With the advent and current popularity of Facebook and other social platforms, it’s easy to gloss over why you still need a website for your business. The span of Facebook, although it ebbs and flows, is massive. It even offers fairly convenient means of promoting and tracking the reach of your business Facebook page. So with marketing services like this that are more or less free compared to TV or print advertising, why bother with the distraction of a website? Well, it turns out there are several reasons. You can make your own decisions, but ignoring the importance of having a website likely isn’t going to work in your favour.
The Anchor Effect
Whether you recognize it or not, your business (feel free to substitute brand, cause, charity, life for “business”) has a narrative. It can be slow moving drama or fast action, but there’s still a thread being woven. Every story has a beginning, middle and end. Without any of those components an audience has no context to why or how you exist. Think of your website as the beginning of your brand narrative, the anchor that everything else is tied to. A reader can find your current post on Facebook, become intrigued, and then go back to the beginning of the book by hitting your website. They can start from the beginning.
In many cases, an audience wants to do business with someone who has some skin in the game. Social media is easy – hence its temptation – and quick to breath life into, but it also dies just as quickly because it’s transient. Building a solid and professional website, complete with relevant and engaging content, shows the world that your intentions are real. You aren’t just some hack doing your gig off the side of your desk. A website is your flagpole screaming, “Ya, I’m here! Come and “git” some!”
Return on Investment
If you think building a website is costly and work intensive, wait until you get into the social media game. Although a website needs regular updates to stay relevant, it isn’t the revolving door of Facebook content. Think about how many posts come through your FB feed everyday, and take a stab at how many you miss. We know that Facebook itself curates every user’s newsfeed. Unless you’re constantly posting to all of your social platforms, your presence will be a ghost. That’s a lot of time and work, or a lot of money if you farm it out. Take your pick.
If your audience – or potential audience – doesn’t know that you exist, how will they find you? The search function on Facebook is fairly robust, but nowhere near as powerful as an actual internet search engine. Play along and do a search for something you might want to buy. I’ll bet not one FB page comes up on the first page of search results. You need to make your organization easy to be found, and web page SEO tricks are the most efficient way of making that happen. And once again, websites are less fluid than social media, it’s almost “set and forget.”
So them’s the facts. I’m sure there are a million examples of brands that are successful in spite of not having a website, but why make it harder on yourself? Invest the time and money, maintain the site with relevant, enjoyable content, and let your site do the work for you. You could be kicking back with your feet up and a beer in hand, while your little “www” worker bee is plugging away on your behalf into the wee hours of the night.