Volume 1, Issue #8
February 17, 2021
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When I was a kid, we learned about sharecropping in our US History classes.
Sharecropping developed after the Civil War. Large Southern landowners needed workers on their farms and plantations once they were no longer allowed to own other human beings, and the formerly enslaved needed livelihoods.
Sharecropping developed, as a system where a landowner allowed someone else to farm a plot of land, and would collect a portion of the crop as rent.
Of course, it didn’t generally lead to the economic freedom for the sharecropper. The landowner generally owned all the tools and means of production, and charged for their use. The sharecropper often ended up deeply in debt to the landowner, sort of like the worker owing his soul to the company store a few decades later. And as long as he was in debt, he wasn’t allowed to leave the arrangement. . .
The rich got richer, and . . . well, you know the rest.
If you try to build your online business on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, or LinkedIn, you’re acting like a digital sharecropper. Facebook makes all the rules, controls all the means of production, and can wipe out your business with one algorithm change.
Face it, if you’re on Facebook, you are their product.
So don’t try to build your business there. If you’re going to earn a living with an online business, you need to build it on a platform that you control.
That means, a website. And for me, that means self-hosted WordPress. Not WordPress.com, which is a hosting company that allows a slightly better form of digital sharecropping, but WordPress.org. (Here’s an article about the differences between them.)
Yes, there are other site-building platforms that are perfectly fine — Wix, Weebly, Squarespace, etc. — but WordPress powers over 40% of websites worldwide, has tons of support, and the most available themes and plugins.
With a WordPress site, unlike with Facebook, Instagram, or any other social media platform, you’re in control. And isn’t that what being an Anywhereist is all about?
Read: Why Social Media Will Never Replace Your Own Website
Tips & Tools
Do I Need a Website For My Business?
10 reasons why the answer to that question is a definite “YES!” (Number 6 doesn’t really apply to Anywhereists.)
Read: Do I Need a Website for My Business
Business website vs Facebook page — showdown
Author Ashley Gwilliam claims that optimizing your company website is “one of the keys to 10x-ing growth.”
She explains why, then shows you how you can still use Facebook or other social media platforms to help with that (keyword here is “help”. . .).
Read: Business Website vs. Facebook Page: Which Is Best?
Website vs social media
This article talks about why you need a website, but also makes points about why you need your own domain.
Read: Website vs Social Media — Why Entrepreneurs Still Need a Domain
Facebook customization is a wasted effort
Jay Baer is pretty scathing when he talks about digital sharecropping, characterizing time spent on your Facebook page as a wasted effort.
(Which I totally agree with, BTW.)
“The fact is that in almost every case, the one and only time your fans visit your Facebook page is when they initially “like” the page. After that, all touch points between the brand and the fan are conducted in the Facebook News Feed,” he explains.
I’ve seen the decline over the years, from a time when most of the people who liked my page would see my updates in their news feed, to today when I’m lucky if 3% of them do. Facebook guru Mari Smith puts the numbers even lower!
Read: Digital Sharecropping: Why Most Facebook Customization is a Wasted Effort
In Case You Missed It. . .
Gary Arndt has built a successful business as a travel photographer. — despite having no formal photography training when he started!
I interviewed him to find out what makes his business (and his life) work for him. . .
Read: How Gary Arndt Built an Adventure-Based Portable Career
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