It’s hard to imagine a world without Facebook. There were 2.38 billion monthly active users in the first quarter of 2019.
With access to so many potential customers, you might wonder if you even need a website anymore. Isn’t a Facebook page more important?
Not quite. There are advantages and disadvantages to both. And it’ll also depend on what your business does.
Customer-facing businesses like bars or restaurants have different needs. If you sell to other businesses, Facebook may not be right for you.
But fear not! We’re weighing up both sides in the website vs. Facebook page debate. Read on to learn which one you really need.
A website is your virtual shop window. Even if you’re selling services instead of products.
Think of your website like a 24/7 salesperson, concierge and customer service rep rolled into one.
True, your Facebook page does something similar. Particularly with the advent of chatbots.
But a website has other advantages you can’t get with a Facebook page. Let’s look at what those are.
A search engine is far more likely to rank your website than your Facebook page. You also have more control over what it ranks you for too.
Keep your details accurate and up-to-date. Then claim your Google My Business listing to give your local SEO a boost.
That helps push you up the search rankings for local searches. You’ll reach fewer people, but you’ll also have less competition.
And if you’re operating digitally, you can win search engine traffic. Create content that people need and can use. Optimize it and grab attention from people who are searching for answers.
Check out our guide to giving your website an SEO makeover.
Yes, you can find leads through Facebook. And you can get them to sign up for your email list through your page.
But Facebook doesn’t want its users to leave the platform for your website. So it’s harder to convert followers into customers.
Having a website gives you a place to advertise your lead magnet. Create an enticing landing page to show them the benefit of your downloadable.
You also get many places to leave sign-up forms. Your website footer is a great location. After all, if a visitor makes it to the bottom of the page, they’re likely to be interested in what you do.
Your website will integrate better with your email marketing provider than Facebook does.
One of the downsides of Facebook Pages is they all look very similar. You can upload custom header graphics and profile photos. But it’s hard to control the brand experience for visitors.
On your website, it’s all down to you. Use colors, fonts, imagery and user experience to communicate your brand values. Even if you’re using a WordPress template, you can still create custom pages.
You get to decide how a visitor interacts with your website.
And you get to direct where they go when they get there. Guide them through a pathway so they’re ready to sign up, or buy. Whatever your goal for them is.
On Facebook, it’s still clear that your visitors are using another company’s website. And you’re stuck playing their games. Which leads us to…
Imagine a world where your only web presence is your Facebook Page. You make sales, book clients, and share content through your page. Your whole business is on that platform.
And then Facebook goes down.
What do you do, right?
A huge outage in March 2019 took almost a day to resolve. It also took down Whatsapp and Instagram. Which proves you shouldn’t put all your marketing eggs in one digital basket.
We should point out that with a website, it’s your slice of internet. When you rely on a Facebook page, you have to abide by their terms of service.
If they decide you’ve broken a rule? They can delete your account without warning.
Facebook can, and do, change their algorithm whenever they want. Which means a post that got great engagement one day might tank the next day.
You’re also competing with other businesses all trying to outsmart those algorithms. Even if you find a tactic that works, it stops working when everyone else catches on.
Google also change their algorithms which can affect your SEO. But you’ve got a lot more control over how you get your website in front of people.
Leverage your email list and other social platforms to send traffic to your site. Or try in-person networking for an added boost.
No amount of algorithms can make up for a human connection.
You’re up against stiff competition on Facebook. There are over 60 million business pages.
When Facebook Pages first launched, customers loved the extra contact with brands. But with news feeds now full of adverts? Users are less enthusiastic.
And with users ‘liking’ so many pages, your posts have to work harder to please the algorithm.
On your website, it’s just you and the customer. Yes, you have to drive traffic to your site. And yes, you have the competition in the search engine results.
But you’re not relying on search engines for traffic. Develop a solid inbound marketing strategy to create a steady flow of leads to your site.
Many small businesses get started with a Facebook page. They’re fast to set up and you can get early ‘likes’ by inviting family and friends.
You don’t need to hire a web designer to get started. And most people use Facebook so it’s good to have a presence there.
What are the other benefits of having a Facebook page?
Making updates to your website usually involves a desktop computer. If you’re using something like WordPress, you can log into your dashboard on a smartphone.
