We have been hearing about the imminent demise of regular top down, button-down, business websites for years. However, the fact is that despite the growing influence of social media, encrypted chat services, and even the dark web you still see websites. As a matter of fact, the number of websites seems to grow each year. But let’s be fair not all websites have something to sell, and they are not all there for branding purposes.
Some of the latest success stories are online merchants who have restricted their sales to Facebook pages and Pinterest. When asked many entrepreneurs have said that they don’t need a website to sell their services. Even freelance service providers have gotten onboard freelancing websites and joined the so-called global workforce. But I like to think that the difference between having a website and selling via a social network is like selling an iPhone by meeting a guy at a coffee shop versus selling your own brand of phone in your own office.
Branding is still best done with your own website
Don’t get me wrong because social media is a big part of any business’s branding efforts. But a Facebook template page or any other social media’s page is limited to just your cover photo, some event based milestones and a handful of strictly regulated apps. So, you’re limited to just using what’s offered and hopefully being able to sell as long as you have the ad dollar to drum up visits to your website.
On the other hand, owning a website shows you are a credible business, you get to play by your own rules and use social media to create a branded presence. In the long term investing in a website will help you build a more professional business.
In today’s internet driven world most people don’t know your business’s name before they stumble across your services or products. So, people just Google for a service or a product like iPhones or web designers, then they click on the first few results they get. But Google along with other search engines don’t actually index Facebook pages so, your ability to sell to possibly hundreds of people each year is hampered because you don’t have a website.
Lots of competition
Most people may not realize this until their page becomes popular but Facebook can offer lots of competition. So, in the case of Facebook, if you follow a highly competitive page, their news update may end up on your own page if you’re targeting the same audience. Consequently, if they have something better to offer visitors to your page then, that’s a missed sale for you. Plus, since the barrier to entry when it comes to creating and advertising a Facebook page is so low don’t be surprised if there are already a dozen or so competitors in the niche you’re about to dive into.
So, far there is no data to suggest that websites are dead or even dying. On the contrary, the way business is done online is changing and in most part for the better. People who have a very good idea can pilot that idea using social media then use the response they get to build a website. However, at least for now Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest are not offering a better deal than having your own website.
Ideally, you’ll want to get a mobile friendly or scalable website designed by a professional. Make sure that everything from the design to the content reflects the brand image you want to create. Then use social media as a way of showing people your business, what your products can accomplish and what you’re doing better than others. That’s the still the only way to build a sustainable and growing online business.