In this day and age of social media and Facebook pages, many small businesses are questioning the need for having their own websites. It’s a valid question, so I thought I would make this video to talk about some reasons why having your own well constructed and business relevant website is absolutely still essential in 2020.
You Are In Complete Control Of Your Website
If you build your business on a social media platform like Facebook, for instance, you need to be very aware of the fact that you don’t actually own that platform, nor do you own any rights to communicate with the people who engage with you on that platform.
In the case of Facebook, they own your business page and they can change it, or shut it down at any time. What’s worse, their algorithms will dictate who sees the posts you make on that page and unless you pay them, it’s not in their best interest to allow you to make a killing off of a system that they created. So by using their platform to publish your material you are basically giving them the rights to that content in ways that benefit them, not necessarily yourself.
It’s quite well documented that once a Facebook page reaches a certain number of likes, different rules apply to that page and even if you post regularly, those posts will probably not be seen by your audience unless they specifically visit your page. And even then, once they have visited it, the posts are so jumbled up these days that things you posted may not even be seen at all by your visitors, since each post carries its own metrics which determines where it falls in any particular Facebook user’s feed.
However, if you have your own website and you publish your content on there, you get the opportunity to not only present your content in a manner that makes sense to your visitor (disregarding Facebook’s rigid design elements), but you also have the ability to entice them back to your website by asking them to sign up to your mailing list.
Once you have a person’s email address and their consent to receive messages from you on there, you have a much better chance of getting their attention than you have simply by relying on Facebook or any other social media platform.
You can email them about your offers anytime you want. Sure, you have no guarantee that they will respond positively, but decades of statistical marketing studies have shown that direct marketing always has a 2-4% positive success rate. This is why we still receive so much spam in 2020, not to mention printed pamphlets in our physical mailboxes. Spammers know this too. Direct marketing works.
Facebook Pages Are Not Fully Indexed By Google
Google and Facebook are basically competitors in the advertising industry. It makes no sense for Google to index your Facebook page as a source of useful information for the people who use their search engine, so while somebody who is expressly looking for your brand might see your Facebook page show up in a Google search, the content of that page is unlikely to appear on Google (i.e. your posts won’t be indexed).
In practical terms let’s say you spent a lot of time writing an article about your product or service and you posted it to your Facebook page hoping that people searching for information on the usefulness of that product would find it, sadly they wouldn’t, because it is not in Facebook or Google’s best interests to do so (they’re competitors, remember).
However, if you post your article on your website as well as on your Facebook page, Google will certainly index it if all the criteria are met (basic SEO stuff). If you do a search for something right now on google, you are likely to see website posts dating back ages appearing in the results, each taking you directly to the website of origin. That will never happen with a Facebook post you make.
Websites Build Confidence In Consumers
Have you ever been totally sold on something just because of a Facebook page? For instance, if you see an advert for a plumbing company pop up on your feed and you go to their page, but find no link to a website, will you take them as seriously as you would a plumbing company that does have a well designed website?
Good websites build customer confidence. They show that a business is serious about their brand and have taken the time to present relevant information to potential customers about what they do and how they do it.
Basically they have invested money in their brand and they are not using some free service to get you to part with yours.
Websites Enable You To Be Creative
So you decide to start up a small business and you’d like to present that business as creatively as you can. Just how much freedom do you have to do this on a social media page?
You can change the page banner and the profile image, but that’s about as far as getting creative goes on Facebook. You can’t change Facebook’s basic layout all that much and you really have no control over the size, style or colour of any page elements. To make it worse, now that Facebook has a new layout and dark mode, what looked good on the old layout can look horrendous on the new one.
So there you have it.
These are just 4 pertinent reasons why it is still absolutely essential for any small business to invest in a good quality website and marketing strategy for promoting that business in 2020. Yes, you should have a social media page, but it should definitely not form the nucleus of your marketing effort. It should only be one part of your marketing strategy.
At the end of the day what you want is as much control over your marketing messages as possible and in my experience having a steady stream of traffic arriving at your own website where you are in complete control of everything that visitor sees puts you in the driver’s seat.