But posting something to your Facebook page is simple. Open the Facebook Pages Manager app and create your post.
It’s easy to post photos or videos from where you are. And customers can tag you in their photos, giving you a gallery of user-created content.
You can share their posts, making them more visible to your followers. Which is good because it shows off the lovely things your buyers say.
You can also display your customer reviews on your page. Many businesses have testimonials on the website. Or they may have them on their Google My Business listing.
But Facebook puts them front and center. Having real names and photos alongside the reviews helps them to feel more ‘real’.
Being able to show your customer engagement on posts can also help to build trust with new visitors.
You’ll need a Facebook page if you want to run ads. There’s no way around it.
And there are over seven million active advertisers on Facebook.
These ads are incredibly effective. And you can target the right audience with laser precision.
You could pay for an ad in the newspaper. Or on television. But how do you know your target audience will see it?
Even if they do, it’s difficult to get them to take action. You could ask them to visit your website or follow you on social media.
But they have to make the effort.
On Facebook, you choose who to target based on your customer avatar. Where do they live? How old are they? What else do they like?
You can run ads based on your existing customer base, called ‘lookalike audiences’. Facebook uses its vast database to build an advertising audience like your customers.
Then drive them straight to your website with the ad. It’s a single tap or a click.
Many customers will post comments on your updates. And Messenger and its many chatbots make it easy to interact with customers.
There are over 300,000 active chatbots on Messenger. And 80 percent of businesses say they’ll be using chatbots by 2020.
Chatbots provide quick answers to easy questions. And you can set them up to switch to a live representative to answer anything complicated.
Providing a swift response can make all the difference in winning a new customer.
You can include comment boxes on a website. Or add contact forms to relevant pages. But they don’t have the immediacy of a chatbot or Facebook comment.
Facebook really wants to make video marketing a success. That’s why it notifies your followers when you go live.
You can see their point. Getting users to watch live videos is a great way to keep them on the platform.
But live videos provide a great opportunity to interact with viewers. Answer their questions live. Or run new product launches live. Even a behind-the-scenes tour will get engagement.
The videos will stay on your profile after the broadcast for people to watch later. It’s a great way to build up a bank of video content.
You can even download the videos and upload them to Vimeo and Youtube for extra exposure.
And it’s not just going live that helps.
Sharing a video on Facebook gets more of a boost in the algorithm than posting a link to Youtube. That kind of organic boost saves marketing money and can be great for expanding your reach.
If you’re wondering if you should build a website or Facebook page, the quick answer is… Do both.
But focus on your website. Think of your online presence like a wheel. Your website sits at the center as a hub.
Your social media platforms are the spokes, radiating out to your audience.
You should use social media platforms where your target customers hang out. Whether it’s LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, that’s where you should be.
When people have a problem to solve, they head to search engines. Not Facebook. So you’ll win traffic by providing solutions that people need.
Even advertising on Facebook is no guarantee of success. Just because a person sees an ad doesn’t mean they’ll act upon it.
People hang out on Facebook to be social. Not always to be sold to. But your website is a space where you’re expected to sell.
People can only consume the content you share on Facebook on the platform. Try sharing a video on the platform with someone who doesn’t have an account. It’s frustrating for the viewer.
You could always share the video to Facebook and Youtube. Use the embed links from Youtube to place the video on your website. That way, you enjoy the higher organic boost on Facebook from the hosted video.
Then you enjoy the benefit of Youtube’s algorithm.
Host a transcript of the video alongside the embedded clip on your website. That improves your SEO efforts. You can also cut any video buffering on your website.
Install a Facebook Pixel on your site. This helps to track traffic to your site. Which lets you run remarketing campaigns on Facebook.
These are useful because it can take a customer seeing your brand seven times before they’ll buy.
So say a potential customer arrives on your website from Google. They take a look around but get distracted before they can buy.
The pixel captures their data. You run a remarketing ad on Facebook and they see your business again.
It reminds them to head back and finish their purchase.
One final word on the website vs. Facebook page debate. A website has far more credibility with customers than a Facebook page does.
Think of your page as a fun space for your customers to hang out. But your website is where the business happens.
Now you know how valuable a website is. Why not choose the best hosting you can give it?
Check out our hosting plans and see which one best suits your needs. If you have any questions, contact us today!