’t worth it unless you make a lot of money with that website to pay for hosting, maintenance, legal, and optimization.
Of course, there are reasons to have website. I’ll follow up on those in a future story.