In today’s cut throat world most business owners know they need a presence online, and most have one. But there is an increasing number of small businesses that have adopted a mindset of thinking “My Facebook business page is all I need”, forgoing a traditional website altogether. In a sense these businesses can be forgiven for thinking this way, building a website costs money & can be a little daunting, whereas a Facebook business page is free and can be created on your phone in a lunch break.
On the surface it’s a no brainer right? Well… no, it’s not that simple. Unfortunately businesses making the decision to solely focus on social media and neglect their website is based on a lack of foresight and knowledge which is costing them big money in the long run.
So, do you need a website for your business? Yes, you absolutely do, It’s not a matter of having one or the other, you absolutely need both! You should definitely be using social media but you shouldn’t be solely relying on it. A lot of businesses regularly post on Facebook which is great, but just posting is pointless, there needs to be a reason, a sequence leading a customer down a path closer and closer to your businesses desired action. Weather people are looking for more formal information about your products or services, looking to book a meeting or to sign up for your newsletter all social media paths should lead back to one central location that you control and own, your website.
I speak with business owners frequently and I am constantly amazed at the number of them that have neglected their current website, allowing the look, feel and content to grow old and stale, or worse still, don’t even have a website… IN 2019 FOR GOD SAKE!!!
So after having this conversation with more businesses owners than I can count, I thought it was important I detailed the facts in writing, the 4 most important reasons why a business needs a website and should not solely rely on social media.
1. YOU DON’T OWN IT
One phrase I hear from business owners all too often is “I don’t need a website, I have a Facebook Page” But in reality you don’t have anything. Facebook has a Facebook page with your name on it.
It may seem like “your” Facebook page but you don’t actually own a damn thing, it can be taken away from you at any moment, and for something as simple as a mistake in what you post. The platform is owned by Facebook and they are free to make any changes to the platform they like at the drop of a hat. Not to mention a Facebook page is not customizable, other than your profile and banner image there is little you can do to customize and properly brand your page, a major benefit of a website.
By focusing entirely on Facebook you are essentially building your house on someone else’s land, all the hard work, time and effort you put in to building that following is an asset you don’t own. Would you invest your own resources, hard earned money and time in to fully renovating a house you were only renting?
2 . FACEBOOK IS ONE PIECE OF A MUCH BIGGER MARKETING PUZZLE
In a recent press release Facebook announced it wants to return to its core focus which is bringing people closer together by filling the news feed with more personal posts from friends and family, not ads or promotions from businesses. Facebook has already been reducing the organic reach of pages for sometime and as of this article less than 1% of your followers will even see your content, so it’s fair to say the decline in reach will continue, resulting in your page reaching even less people than it already does.
If the worst is to happen not only does all your hard work of cultivating followers and creating hundreds of carefully crafted posts fly out the window, so does all your customer data. A website, however is a tangible asset, a place to accumulate data on existing/ potential customers and build brand loyalty that no one can take from you.
Now, don’t get me wrong I’m not writing this because I hate Facebook, I love Facebook, its marketing capabilities, if used right are amazing, but simply putting all of your online eggs in the Facebook basket is setting yourself up for disappointment in the long run. You see, your Facebook page is just one peice of a much bigger online presence/ marketing puzzle. You need to diversify to ensure longevity if one social media platform you use falls apart.
3. YOUR BUSINESS ISN’T TAKEN SERIOUSLY WITHOUT A WEBSITE
Creating a Facebook business page is free, but as with all things free there is usually a catch. The catch in this case being that the barrier to entry is non existent, any cow boy with an internet connection can create a Facebook page in a matter of minutes. Consumers know this and as a result having only a Facebook page gives your business virtually no credibility at all.
People know websites cost money, a good quality professional site usually starts at around $6,000. You can get sites made cheaper but more often than not they look cheap and nasty and give the user a poor experience. Having a sleek professional website shows your prospective customers you are willing to invest in yourself and are a business that should be taken seriously. Afterall, if you don’t take yourself seriously, why should anyone else?
For years, studies have shown that a good website instantly adds perceived value or credibility to products and services. People want to be able to go to a website, find what they’re looking for, learn about the company, and see what it’s all about.
An Australia wide report published by GE Retail Bank revealed that 86% of shoppers do online research before making a purchase, with 68% of those going directly to the retailer’s website to check out various product details; such as warranty, pricing, availability, shipping information, return policies or any payment options a business may offer. A generic Facebook page that looks like everyone else’s Facebook page doesn’t give anyone a good feel your company, its core values or how it does business. A well thought out website makes it easy for customers to find all the information needed to reach a purchasing decision in one central location.
4. A GOOD WEBSITE HELPS YOUR GOOGLE RANKING
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is essentially your businesses google ranking in search engine results. If someone Googles for something you sell, you want your business to be one of the results on the first page. Think of how many times you have gone to the second page in google, I bet not many. Potential consumers are the same, they don’t want to (and won’t) search for you. You need to make yourself easy to find, Good SEO will make this happen translating into a stronger more credible brand and ultimately resulting in more revenue.
A Facebook page alone has a very week SEO quality score, meaning that if a potential customer searches google for the product or service you offer, every competitor of yours within your local area that has invested the time and money into a professional website will rank higher than your Facebook page, increasing the likelihood of your competitor getting that business over you.
The 2018 Telstra Small Business Intelligence Report revealed that 54% of all businesses in Australia have an up-to-date and professional website that plays a vital role is their overall digital strategy. If you are a company that still doesn’t have a website this stat tells us two things:
1 – 54% of companies have a higher chance of success and look more professional than you.
2 – You can still get an edge on the remaining 46% if you act now!
The same report also tells us that 60% of all consumers will not consider a business if it doesn’t have a website. So, instead of questioning whether you can afford the time, money and resources it takes to have professional website built, the real question is can afford not to?
A web site doesn’t need to be complex or overly expensive to build awareness and trust. A site with a proper professional touch, nicely presented pages and useful information can go a long way towards ensuring your digital strategy is executed successfully and reassuring discerning potential customers that you are a respectable trusted company.
But when it’s all said and done, It ultimately boils down to one question, how serious are you about the professionalism and longevity of your business?