With the recent rise in popularity of social media platforms, particularly Facebook, many times small business owners tell me, "I don't need a website for my business. I can just set up a free Facebook page and use that to promote my business."
While I won't discount the value of a business Facebook page and almost always recommend that you have one, there are many reasons why you should also consider the value of a professional website for your small business.
As long as someone likes your Facebook page, your message is available for them. But if the person does not interact with your posts by liking, sharing or commenting on them, Facebook will eventually remove the post from their newsfeed. However, with a website, your message is always available and you can update it as often as you like and keep it on the top of the front page as long as it is relevant.
As a business owner, you want to create a brand identity for your business. While Facebook allows you to customize your cover photo and your profile photo, the overall look of your page is dictated by Facebook. They can, and often do, change the layout of the page without notice. Detailed information about who you are and what you do is not readily available on a Facebook page. With your business website, you can provide details about your business and your products in a format that promotes your brand.
When a potential customer begins a search for a product or service, statistics show that over 70% begin their purchasing process by going to the Internet. While a Facebook page can show up in a search, a business website allows you to target your audience based on specific search terms so that customers who are interested in your products are directed to your website.
All content on your Facebook page is subject to their current guidelines. The content can be used by Facebook as they see fit as long as you haven't deleted it. Content that you create on your company website is exclusive to your site. You control it and you decide how long it is available and how it is presented.
If you depend on Facebook exclusively for your online exposure, you are allowing Facebook to set the priorities, decide the look and if things don't work as they should, there is no one to call for help. Having a company website, provided by a professional designer allows you to establish your own priorities, manage your content and if there are issues with the site, you have someone who can provide help when things go wrong.
A professional website lends credibility to your business and provides a home base where users can go to find out all they need to know about your business. Consumers have come to expect a reputable business to have a website.
Websites provide a wider range of marketing possibilities that can include videos, blogs, customer reviews and special promotions specifically tailored for your business. All information about your business, your products or services should be established on your website first. Then all your other marketing efforts should direct users to your website where you can invite them to take action as it relates to your business.
Your business website allows you to be open 24/7. Your online salesforce is always working for you and if have an e-commerce site, your business is always open.
Social media marketing such as a business Facebook page should definitely be a part of your overall marketing plan, but your business should have a professional website where your business lives and where your customers can readily find the information they need to make an informed buying decision.