This is one of the most popular questions I get asked... Karen I'm on social media but I'm not sure whether I really need a website or not?
So let's look at what websites do for your business and what social media does....
Social media is great. Seriously, I love it. However, (you knew there was a however coming didn't you?) it's not everything. It s a part of your business and marketing plan but I don't think it should be everything.
Why not? Your business is very important to you.
If you had a shop you wouldn't want some complete stranger walking in and changing things on you without telling you. Maybe they put a bouncer on the door to prevent your customers from coming in and seeing what you are offering! However that's what some social media platforms do. Facebook seems to be constantly changing and you are NOT in control of your Facebook page - no matter how many likes and followers that you have. It's known that unless you pay, your business page posts only go out to a percentage of your followers.
Now I'm not saying this as a website designer, I'm saying this as an online shopper. If I see a business that is selling something that I like on Facebook I go to check out their website. Why? Anyone can set up a Facebook page. That's why they have introduced business page verification - that tick shows that Facebook has confirmed that there is a real business behind the business page and has verified address etc.
Update May 2020: For some reason Facebook has decided that having the verification was confusing so they have taken it away. I'm still waiting to see if they are going to introduce another form of verification. I think verification was useful since otherwise anyone can start a Facebook page and you don't know who is behind it.
For me, a business that has a website is looking long term and plans to be around for a while. The business wants to have control over the business information they put out there and want their customers to find it easily.
Now I mentioned in the table 'helps' to build an email list'. In actual fact I confess that you don't need to have a website to build an email list. There are platforms where you can set up what is called an 'opt-in' page where people will give you their email address in exchange for a free report, download, join a newsletter that kind of thing. These platforms are not cheap and if your reason for not having a website is expense then it's actually cheaper to have a website long term. If you want to check out these type of platforms look at Lead Pages, click funnel and you'll find more when you look in a search engine. By the way I like these platforms BUT I would use them with a website and not on their own.
Why would you want people's email address in the first place?
Let's assume I'm your someone who's looking for your product / service. You know this because I'm following you on social media and may have even asked a few questions. However the only way your business can contact me is by sending me a message and on some platforms I may not even see it.
If you offered me a newsletter where I could get special offers, or find out more information that I'd be interested in then I'd be willing to give you my email address in exchange.
Now your business has direct access to me, and you can email me whenever you like. At least you know the email will be delivered to me (whether I read it or not needs to be covered in another topic).
But Karen, I don't want to send out spam. I get so many emails that I don't want to be someone sending out more!
Yes I've heard that before. Spam is any email that I'm not interested in but you've already established that I'm interested in your service / product. Any decent email platform will have an unsubcribe link in the email so people can leave your email list should they choose to.
So in summary, a website gives you credibility and control which you don't find with social media platforms. It gives you a means of collecting email addresses of interested people who may turn into customers.
For those reasons alone I truly believe that every business should have a website.
Feel free to leave your comments / questions below, whether they're positive or negative. Seriously, I can handle it 🙂
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