I was talking with a small business owner recently and he told me that he did not have a website because he didn’t need one. He felt that he got plenty of traffic through social media, and it was much easier to put up posts that way than to maintain a website. As a web developer, I took this to heart. Do you even need a website?
Your Face to the World
Almost everyone has at hand a device that produces information about your business: the products or services you provide, your location and hours, and a way to contact you are just the basics. This is not much different from an advertisement in a paper publication. People want to see who you are, what your products, services, or organization are like, and what you say about yourself. What is your personality? Social media pages do not have very much latitude. While they are good for quick bits of information, they do not provide flexibility for you to tell your story.
By their very nature, social media posts are highly structured, and that structure is set by the forum. Your ability to educate your customer or create a relationship with your community is limited by post length and the number and size of graphics and photos you can use. Your very logo must be made to fit in predetermined dimensions; you cannot change that. And they are not easy to navigate. It is more cumbersome for a visitor to move through all the information in social media postings. A well designed website affords the opportunity for a conversation, a chance to build trust. None of this means that social media do not have a place, but that they should be a supplement, a signpost to your main web presence.
How To Find You
When someone speaks into a smartphone a phrase like “Where is the nearest ice cream shop?” a search of the internet is launched. It is how new customers find you, and every business or organization depends on new folks coming alongside the existing ones. The problem with depending on social media for this exposure is that it just doesn’t happen. For example, the average organic reach for branded Facebook pages is 2% for pages with more than 1 million likes, according to this study . That is an average, so there are many that are below that number. Additionally, brands that get more reach engagement post an average of eight times per day, which is a lot for a small business to manage.
Oh, and one more thing: despite the perception, not everyone is on social media. According to Facebook’s own statistics, 85% of daily active users are outside the United States and Canada. Depending on your audience, this may be a hindrance. A website affords many more opportunities to raise the search engine rankings and put your business in front of more potential customers. Every page, post, and photo on your site can be put into the search engine path. The social media posts will help that rank, but search engines are looking for websites.
Yeah, But Technology is Hard
There is no doubt that the bar to entry on social media is low; it should be. The whole point of social media is to engage many people, and to make it easy for them to do it. While not as easy as social media, website frameworks like WordPress bring the creation of websites much closer to many more people. Pre-made themes, walk-through tutorials, and a wealth of online resources mean that a business owner can build a website without knowing one bit of code. Changes to posts, pages, colors, and graphics are all easily done. Even maintaining an online shop is well within reach.
For folks who don’t want to touch it at all, or want to do more than time or inclination allow, web developers like Blue Orchid Web Development exist to help you launch, maintain, and link your website to all of your social media outlets as well as the rest of your marketing efforts, so you can concentrate on building the relationships that grow your business or organization.
Do you even need a website?
Your business website can be the center of your marketing, giving a foundation to the branding and message you want to present. It is your face to the world.