A business website is the primary digital footprint of any business. Many successful business operators know this. Yet some believe Facebook is all you need for an online business presence. A lot of small businesses I encounter in Ballarat and Melbourne still believe this is all they need for an effective online marketing strategy.
With over 40 million active small business pages on Facebook more businesses are establishing their presence online with a Facebook page. Establishing a Facebook page is free and with over 1.5 billion active monthly users it makes sense to be there.
Is a presence on the largest social media network of all time enough for businesses? No. Relying only on Facebook to provide a commercial web presence limits a businesses potential customer reach.
Exposure on Facebook requires engagement, people commenting and talking about your posts (content). This requires the implementation of a successful content strategy, otherwise Facebook removes posts out of previously engaged customer’s news feeds. Most businesses need to spend money to promote their page and content to find an audience. A useful Facebook business page requires resources to be seen in the Facebook community. It's a challenge to find the time and expertise to undertake an effective Facebook engagement strategy.
A Facebook page does not provide a business with a complete brand experience. Placing a business logo and imagery on a Facebook page is still a Facebook brand experience. Without a professional website to link to Facebook users sense when a business lacks a digital footprint of their own. This can erode trust in a brand, many customers want to engage with the brand not Facebook.
A website allows a business to completely manage their brand. It's a way to ensure the valuable information you need customers to notice is available and easily found. People search for services and products using Google. Facebook pages can be found via search engines, but they do not have the effective SEO control features of a dedicated website. Managing the ranking and findability on Google is an essential online marketing strategy. Businesses need customers to find them online via a variety of search terms and methods.
My question to businesses without a website - How can you afford not to have a website? You need a Facebook page as well, it’s another layer in an online marketing strategy, but a website is a core business necessity.
I understand that many businesses today believe they do not have the time or money for a website. There's a term for them, ‘Ghost Business' invisible to 97% of all consumers who search for products and services online?