Anytime Website Development is mentioned, most people reply with this, “Why do I need a website, when I can just use social media to promote my business?” There is more to a website than social media.
Do you want to build a website that has numerous costs (domains, hosting, designers, SEO, updates, maintenance, and more), when you could just setup social media pages for your business on sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram … for FREE?
Benefits of Social Media to Small Businesses
Besides being free to get a business page setup on Social Media, there are also millions of users on the platform looking forward to interacting with you. When used correctly, this allows you to grow a following faster than you can imagine.
Here are some of the benefits derived from having social media pages for small businesses:
Requires Little or No Technical Expertise
Most of the platforms are easy to use, requiring no technical expertise. When creating a business page, there are straight forward forms to fill out. These forms usually ask for all vital business information in an organised and easy to follow manner.
Optimised for Search Engines
Due to the number of pages, the high amount of shared content, and the popularity of these sites, business pages on popular social media platforms are search engine optimised. Hence, the page shows up high in search rankings when someone’s searching for that particular business in search engines.
Marketing Tools and Integrations
Most social media platforms have great marketing capabilities and integrations. One can build an e-mail list, raise money, sell products and a lot more from the tabs on a Facebook page.
Most platforms have similar capabilities and the analytics of each platform continues to improve, allowing visitors to be tracked on pages, preferred content, and possible reach. This enlightens you on the positives and negatives.
What You Need to Know Before Building a Website for Your Business
Having a website built for your business is very different from the points made above, especially when it comes to cost. When done professionally, a website is going to cost more than setting up free social media pages, but the differences do not end there. Here are some things you will need to do to build a website for your local business.
Purchase a Domain and Get Website Hosting
To get started, you have to pay recurring costs for your domain and website hosting. The domain is the “address” where you will build your website (example: “yourbusiness.com”). Website hosting is the server space (the “land”) where your website will live.
Design, Development, and Technical Expertise
Since most small business owners do not double as website designers, you will have to hire a web designer to design, build, and occasionally update the website.
Even these “free” and “drag and drop” website builders require some technical and design expertise to end up with a site you will love.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
If you want your website to rank well in search engines for certain keywords, like your business name, it will require an understanding of some basic on-page SEO. If you do not know anything about SEO then you might consider paying someone to help you with that.
This is just the beginning of what it will cost to have a website, which is why so many people turn to social media. Why build a website for your business when you could use these free social media platforms to market your business online? The answer is, with a website you are 100% in control.
Benefits of Having a Website
Be a Control Freak (You Need to Be in 100% Control of Your Online Presence)
As a business owner, would you rather:
A) Set up shop in someone else’s store (without a lease) OR
B) Own or lease a dedicated space for your business?
With the first option, you are at the mercy of the store owner. If they do not want your business in their store anymore, then you are now out of business until you find a new location. If they decide not to open up one morning, your business cannot reach its customers and your revenue will be affected.
However, if you own or lease, then you have much more control over your situation. The changes in someone else’s business will not affect whether you stay in business or how much it will cost to stay in business. The same is true for having a website that you control, rather than building your online presence solely on a social media platform.
Do Not Be at the Mercy of Someone Else
If you setup shop solely on one or more social platforms, your business is ultimately at the mercy of those platforms. They can make changes whenever they want, and you do not have a voice, even if it impacts your business. If that platform gets acquired and changed or shut down, you may no longer be able to reach your customers.
A great example is when many business pages were recently hurt when Facebook updated its algorithm, decreasing the reach of business pages. There was nothing businesses could do, except complain. At the end of the day, they had to accept the new rules and move on.
The same thing could happen on another social platform. YouTube could start charging you to store videos on their servers. Twitter could decide to become a premium platform where businesses have to pay to play. In either of these circumstances, if you do not pay, then you no longer get to communicate with your customers.
Your Website is the Hub of your Online Presence
Like the store analogy above, you can have your own store and still set up a rack of your items in someone else’s store. Especially, if they offer the space for free. Not only do you control your store, you also get to use someone else’s space to market your items and make some sales. If they close, then you might lose a great marketing space, but you are not out of business.
NB -This is how you should treat social media.
Use social media as a marketing platform to drive traffic back to your website. Use that traffic to grow your email and customer list so you can communicate with them anytime, anywhere, on your own terms.
At the end of the day, it is much smarter to invest in something you own than to build on land that does not belong to you. Someday, the rules are going to change, and it could have a major impact on your business, if you are not in control. Therefore, we highly recommend that you invest in a website that you own and then use social media – and it has many benefits – to reach new audiences and grow your business.