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If there are so many free social media channels out there that do pretty much everything I need for my business, why should I have a website? Do I need a website?

The answer is yes, you should definitely have a website and we are going to explain why.

Visibility/ SEO

While creating a Facebook page may seem familiar, easier and more cost effective than creating a website, you must understand the limitations that go along with just having a Facebook page. The main limitation is Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). Naturally, you will want your business to be found by as many people as possible, however, due to the way in which search engines rank websites, a website is going to be favoured by search engines over a Facebook page. Often a website will be pushed to the top of a search engine results page before a Facebook or any other social media page.

This is hugely important if you want your website to be visible by your target audience, as Google processes over 3.5 billion searches per day. Meaning that if your online presence is small and you are only using Facebook, you could be at a huge disadvantage when it comes to visibility. With that being said however, Facebook has 2.6 billion monthly active users and so with this in mind, you will definitely have a decent chance of being found on Facebook. However, if your competitors have a website, they are more likely to be found on the search engine results page by your target demographic, therefore decreasing your chances of being found by people searching for your product/ service. That doesn’t mean to say that you should only have a website though, as having both a website and a Facebook page can be hugely beneficial for brand visibility, as it can double the chances of your business being found online.

You may think that using Facebook is the more cost effective route to go over a website, as websites can be quite a costly investment, depending on what you need from it. However, Facebook will require a lot of time and effort to really engage with your audience and build up a following. You may even decide to pay for ads, but remember that there is no guarantee these ads will be as successful as you hope, in terms of people seeing and acting upon them. Facebook tends to be a recreational pass time for a lot of people and so when people are using Facebook they may not be in the mood to buy your product/service. Whereas, investing time and money into a website and maybe even a Pay Per Click (PPC) campaign, may actually be far more worthwhile as people who are searching for what you are selling can be targeted directly. On top of that, people who are using Google to search are probably more likely to be genuinely interested in your products and services as they will be actively searching for it. 

In addition, you have very limited control over a Facebook page, as Facebook can control how often people will see your ads and page. As the platform becomes more and more popular, Facebook want to make sure that their users are having the best experience and so they will often change certain features to suit their users' requests. One being that users are not very happy with the amount of paid ads and business pages that are being seen on news feeds, over family and friends posts. In reaction to this, Facebook are going to change their algorithm so that less business pages and ads are being shown on news feeds, meaning that if you are relying on a Facebook business page then you may start to become less visible in the future and this is definitely something to think about.

Design

You will also have to take into consideration the limitations that will come with having a Facebook page. If you have a website, you have complete control; the design can be fully reflective of your brand, and you won't have limitations on the products you can sell; you will also have the added bonus of appearing more professional. With Facebook you will be restricted by their layout, as there is no custom design as such. On top of this, you will also have to adhere to Facebook’s community standards and also their policies for selling products/services through them, which could potentially restrict you in what you can and cannot sell. You will also always have their branding appear on everything, from the search bar at the top of your page to the URL, which can potentially take away from the authenticity of your brand identity.

In terms of building that crucial brand credibility, a website can fully allow you to do just that, as you are fully in control of how your target audience sees you. With a website you are able to fully choose your design and functionality, whereas it may be a little bit more difficult to build that brand identity for yourself on just a Facebook business page, as the layout is very similar from business to business, taking away that unique brand image. This can also affect your credibility, as many people who find business pages on Facebook will then often search for an accompanying website, as websites will often offer more information about the brand to the user; giving the user a better idea of how professional they are. A website will give your brand a true first impression, with how it is designed, the features and layout can all tell your user exactly what your brand is about, where as this is can be difficult to achieve with just a Facebook page.

Using Facebook & a Website

With all this being said however, having both a Facebook page and a website can be extremely beneficial in your marketing strategy. Whilst we still think that a website outweighs a Facebook page, we do think that using both can work extremely well; as you can definitely reap the benefits of utilising both online avenues. Facebook can offer a huge amount of features when you are using the business tools and it is a place where you can get quite creative with your business. Alongside your professional and sleek website, a Facebook page can offer your audience a more relaxed and informal side to your brand, which can definitely be quite refreshing and can make your business appear more approachable.  A Facebook page can be a great place to drive traffic to a website. If you have a blog feature on your website, then you can use Facebook to promote this side of your business, not only increasing engagement on your social media page but also driving traffic back to your website, as you can link the blog feature on your business page. This increase in traffic will also increase your SEO rank.

The same is also true for driving traffic from your website to your Facebook page, as people who find your website on Google can also visit your Facebook page through a link on your website. This can be especially important if your website doesn't have a blog feature or isn't being continually updated, as your Facebook page will probably be kept up to date a little bit more than your website; giving the user the opportunity to choose how they want to view your business. 

As you can see, having both a website and a Facebook page is probably the best way to go. However if this is just not achievable for your brand, then we strongly suggest having a website over a Facebook page. Not all websites are ridiculously expensive, try our new low cost website solution Low Cost Ecom, as I’m sure that we can help get you online quickly and affordably.

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