It’s been said that as of 2018, there were a total of over 1.5 billion websites that exist, and hundreds more created every week throughout the world.
Unfortunately, there’s no data capturing system that tracks how many websites are created every day, as the number fluctuates constantly so fast that it’s almost impossible to provide an exact average. However, it seems that web hosting companies like GoDaddy, BlueHost, and DreamHost are doing pretty darn well for themselves – so, it’s probably safe to say that the internet is growing exponentially and at a pretty healthy rate.
Of course, this also means that there’s tons of competition for the attention of the general public. It’s not difficult to start a website – an individual can go to sites such as Squarespace, sign up, take an hour out of their day and have a blog going pretty quickly. But why start a website?
The Case For Websites
Think of a website as a building, and in that building you’ll find some pretty interesting things. On the walls, you’ll find some posters (akin to the ads you find on the sidebar of a blog), a table with items on it (product and services for sale), brochures (links to resources outside of the website), photos of relevance to you (photos and graphics related to the site’s content), a computer and a phone (ways to contact the owner of the business who owns the website).
The ground supports the building and everything in it (the website’s files (text, graphics, videos, etc.), and is run by a company (i.e., the hosting company) that makes sure the building is operating smoothly. The way the building appears inside and out (how the website functions and looks) depends on the website’s owner.
As you might expect, a building is a solid structure, and is a 3D space that can be experienced via the human body. Unlike buildings, however, a website is a 2-dimensional experience housed in a machine (i.e., a computer, tablet, or smartphone) that provides information. But, whether you would walk into a building filled with these things or visit a website that provides this information, you would get the same information.
Thank goodness for websites, though – they’re a LOT less expensive!
If you’re thinking about starting a retail business, you have the option to start a brick-and-mortar business, operate completely online, or both. For instance, if you want to sell hand-made craft items (such as those found on Etsy.com), you could have creators come into your store, put them on consignment on your shelves, and/or order them from a manufacturer who deals with mass-produced knick-knacks.
Consider this – the average cost of a commercial building for a retail store is anywhere from $50,000 to over $50,000,000, depending on location and the local real estate market. This means that you’d either have to come up with the monthly cost to rent or lease the building as well as its utilities, or buy the building entirely. Have you noticed how malls are closing at an unprecedented rate around the world? You can thank online retailers (such as Amazon.com) for this phenomenon!
Now, comparing this with the cost of the average website, you’re looking at $10-15 a month for hosting costs, the initial cost of the domain name (if it’s available, it can be as cheap as $5 – otherwise, you might have to buy it from a domain name retailer for hundreds to thousands of dollars depending on what they’re willing to sell it to you for).
Regardless of the up-front cost of a domain name and/or hosting, you’re only looking at about $150 – $200 per year, compared with an average cost of $50,000 per year to run a brick-and-mortar retail store.
Considering the cost of a website for physical product retail stores is one thing, but what about services? There are more and more digital services being provided every year such as social media management, website design, graphic design, copywriting, IT services, music production, video production, and so on. Now more than ever, there are even legal services (such as LegalZoom.com), job search sites (Indeed.com), and other intangible tasks that can be ordered online.
Now, if you want to start a service business such as lawn care, obviously you’ll need actual equipment to perform the tasks involved with this. This might include storage costs for the equipment, business licenses, fuel costs, etc. to operate and maintain everything, but that’s the beauty of a small service-based business: you don’t need to necessarily purchase an entire commercial building for this, and you’ll save hundreds of thousands of dollars unless your company grows and requires a staff to keep everything going in an office somewhere.
It’s safe to say that a service-based website is an extremely affordable point of entry for a young entrepreneur looking to get their company name out there, look official, and provide critical information for potential customers.
There are millions of blogs out there, many of which are inactive and abandoned by their authors. However, if you simply scroll through your Facebook feed, you’ll find plenty of articles from various websites that have their own blog, and some that are solely dedicated to blogs.
Blogs are excellent for the avid writer, journalist, and tech blogger who want to voice their opinion and/or spread news about products, services, and events happening around the world. Blogs have replaced newspapers and magazines (although these tree-consuming mediums still exist and are doing fairly well) as the source from which hundreds of millions receive information about global events.
With a blogging website, it’s possible to make a full-time income from affiliate advertising by signing up for AdSense or a similar advertising platform. When a blogger signs up for a service and dedicates themselves to spreading their blog around the internet, they potentially could benefit the general public and support themselves purely on ad revenue. Or, they could just create entertainment for the masses, which is just as well.
So, Why Do Websites Matter?
In short, websites replace many of the old sources of information that humans relied on for hundreds of years. They save money for the entrepreneur, prevent mass amounts of pollution and deforestation, and are much more convenient to access through modern devices (computers, tablets, and smartphones).
Websites provide an easy point of entry for anyone to post their products, services, media, and opinions for global access, in a matter of minutes (although no one will see the website for a while unless it is advertised and/or optimized for search engines). This allows the world to grow and innovate, and allow people to discover new resources that they need and want, and overall make life just that much easier to live.
Do websites matter? Why yes, they do.
If you’re looking to start your own website and don’t know where to begin, contact us.