The Benefits of Owning, Promoting, and Maintaining Your Official Website

  • Published in Web

Choose your own adventure. Photo: Aaron Proctor

Choose your own adventure. Photo: Aaron Proctor

Illustrator and filmmaker Matt Busch shared a concern that many people have been having recently: with all the social media out there, why bother keeping up your own website?

Having been involved with websites for over twenty years now, where social networks come and go, here are my two cents:

  1. Ownership

    With your own site, you own your site’s domain name and all its content.

    With social media, you’re a guest.

  2. Rules

    With your own site, you make your own rules. If you want to collect e-mail addresses, you can (but be cool with out-outs to comply with the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003). If your online store has the whole pipeline under your purview (e.g. Stripe), you can know more about your customers and can offer better customer service.

    With social media, you got fans, friends, and followers — but that’s it. You can’t pull e-mails. You can’t easily export. You can have the most followers around, but if they don’t go somewhere else to help (e.g. buy a product, support a crowd-fund, etc.), how valuable are they?

  3. Control

    You control the design, paradigms, and priorities. If you want someone to see something, you’re not playing into algorithms whether or not a newsfeed reached your entire audience.

    With social media, you often need to pay to reach people. You have to compete with other noise in news feeds. Time of day of posting or frequency of posting is suddenly important.

  4. Synergy

    With our own website, you can do a “domino effect” to save time and get a better ROI for your effort. If you update your site first, get the permalink you want, and post to social media natively with that permalink, you can then get people coming back to the best online headquarter — your own site.

    Side note: each social media follower doesn’t like jumping from one to another. Embrace native posting to catch some eyeballs, like your photo and video within Facebook or within Twitter, not via YouTube. A link to a photo gallery on Facebook from a tweet on Twitter is a painful jump; a YouTube embed on Facebook fails to deliver versus a video using Facebook Video. Simply providing an outbound link for “more info” at your (hopefully) fast, mobile-friendly site is the win-win.

  5. Discoverability

    With your own site, you can best curate your links to be easily findable on other social networks. Matt Workman of the Cinematography Database recently did a video podcast about what he looks for in websites — and one top tip was to quickly and clearly link to one’s own Instagram. (Some say Instagram is the new showreel: sell yourself in short but frequent clips, rather than yearly reels or longer work.)

    By having the official site link to the right account, you’ve saved people time searching the often hard-to-search social networks to reach you. You’ve also tackled verification by yourself — it must be true if it’s your official site — and you’ve interconnected one or more social networks by making yourself even easier to follow or contact.

If your website or workflow isn’t working for you, FWD:labs can help.


Aaron Proctor
Founder, FWD:labs
Director of Photography site

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