Do I need a website if I have Facebook? [VIDEO]
Search Engine Optimisation | Social Media | Website design | January 26th, 2021
Contributor Phil Robinson. Partner, Founder + CE
Every business should have a Facebook page in the 2020s. With nearly 3 billion active users, practically everyone who’s online is using Facebook… Or at least knows of it and spies on a page every now and then without making an account. But is that all you need for your business? Does your business need a website if you have Facebook?
Most likely, yes.
Having a Facebook page is great. It can help you connect with potential customers and leads. It’s a familiar platform many people know how to navigate. But it also comes with a number of restrictions and limitations that can hinder long-term growth and success. For some businesses, a Facebook page is enough. But is it for yours?
What can a website do that Facebook can’t?
Facebook is rolling out new features regularly. Now, you can create a business page, host events, and even sell products all in one place. If you spend time learning Facebook Ads, you can even get your business in front of people who are likely to be interested in it. So why bother with a website?
A website is customisable
One of the biggest advantages of having a website is that you can customise it. All Facebook pages use the same basic layout. Any images, videos, and content have to fit into the spaces Facebook decides.
When you have a website, you get to decide what goes where. You can have a banner video showcasing your latest product right on the home page. You can have quirky image sizes in fun shapes. Or you can have a browser video game where the hero uses your products to defeat evil. Whatever you can think of, an experienced web developer can build it.
A website is more credible
Anyone can have a Facebook page. Setting up a basic business page can be done in under half an hour. But just because a Facebook page for a company exists doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s legitimate. In 2020, there were numerous reports of scammers posing as real, authentic businesses in NZ. While an official business or celebrity page can have their account verified, an unverified account doesn’t necessarily mean the page is fake. Many smaller businesses aren’t aware of verification and simply don’t know that it’s an option. Sometimes they’re easy to spot, but not always.
Having a website also lets customers feel like you’re invested and credible. And you can build that credibility further by having good website design. If you position yourself as an expert and educate visitors, it helps you gain trust. If the navigation works well and shows related content, that’s more bonus points. Keep in mind though that a bad experience can have the opposite effect. A bad website is worse than having none at all, and can kill your reputation fast.
Have control over your own content
Have you ever been notified that Facebook had a new update that changed everything and you absolutely hated it? When you’re using someone else’s platform, they’re in charge. On Facebook, they decide what gets shown to people, what content is appropriate, and how it looks. If Facebook decides one day that they don’t like your industry or your name contains or is too close to an inappropriate word, too bad for you. They have the right to remove your page at any time.
As a multinational company, Facebook has to appeal to a wide range of rules and laws. Since they’re headquartered in the United States, any major legislation that happens there could affect your Facebook page; even if it has nothing to with New Zealand. If your only online presence is Facebook, you could face some serious obstacles if they make a major change.
One of the biggest problems with using Facebook for business updates and product announcements is that posts are fleeting. An important update will get buried quickly under your other posts. If someone is looking for something specific, they’ll have to scroll through your posts and hope they come across it. On your own website, you get to decide when and where information appears.
A well-built website helps you get found easier
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is all about getting found on Google. Since it’s net worth is in the billions, Facebook does have good SEO in place. If all you have is a business page and someone searches for your business directly, there’s a good chance that it will come up. But if you want to find customers who don’t know about you and search for what you do instead, your Facebook page will get pushed down and likely off the first page.
Built to be found on Google
With a custom-built website, your site can be built around being found on Google. There are a lot of key signals that Google looks for when deciding which page shows up first. Experienced website builders create the site with these signals in mind. Teamed up with a professional web designer, you can get a site that’s built well and looks great–and will put you above Facebook.
Focusing on keywords and phrases
One of the most important parts of SEO is building pages and articles around key phrases and words. These are the terms that people actually search for in Google. So if you’re a cafe, that could be phrases like “Coffee shop” or “Pastries near me” or “Iced chocolate” or anything else that you have on the menu. You can emphasise these keywords and even create whole articles around them if you want to hit it hard. And that’s something that simply isn’t possible on Facebook.
Keep track of leads and prospects
With Facebook, you can see who likes and follows your page. Then, if someone messages you, you can reach out and answer their inquiry. But there’s not much you can do to track leads and give them what they need when they need it.
If you have a website, you can integrate it with your database or CRM. You can have forms to collect information, have people sign up for your newsletter, or send great deals and product updates. Once you have these leads you can reach out to them when it’s appropriate and helpful to them–something much harder to do on Facebook.
When is just a Facebook page enough?
If you’re starting out a new side-hustle or have a brand new business and not a lot to invest in it, a business Facebook page is a good place to start. It’s free to make and can at least help you get your details out there. Facebook is a good way to test the waters and see if a product or service you’re unsure about can swim on its own.
Once you do decide to move forward and look at the business as a long-term investment, you’ll want to get a website. The kind of website you need depends on your goals, visions, and budget. You can find out about some of the different kinds of websites and how much they cost in our article How much does a website cost?
Or if you’d rather come in to talk about what would be best for your specific situation, you can give us a call or book a meeting now on our calendar below.