To website or not to website? That is the question. In the last few years, Facebook pages and Google My Business listings have continued on an ever-expanding mission to answer all possible questions about your business in one place. And that place is of course not on your website – both are striving to replace your website and keep searchers on their own platform instead!
Okay, okay – maybe it isn’t all that devious. But Google and Facebook are striving to become more and more relevant every day, and having the option to include business information on their platforms has likely saved us all an extra step more times than we can count. How many times have you Googled a business and phoned them directly through their Google My Business listing? How about opening Facebook to check a business’ opening hours instead of heading to their website?
The fact of the matter is, many businesses can and do operate in this day and age without a website. In this week’s blog, we’ll go through some of the pros and cons of owning a website so you can decide whether or not you want to join them.
The most obvious benefit to relying solely on a Facebook profile or a Google My Business listing is saving on overheads. Good websites are an investment to build, fill with content and host on an ongoing basis. Great websites are an even bigger investment. You need to hire a strategist to devise what needs to be said and who you need to say it to, and then you’d need a copywriter to develop well-written content that gets the point across. Additionally, you’d benefit from an SEO specialist who can analyse keyword searches that match your products or services and make sure those keywords appear in SEO-friendly content on the site. A graphic designer would be required to make sure your site is both user friendly and aesthetically pleasing. Once your beautiful website has come together, you’ve still got to pay a monthly hosting fee – and to continuously meet Google’s stringent quality standards you’d need to regularly refresh the site with monthly blogs and SEO adjustments!
Of course, it all pays off – the business you generate from being seen and from being seen as a professional industry leader can’t be undervalued. However, these costs are potentially better suited to a well-established business rather than a small startup. As a smaller business on Facebook, you can list all the information your customers would need from a website and then some – we won’t go into those things now because we recently released a podcast on it – and you can check it out here.
In summary though, a Facebook business page has become the ultra-simplified version of a website. It’s completely mobile-optimised from the get-go. You don’t need to worry about refreshing content for SEO, and you can organise paid advertisements in the platform. You can use private instant messaging to contact leads instead of phone or email, and you can access insights like page visits and engagement in a format that’s more digestible for those of us who aren’t paid social media specialists.
Of course, it’s easy to be found if leads search for you on Facebook – but one place that’s harder to be found without a website is Google. However, using a Google My Business (GMB) profile can amend this. A GMB profile means your business should appear on Google when searched by name, and it can also include plenty of important information. GMB additionally features photos of your business and easy directions for leads to find you via Google Maps.
All in all, Facebook and Google My Business sound like sufficient platforms – especially when you consider their simplicity! But there are reasons that businesses still rely heavily on websites, and at Roobix we still believe the web is the way to go in most cases. Here’s why:
Websites allow you far greater control. Because they can be configured any way you like, you can include as much information about your business as you need – and in any structure, too. That means more space for blogs, past work, case studies, testimonials and reviews you actually have control over, which is not an option on a Facebook or GMB profile.
Without a website, you risk looking like a tiny organisation. Websites are vital for building credibility both digitally and physically. If you don’t have a website but your competitors do, it will show.
Without a website, you can’t access Google’s pay-per-click (PPC) advertising and you can’t make the most of search engine optimisation. Essentially, that means you can’t get yourself seen through paid advertising outside of Facebook and you can’t get yourself seen through relevance and quality content indicators on Google. Your visibility becomes entirely dependent on a social media platform, which leads into our next point…
Relying entirely on Facebook or other social media sites isn’t a great marketing strategy. These platforms change their algorithm all the time – we’ve seen Facebook move away from highlighting business posts in recent years, and just last month Facebook deleted many Australian business pages as collateral damage in its war on Newscorp!
At the end of the day, there are pros and cons to both having and not having a website. Although a website is almost always an excellent marketing investment, sometimes it isn’t. If you’re a small business or a start-up and you’re still testing your business idea, you may not want to make that investment just yet. If you’re a more established business and you’re looking to build credibility, make the most of web visibility and start building long-form advocacy generating content, web is the way to go. In any case, using social media to complement your website rather than replace it is usually best practice.
If you’ve got any more questions about websites, reach out to Roobix – our Managed Marketing Service (MMS) covers all aspects of building, writing, designing and hosting websites. Included in our MMS is access to a team of in-house social media specialists happy to help with all of your Facebook and GMB needs if you’re not quite there yet.