I totally understand why a lot of teachers believe so.
If I want to get students online, I need a website—an online presence—so students can find my information online and work with me.
But the reality is, you just added one more website to the 1.5 billion websites already online (as of January 2019).
If you don’t direct traffic to your website, nobody’s going to see your website.
It’s like you opened a store in the middle of the desert.
To take people to your store, you need to build a highway (build a sales funnel), rent a bus (run ads), and get people from the city to your store.
After you spend endless time and money finally getting people in your store, they tell you they don’t need your help because it’s no different than the stuff they can easily find in the mall (online ESL companies/platforms).
And why do they need to spend 2 hours getting here when there’s nothing different?
That’s exactly how people feel when you have a website but aren’t differentiated enough from others. And it’s also why teachers who have had websites without a niche never actually get students from it and have to take down the website after a few months.
So, instead of opening a store in the desert, what you want to do is go downtown where all the people already are, look for those from your niche who might be interested in what you have to offer, go on to say hi, introduce yourself, offer your help, and get students.
And these downtowns are social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc.
You just need to find the right downtown where your niche hangs out.
After you are able to get students just by hanging around downtown, get your proof of concept, and establish your business, you will have the resources to afford a better location in the city to open your store and scale your business with a website.
You don’t need a website to start a business. You need a website to scale your business.
If you just started or want to start getting your own students online, don’t waste your money and time on setting up a website.
Find where your niche hangs out online and introduce yourself to them to help!