This has been going on since almost the beginning of the Internet, the screams from marketers that “The Website is dead” for marketing online. It’s now “communities” is where you want to claim your stake in the world of Internet Marketing. Join their program and they will help you build an easy to operate and highly profitable “Community” of your own. Just click their “like” on the ad and you are quickly whisked away to a… wait for it… a website!!
You Still Need a Website in 2018!
Even as they are telling you that websites are dead, chance are you are reading that on one of their websites! Why?? You need a website to control the message, get the customers away from all the other noise and to have your own little private office for them to rest, read, get informed and make decisions. And that website needs to be under your control. Including the domain name!
Any time you do not control where the customer goes, you are losing control and that means losing money. Building your “Tribe”, your “community” under some other company’s domain name, you are losing control. You are working under someone else’s rules, regulations and decisions. If they decide to change the rules, the way they operate or whatever, you have no control and your hard work, time and money suddenly disappear from the internet.
Start with a home base, Start with an office that is yours. That “Office” is your website and your domain. Think of it like that. Build on their platform and you have an office surrounded by a lot of other offices and the windows and doors are open. The client can see and hear the other shiny office conversations and can leave for them in a heartbeat. When you have your own office/domain, they are now sitting peacefully in your office, surrounded by your noises, offers, and information.
(Go Watch the YouTube Video)
Even before you have your first website, you will need to start with a domain name. Something that you can advertise, tell people about and start to build your authority. For most people, it needs to be www.somethinglikethis.com. It needs to be a “Dot Com”. Thankfully the internet is old and people have used a lot of different names and either stopped using them or forgot they had them and released them. So there are always new names being made available.
- I use DirectNic.com to look for new domains or to find new ideas for a domain name
- Keep them short and easy to say or remember
- In best practices, it still needs to be a “Dot Com”, Not “Dot Net” or any other “Dot…”
- Names should be one phrase or word, no hyphens, dashes or dots.
- The domain name should be related to your business or the purpose of the website
- Webhosting companies like Siteground or Dreamhost let you search, buy, then host
- The domain name needs to be renewed annually or you lose control of it
Biz Tip: If this is your first time building your own place on the internet, your first website, stay with a reputable web host, don’t try to save pennies and cut corners. Buy your domain name from them, let them handhold you through the process and buy the domain name for one year unless you are sure you want to build your empire with that name.
The Graveyard of Internet Communities
There are a lot of successful communities out there supported and created by entrepreneurs and brands. But they also have a website with their domain name to fall back on. There are some great forum boards and discussion groups for your passions and interests and there is always room for a new one. But build your brand up and have a place to fall back to in case the community falls apart.
You can even look at YouTube. Google failed Youtubers and see a long list of people who built huge followings on Youtube or snap chat and then one day, the gods of that platform changed their minds and banned them. POOF! Everything was gone. The videos, the followers, the leads, the money. They had to start over, literally. They had to build a new audience and following from scratch. Their Facebook pages may have helped, their Instagram page helped a little. But the bulk of the people followed them there. A webpage would have helped them re-establish themselves quickly and made more money int he long run.
I have had a few really good friends and business associates who wanted to move from the real world of business to the online world and started with building up a community on AOL, YAHOO, and especially Myspace. We were assured Myspace was the website killer for all time and you better hook your money making ideas to their wagons if you wanted to survive the coming Internet revolution.
So hows your Myspace page doing for you??
After establishing your own little corner office on the web with your own website and domain name, then go out and build your fortune in the wilderness of online communities. But don’t let that new found community be your main office. Go out and build a thriving community of followers and supporters on Reddit, Facebook or whatever else platform you want. But always be able to bring the guests back to your place!