It seems to happen a lot: a company solves their website woes with a Facebook page. And no website. It doesn’t matter if you’re a restaurant, law firm, candy company, or plumber – you need a website. Yes, Facebook pages are great. They rank well in search engines (for the most part) and they’re easy to update with pictures, links, and text.
by Michael Adams
Facebook is a social utility to connect with friends, family, and business colleagues from around the world. It’s not an e-commerce engine or indexable website. I know it’s free, but you get what you pay for.In addition to those reasons above, here’s a couple more:
1. Branding Your Company
Remember when branding was big? It still is, but you need to brand your entire online presence: social media accounts, blogs, and your website. It serves as another touch-point for current and future customers. And you don’t want to miss out on an opportunity to get your brand in-front of more faces, do you?
2. Blogging and Creating Useful Content
Facebook’s Notes feature doesn’t come close to a blog – and the notes aren’t going to be indexed by Google. And they want you to create fresh content so you rank better in the search engines. A higher rank means more traffic to your website. More traffic means more purchases or inquiries. And who doesn’t want that?
3. Search Engine Optimization
Many websites are made up of thousands – if not millions – of pages. All of these pages are indexed by Google, giving you a better chance of showing up for the keywords you want to show up for. When prospective customers are looking for you, you want to show up on the first page of Google. And you can’t optimize meta-data and page copy on your Facebook page, so the only thing you’ll be showing up for is your company name. Don’t forget your keywords!
You can have an ecommerce tab on your Facebook page, and while it may produce the same store sales of your website, you have to battle consumer anxiety with making purchases on a site they wouldn’t think about entering their credit card info on. Having your own hosted ecommerce store is the way to go. You’re able to secure it, make the browsing experience beautiful, and boost sales.
5. Links to Other Social Media
You can post links to pinterest, twitter, instagram, and other social media sites on your website where they’re all in one place. With Facebook, you’d have to hide your links in the about profile or continually post them on Facebook. And generally, people won’t follow your twitter account if they’re seeing it (and following you) on Facebook. In my last few years on the web, consumers typically stick to one or two networks. And if their friends aren’t on it, you’re out of luck.
6. Fans Don’t See Everything
With Facebook’s change over to the timeline view, your “likers” have to subscribe to your updates. Otherwise, they don’t see everything. You’re huge free shipping promotion could go silent because it just wasn’t the right time of day. Don’t let that happen. Pick up a website and your information will always be there when customers are looking for it.
7. Losing New Customers
Scroll through the number of likes on your Facebook page. How many are current customers? That’s what Facebook is – it’s a list of your current customers. The likelihood of a browser liking your page is very slim if they haven’t interacted with is in real life. For example, if you haven’t been to the new steakhouse in town, are you going to hunt for their Facebook page? No, you’re going to look for their website….but you needa website before potential customers can look for you.
So, there’s seven reasons you need more than a Facebook page. And yes, you could argue a Facebook page is right for your business. But, I want to bring up the point you may be missing: Facebook is just one part of your online strategy. There are many other moving parts.
Ready to get started with a website?
If I’ve gotten you this far, you’ve got to be at least a little bit interested in getting setup with a website. That’s great!
Here are four low-cost solutions
1. SquareSpace (quick, easy-to-edit personal sites)
While not necessarily a new kid on the block, SquareSpace just re-designed their entire interface – and it’s beautiful. $8/month gets you easy to use editing tools and your site is up in minutes. SquareSpace is best for smaller personal sites or visually-heavy portfolios.
2. WordPress (it’s more than a blogging platform!)
WordPress is the most popular content management system (CMS) in the world. It powers billions of websites. And it’s not just for blogging. Many large organizations use it to hose their entire website – from ecommerce to news, and everything in between.
3. Shopify (for ecommerce sites)
It’s one the easiest ways to setup an ecommerce site if that’s your project. For a couple bucks a month you can have them handle hosting, product management, inventory, and payment. How can you go wrong?
4. ThemeForest (great-looking templates)
I’ve built multi-page sites in literally five hours with themes from ThemeForest. They have hundreds of templates for regular HTML/CSS sites, WordPress builds, and ecommerce shops – all for under $50. Head over and start browsing. If anything, it’ll give you great inspiration for what you want to do with the web.
See? It’s not that hard to get an awesome site up and running. Plus, you can get away with one for less than $100 a year – and that includes hosting. That $100 could turn into thousands of dollars in new engagements, sales and inquiries.
So, why turn down thousands in new sales? Get started with your website right now.
Author Bio: Michael Adams is the Marketing Manager at Fourtopper. Fourtopper brings more to the table for restaurants, cafes, and bars by creating ROI-driven restaurant websites.
How has Facebook helped your business? Share in the comments section below.
Image via Flickr