Just some thoughts about a Website / Blog in 2020 and when to start one instead
I started my old site williamteh.com as a simple portfolio site in 2018 to move my squarespace content out and use WordPress for more control and building my platform, but lately in 2020 I am beginning to think of Reasons to not have a Website even though they say to have a site to build presence online especially if you are a solo designer / artist / product / dev guy.
Type in Google and you will get many reasons why you need a website.
Mostly it goes along the lines of you need to build your own website so you can maintain control. Don’t be subjected to the Platform Algorithms. Get an Email List to own the customers. Your website is your own platform.
Most of the search results come from marketing and website design companies. They want to sell you their services. Nothing wrong with that. But in 2020 I am having second thoughts.
Here are some of my thoughts of my journey in making this website starting as a portfolio site to a blog.
Right now with COVID-19 it’s getting tough on businesses and there will cost cutting. Currently on Siteground starter plan (Which they are Awesome) I am re-thinking about my hosting costs. While my current plan is relatively good, it is still dollars costing me.
I thought of AWS Lightsail or Alibaba Cloud but thinking about maintaining servers does not excite me.
There is the choice of Github Pages or some Static Cheap host. But the thought of converting my site into static HTML seems tedious right now thought I might do that at the end of life of this blog. The upside is I will learn more HTML and CSS and Git.
Besides actual money costs there is time sunk into maintaining a WordPress install though not much I rather focus on content and building other things.
Monetization is Hard
With this website blog, I have tried to experiment with selling Ads or a affiliate services to cover costs. But with Amazon cutting commission I think it’s not that good to be an online marketer, unless you have some sort of massive traffic. I also feel that there are way many more blogs out there than before and converting or grabbing peoples email is harder.
You need a different sources of revenue streams to keep things running. There are many affiliate type sites out there and most don’t make money except for the TOP few.
Content consumption is changing
While many have said that blogging is dead I don’t think it’s true there is a lot of search traffic I get from Google just that people are not searching for my thoughts more like searching for solutions similar to getting questions answered like Why you need a Website.
I think most of the content these days is moving to video and images with Podcast coming up.
Written Articles are useful in certain domains such as business where you write thought leadership style articles. Or when you want to give a solution and reason for your product & services.
But writing for personal blogs seems to be going to the social media platforms these days and I think people connect on those platforms more than a blog.
But What if I was starting out all over again?
What is my goal?
For personal blog I would just blog on WordPress.com or Facebook / Instagram. Since those platforms can be used for free.
But I wanted something more than that I wanted to build an online platform and though WordPress was it. But that should be later after finding and audience.
Figure out the Audience
Looking for the Audience and Customer
Customer discovery is more important than having a website. What do they need why do they buy from this company. How did they consume content was it through written text or through social media.
The website is only one part of their journey to get their problem solved.
Figure Out my medium
One thing running this blog and website. I tried doing podcasting and streaming on twitch. I kind of like making videos instead though it takes longer than writing and not easily updatable but with more content going to YouTube and Videos it may be better for me to experiment with that medium instead of text.
I will add a blog and website once there is enough engagement to establish myself in the Google search.
Start on social media
Unfortunately social media won and while I have dabbled in it here and there, I put it as an afterthought thinking it was a time waster to use it to promote my website.
These days you need to be on social for visibility, unfortunately lots of things are happening there and now you can target specific interest groups. Plus it’s free to put your content there just not the attention.
Social media is here to stay and I did not learned how to run some basic social media ads or use it as a leverage to drive traffic to my website. It can’t be ignored if you are going into digital marketing.
Fix the business model
My own website is not monetized I tried to do the Amazon Affiliate Route but it gets harder everyday. There is so much ‘noise’ out there.
This is another area I did not give much though to or what kind of product or service I could sell.
I would need to prep what the potential sales of service I want to offer or maybe a product such as education material. This is something I would think through for the next thing.
Get a crappy site.
After having done all those I will still get a website just a crappy one.
Yes just get a domain and point it to some HTML page or use one of those free website Builders. There are tons out there such as WordPress.com, Artstation and Wix.
You need a crappy website to start with just not a full WordPress site initially.
Unless you are in the business of building website or maintains them I won’t even start one. It is quite time consuming to put up and maintain the plugins and hosting unless you are a dev full time and know what you are doing.
Just get one started for putting your basic information up, something like setting and forgetting, the time is better allocated elsewhere in the beginning.
A soft restart?
Having said all these I am thinking of doing a restart. Maybe moving my domain over to Artstation or something.
For my next venture CG BOSS. I have started instead Youtube, Facebook and other social media platforms pages instead of a website.
I am thinking myself to ditch the personal brand of my current website and make it into CG BOSS.
There is some advantage a Non Personal Brand has over a Personal one. It may keep me focused on the content type but that is another discussion.
Nothing is lost when I started this blog and website in 2018. I learned how to install and maintain my WordPress blog, and it got me to write consistently every month.
Now while it might seem not so good Instill think you need a website because people will want to look you up. A domain and site can give some credible authority to what you do.
But instead start sharing your work on those social platforms before taking the plunge into your website. And if you do start make a crappy one first.
I am in the process of a soft restart. I am looking at Gatsby or Static Sites with some way to blog using a tool connected to it, may keep this website domain but the content may move elsewhere to another host or something or disappear from the internet for good.
This blog post was the final post on williamteh.com, archived here: https://ariabento.wordpress.com/2020/05/14/no-website-in-2020/
Blog post edited with some updates.