Using social media as your home page

Social Networks Haven’t Killed the Personal Website

With all the social media now available to us, what is the role of having a website? Should you even have one at all?

Solid question, my friend. You’re on point, today 😉

From the early 2000s to somewhere around 2005, it was very commonplace to use the internet to drive someone to your home. As in, “Come here to consume me.” “Visit me here.” Now what we are seeing more is “I’m over here. If you want to know what’s up, you better learn how to speak to me here.”

So essentially we’re “renting” space on social platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. If that’s the case, then where does a personal website fit in? For every kind of personal site that could exist, there now seems to be an existing platform that could host it. E-commerce has Etsy, Shopify, Big Cartel. Blogging has Tumblr and Medium. Portfolios have Tumblr (again) and Flickr.

But there is one enormous advantage to having a personal website that you can control. And that is the very fact that you control it. That personal website will be impervious to any changes on other platforms. No more organic reach on Facebook? No problem. Your website is a platform you control and you decide the content output. That is valuable.

So what should social’s role be in all this?

Social needs to be the gateway drug to your site.

Social networks, specifically Twitter and Facebook and Pinterest, are really stepping stones of content to drive to the aforementioned “home”: a blog. An e-commerce site. Your download page for your app.

What’s happened is that the attention graph (my biggest priority right now, here is all the info on it) is shifting. People’s willingness to jump somewhere to consume is certainly not down. But their willingness to leave the platform they are engaging on (Facebook, Twitter) is down. To get them to click, you have to be smart. Really smart.

This is why every website today is testing headlines (and I wrote a little something about a certain kind of headline just the other day). You need to do the same. Don’t abandon the personal site; instead, test like crazy on social to drive to it. And make sure your content is really good once you get someone to click it. Because or else they’re going to be pretty upset they clicked at all.

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