Why do I need a website? Facebook is not good enough!
No, this is not a repost from 1999. I'm writing this in the year 2013. If you have a website, this is not an article for you, as I'm sure you'll simply nod your head along with the following paragraphs. This is for the business owner who feels that a website is not essential to business success. If you are among this small group, might I persuade you to merely consider the following points and, after careful consideration, maintain or dissolve your current state of mind, in regards to a website.
To begin, I generally categorize web presence in three categories; pr, social media, and website. PR refers to an article or write-up about your company. Social media would include Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc, and is a way to communicate with clients. A website would refer to a stand-alone domain, you own, that is branded to your business. PR is always great and may result in some foottraffic, but without a site you're going to lose a majority of interested parties. We'll get to social media.
Ways people talk themselves out of a website
- Lack of knowledge (older more established businesses who don't know of the changing times)
- Economy (uncertainty of spending money on a website)
- "I have a Facebook Page" (those who feel Facebook is just as good if not better)
How do you perceive a website?
What if you could buy a second store location than your current one? What if I also told you this store came with a FREE salesman? 24 /7, 365. All of this, brand new store front with a 24/7 salesman is going to cost you less than 10 grand, maybe closer to 5k. How much did you pay for that sign that hangs on your building? $300? $2,000? maybe $10,000? Why did you buy it? To be seen of course! So those precious customers don't get lost on the way. So they can find you. This is what a website is, all rolled into one. This is your "cyber property".
You rent this space on the internet for $100 a year. In this day and age, not having a website is irresponsible. You may think I'm joking, but you're not only hurting your business every day, you're hurting your employees and yourself. Are sales low? Are you getting less foot-traffic? Is you target audience only trickling in. Word of mouth and social media are great, but they are nothing when it comes to giving a business an air of professionalism. It's the same reason you hand out business cards not just hand-shakes.
Think of what you would do if your friend recommended a store or businesses service, but you couldn't find their website? Would you really give this business a call or visit them? After all, who goes to a business without first glancing at their website? Is it worth my time to visit this place? Where is it? What do they sell? What did other people say about them? Oh, they don't have a website... well... I guess I'll go somewhere I trust.
Where the Economy is a concern
Let's take the example from above. Floor staff- let's put them at 25k a year. Building cost, assuming your are a super teeny tiny shop or store, you're paying about 30k a year with rent and utilities. Then you need to get a sign for your storefront. We'll buy a cheap little one at about 5k. It's probably cheaper to not have a brick an mortar building and sell out of your mom's basement honestly. "But brick and mortar is important! It establishes credibility and trust!" you say. Of course it does. I promise you that a website will create more trust for your company than a Facebook page.
You can't afford a brand new website? Are you really sure that's the case? You must rank where you place your money on a scale of ROI (Return On Investment). In this economy there is no room for slacking off. Word of mouth only gets you so far, and print ads have their limited reach. Google your industry in your city. If you're a plumber, google "plumber (your city)". If you're a jewelry store, same thing. "Fine jewelry in (your city)". Search how you naturally would using Google. Did you come up? My guess is you didn't. You're off the radar, and this is a radar you NEED to be on in order to get new customers. You need a well-built website for solid SEO.
Why have a website and not just a Facebook Business page?
This seems to be the cardinal sin of many small business. Yes, you have a Facebook business page. Kudos to you. You have a social media page that allows you to say a blurb about yourself, your products and lets you upload images if you wish. What's so bad about that? I'll try to explain it simply, but there are some technical points I'll try to clear up. Social media is a must to connect with consumers, but without a website it makes you look unprofessional. (in no particular order)
- Ownership - Facebook pages all look the same, making your organization essentially faceless. You're page is just one of the thousands on Facebook shouting, "Hey, over here! Like me."
- Control - You can't control publishing of comments. Hopefully you can remove an inappropriate or defaming post soon after it is published, but it probably won't be soon enough to not do damage to your reputation.
- Distractions - A website provides the ability for users to monotask. This means they are solely focused on your store. Just you, no one else. Facebook has hundreds of distracting things happening. Messages, invites, newsfeeds and advertisements from other companies vying for attention. They may stay on your page for five minutes, IF they're in a gallery.
- Measurement - There is no way to measure Facebook's long-term effect on your business or traffic. Likes do not equal moving inventory. The people liking your page may not even be customers. Family, friends, out of town visitors. How many likes equal regular paying customers? How many people visit your page a day? You can't know, nor can you find out!
- Invisible - Google search will only pull up your business page if your business name is super unique and sought out. Someone just searching general keywords will not find you.
- Price - Facebook is free. N
There are a variety of websites out there, from templates to custom responsive to ecommerce. And you should be scaling the site in correlation to your business. If you're brand new, yes, a Facebook Business Page will tide you over, for now. Until you have enough capital to perhaps buy a hosting account and domain name for your business. Then you can upload a Free Drupal or Wordpress theme. Once your business is established, you need to get a real site. Even if it's small. The ROI is unparalleled. Websites can be leveraged in so many ways with adwords, ecommerce, social media, content, etc. I hope you establish a website, even if it's not from us.