I still remember "back in the day" when having a website was the latest, coolest way to communicate. If you built it, people would come (or so you believed), because it was new and exciting and quick access to information. But we still relied heavily on print and mail to reach people, whether it be a brochure to describe a new service or an invitation to an in-home consultant party.
But that was back then. The online social options that started with Bulletin Board Systems (BBS) in the 1970s and Internet Relay Chat (IRC) in 1988 become almost obsolete by the 1990s with the development of Blogs ("web+logs"), AOL Instant Messenger (AIM), and Chat Rooms. People started connecting directly with each other all over the world, and it was magical!
The start of the new century meant more organized and focused social options, and they popped up in quick succession: Yahoo Groups in 2001, LinkedIn in 2003, MySpace in 2004, YouTube in 2005, and Twitter in 2006. Facebook started at Harvard in 2004 and by 2008 it was the largest social media platform in the world. What'sApp came along in 2009, Instagram and Pinterest in 2010, and Snapchat in 2011. In the last 10 years, probably hundreds (thousands?) of other social media options have been created while the aforementioned players anchored their footing. (See The History of Social Media - Where did it all start?)
For market-savvy people, the exponential growth of the Internet and social media has been like discovering gold (and fool's gold) over and over. Online shopping -- wow! Marketers could suddenly reach a huge number of people in seconds; they could spread their messages almost "in-your-face" to their intended audience; and they could follow up with reminders, changes and additional information on the fly, without spending a fortune on printing and mailing costs. Predictably, with more and more competition going digital, the online marketing craze got even crazier. By now, marketing has become so complex -- Google algorithms, click-based ads, blogs, Facebook business pages, to name a few -- that to play the game, you have to be more savvy and strategic than ever.
What this means to you is that having a website is just a baby step toward meeting your marketing goals. I'm not writing all this because I'm an expert at marketing. I'm not. But I can help with some marketing strategies and get you started with a website. And I can point you to a few places to start learning about online marketing:
The Beginner's Guide to Online Marketing
Internet Marketing: Everything Beginners Need to Know
Online marketing basics: What you should know
Digital Marketing for People Who Don't Know Anything About Digital Marketing
There are a gazillion more ... just search "online marketing for beginners" and you'll learn more than you ever wanted to know. Read fast, though, because too long it will be content for "back in the day."