As social media becomes a go-to business and marketing tool for many businesses, we often see people asking, "Does my business even need a website?"
1. All of my conversions come through social media anyway.
Ever-expanding social media features and plugins allow us to essentially run a business off of a Facebook Page - we can schedule appointments, host events, sell products in our shop, handle customer service via messenger, collect email addresses and leads ... the list goes on and on.
However, do you truly have control of your social media presence? The short answer is no. Every social media platform ultimately controls your account access and may shut down your page at any time with no warning. Once a page is reported and shut down, some businesses have found that they have little to no recourse, even in cases of a misunderstanding or unfair reporting.
On the other hand, your business website is yours. Whether you build a simple website yourself or hire a web designer to build it for you, you can take steps to ensure that you retain ownership of your content, domain name, and website design.
2. Google indexes my social media, so I don't need a website for search traffic
You no longer need a website for your business to be discovered on search engines. From Facebook Pages to other public social media profiles, users checking to see if you're a real business will be able to find you without a website.
But what does Google choose to show people? From bad yelp reviews to random mentions of your business elsewhere, you can't guarantee that the content Google selects to show people first will be something under your control. On the other hand, a little attention to SEO and registering your business with Google Search Console and Google My Business can bring your website to the top of search results every time someone types your business name into a search box.
3. I've built up a great following on social media, and that's driving plenty of business.
If your business is booming on Instagram, what's the point in the hassle and financial strain involved in hosting a business website? While social media can be a great business driver, relying on just one platform where you have a great following is a risky undertaking. Who's to know if Google's latest attempt to break into social media will take off, or if customers will become frustrated with an algorithm change and abandon ship? We hear stories regularly of people who were doing a booming business on Instagram six months ago and now are starved for even the smallest bit of audience interaction.
On the other hand, if you begin to build up your own website's following with an engaging blog, fun content, or great photos and videos, this is content that will encourage customers to engage directly with you, and that you can use to engage with your audience whether the next big thing is TikTok or IGTV.
4. I use social media for customer service, so I don't need a website.
While social media can be a great place to respond to customer service requests, forcing customers to create an account on a specific social media platform in order to talk to you can be quite off-putting. A simple website with a contact form can allow you to easily manage customer service requests via a dedicated customer service email address and is available to any customer.
5. Social media is free, while web hosting costs money, and my budget is tight.
Starting social media is often one of the first steps for new businesses in creating a web presence. It's completely free to create a page, post content, and promote your business.
However, while social media credibility needs to grow over time, websites, no matter how new they are, can instantly make a business more credible in the customer's eye. Think about it: if you're searching for a product or service, would you choose the business with 23 Facebook followers and only 3 posts, or the business with a lovely website?