It surprises me how often I come across a designer without their own website. It’s very painful to see because these designers do great work but they’re underselling themselves by not having a centralized place online. Social networking is a very important piece of maintaining a healthy web presence, there’s no doubt about that, but the fact is clients aren’t going to waste their time looking for all your stuff on various platforms.
Take Control Control
Having a website gives you your own platform to display your work. You can control the experience your visitors have, and present your portfolio in your own way. You’re not bound by the limitations of social networking services, who’s primary interest is (rightfully) what’s best for their service.
You can’t share your tutorial videos on Dribbble, and you can’t display a portfolio on Twitter. When working with social networking you have to cater to the limitations of the service and the expectations of the audience. When you have a website you can
Bring Your Audience In
Social networking is simply a tool to reach out to an audience who might not normally have found your work. Think of it as a place you go out to meet people and make connections. You’re not going to be able to share everything with everybody, so your goal should be to direct people to your website.
You don’t want to simply post links and ask people to visit though, because that’s not going to get you very far. You want to provide value to the people on these networking services to entice them away from Facebook and onto your site for a few minutes. This can take the form of quick tips, or behind-the-scenes looks at your workspace. Get creative with the value you give your audience.
Aside from the ability to provide content without the limitations of a social network, perhaps the most valuable function of a website is giving individuals direct access to you via email. Wether they’re potential clients, or budding designers looking for advice, direct email opens up a new layer of communication far more personal than direct messages.
True, you can share your email elsewhere, but that’s not something I recommend. Besides the fact that there’s no great way to do this (aside from Dribbble’s ‘Hire Me’ button), it will open your inbox up to junk and spam. The best thing is to create a contact form on your site that makes it simple to reach you.
However, still be approachable on social networks. If someone sends you a tweet or leaves a comment on something, let them know you received their message and thank them.