Looking back over my 28 posts in a little over a month (whew!), I realized that I’ve really focused on the importance of social media for your church, nonprofit, business, or personal site, perhaps to the detriment of a focus on getting your website in shape. While I’ve written posts with tips on setting up a personal website and that have discussed why a website is not enough of an online presence (you need social media too), a great looking and highly functional website should be your #1 priority for improving your home on the web.
Here’s some reasons why if your website isn’t up to snuff, you should refocus all your efforts on creating a visually appealing, user-friendly site:
- Everything you do on the web revolves around your website. Your website is the #1 most important aspect of your online interactions, because all of your social media efforts should be driving people to your website, and your website should be driving people back to your other social media accounts. It doesn’t matter if you use every social media service possible or only a couple, your home page is literally that, a “home”. While all your social media efforts should be relevant and coherent with the information you present on your site, they are still just snapshots of who you are, small pieces in the overall puzzle. Your website is the place where you provide the full picture of who you are and what you do. Without a great site, your social media efforts will be scattered and ineffective at best, and detrimental at worst.
- The people who follow you on Twitter or “like” your Facebook page are going to be much less interested in what you have to say there if they are turned off by your main website. Social media is great because it’s “easy” to use (although using it effectively is not easy at all!). It takes almost no time and little expertise to fire off a status update. Creating and maintaining a website, however, is incredibly time consuming and requires a certain set of knowledge and skills. But if you want to capture and keep the attention of those interested in your social media use, you must put in the time and effort to create a site that makes people want to know more about you through social media, not less.
- Your website is the place where people make a decision about your “product,” not your social media accounts. I’m using the term “product” very broadly here; it could refer to a decision about attending a worship service, signing up for an email subscription to your blog, or an actual product or service you sell on your site. Your social media use is critical in directing people to this product, but in the end it’s your website that will seal the deal in terms of an actual decision to choose you and your “product”. Again, for you it might not be able actual sales and money, it might be just having people commit to your personal brand or church in a substantial way. Social media breeds “lurkers,” those who follow your updates but do not interact with them in any meaningful way. While it’s good to have as a broad a reach to as many people as possible, if the overall goal of your online engagement is to lead people to make a particular decision about what you offer, you need to turn “lurkers” into “engagers”. Your website can do that in a way social media can’t.