A 2016 survey revealed that around 50% of all small businesses still don’t have a website, even though it is easier than ever to get your business online.
This is a topic that came up in conversation while I was at a networking meeting a couple of weeks ago. (Yes, sometimes I do get out from behind my PC and go and speak to real people. I even quite enjoyed it although I was lured by cake as it was a birthday celebration for the networking group in question. I digress.)
This question came from another small business owner, who does in fact have a website themselves.
I was aghast for but tried not to let it show. Once I’d got over the initial shock of imagining myself completely redundant I recovered my composure and explained why a website is as important, if not more so, than it ever was to your small business. I thought I’d share some of those reasons here countering the argument that you could just have a strong presence on social media and negate the need for a website.
Social media is a fantastic tool for promoting your business. But ultimately you don’t have ownership of your content or much control over what happens to your posts and updates moving forwards. How many times have you read something on a social media channel from someone you know and then not be able to find the post again? I do it all the time.
‘At your discretion’ is the key phrase here. You can decide what and how much content is available and what context it is seen in. Social media channels are driven by their users and consumers of the content available as a whole. This will have an impact on who sees your updates and how often.
As a business with a target market you can adjust and fine tune your website to present your business exactly as required as your business evolves. You have complete control over this as the website owner.
Think of your website as the final gateway to your business and visitors will arrive there from many different routes:
As anyone who has been impacted by the ever-decreasing organic reach available on Facebook for example will tell you, social media channels are ever changing and some are also on the decline in an ever-changing social media landscape. Your content on these channels is still working for you but it’s accessibility may not always be as you anticipated when you started building that huge audience on say Twitter for example. Your website is constant.
Linked In very recently changed its interface and a notable change was removal of the facility to store notes against connections leading to loss of data for anyone who was unaware of this change and hadn’t made prior moves to export what they needed to keep. This blog post from GPC Marketing details the changes and explains how users could potentially have lost data.
Whilst this isn’t directly affecting your own profile, future edits could spill into profiles and shared content on any of the many social channels available.
Users are fickle and the ever-growing channel of today may be in sharp decline in 18 months’ time as newer and better ones become available. Social channels change according to current trends and in the case of Facebook with a view to more paid advertising. This has had a major effect on anyone who previously had fantastic viral reach on their Facebook page. I know when I first started I had a few posts that were shared by many and reached 10,000. Now I’m lucky if a post reaches a couple of hundred.
This doesn’t mean that Facebook is no longer a useful tool of course. You just need to adjust your strategy but that is a whole different blog post. Again it only goes to support the validity of having a constant and reliable resource for your content in the form of your own website.
Having ownership and ultimately control of your online presence is essential and the only way you achieve this is by owning and managing your own website. Your website can present you in any way you choose. You aren’t limited to a certain number of words or number of images per update. You can design and layout your website to encourage the kind of visitors that you are hoping to attract and you can update it whenever you like and it will always be your shop window.
It will remain an excellent tool for broadening your reach and making others aware of your business. But think how you use social media as a consumer and more importantly how your potential customers do.
When casually browsing your preferred social channel, something sparks interest. What do you do next? Quite possibly you go and visit the profile of the originator of the post or Tweet.
You’ve probably got a fairly good idea what follows. Having reached a profile and you’re still interested what would you do?
Follow the link to the website to find out more.
Speaking for myself. I would just move on to the next post of interest. I’ve now got a fairly negative impression as there is no website and rightly or wrongly some of these thoughts are going through my mind:
None of the above are positives and all would most likely mean that I wouldn’t pursue any further communication with the business in question.
Your website is your constant shop window that your customers, new and existing can return to. You do need to be active on social media as well but the goal with your social activity is to attract visitors to your website who will ultimately become your customers.
Cost is often one of the deciding factors for a small business when it comes to decisions about a website. If spreading the cost over up to 12 months would help why not get in touch and see just how easy and cost efficient it can be to get your small business online.
© Web Design Unlimited | Four Four Consultancy Limited 2017