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Why you need a business website (and not just social media)

02.11.2020
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For many new businesses, social media is the obvious solution to begin getting your brand and messaging ‘out there’. Within a short space of time you can put together a profile with essential information and begin posting about your products, services and events.

Over time, your follower count, engagement and word of mouth about your business grows and everything’s going swimmingly.

So why would you need to invest the time and/or budget to put together a website when social media’s working so well?

Here’s a few reasons why a website is well worth the effort:

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1. A website is yours

One of the most compelling reasons to not rely on social media alone is the ownership that comes with having a website for your business.

Social media platforms come with a whole host of T&C’s which change on a regular basis. If you fall foul of these guidelines, social media companies have the right to shut down your page instantly. You may not be given any warning and appealing the decision can be a difficult and unsuccessful process.

Reasons for having a page or profile deleted can include:

  • Running competitions that don’t meet the platforms guidance
  • Posting ‘spammy’ content (which may be just posting the same content too frequently)
  • Using banned third party apps
  • Misrepresentation of your brand, for example through page name, description or posts
  • Posting copyrighted content
  • You have admins using a second profile, or who have gone against T&C’s in the past

Should an account suspension or outright ban happen, you’ll lose access to the audience you’ve worked so hard to build up. Even if you had some (or all) of their names – by ‘liking’ or following your page, they’ve only given you permission to contact them on social media and not on other platforms such as email.

This alone should be enough to persuade businesses to invest in building a solid online presence through a website too. For most businesses, the risk of losing everything if a social profile is lost is far too expensive a prospect to leave to chance.

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2. A website helps people find you online

Whilst it’s becoming more challenging for brands to reach a wide audience without paying for ads, social media still offers a great opportunity to get the word out about your business.

But when people search online for your services or products, a website gives you a much better chance of being found.

Search Engine Optimisation – or SEO – is a whole branch of online marketing that works on improving where your website shows up in search results for related terms. These could be search phrases like your business name, the products or services you provide and common questions about them.

Social media profiles aren’t really designed with SEO in mind – the main focus is driving conversation and engagements through pieces of content, as well as keeping people on the platform for longer.

If you have a unique brand name, you’ll generally find that your social media profiles will rank under a branded search – but for non-branded searches, websites will generally outrank social media profiles. Without an optimised website, your competitors will get ahead of you on the search results.

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3. A website is fully customisable to match your brand

There are ways to ‘brand’ your social media – from profile photos and banners to the style of images and writing you use. But this must happen within the limitations set by the platform – which will often have its own branding prominently displayed on the screen.

With a website, the possibilities are endless. When designed and developed well, the entire site will fit in with your business’s unique branding. There are many options for providing additional functionality to add to the customer experience- whether that’s a paint picker based on uploaded photos, delivering an online course or allowing website visitors to virtually try on glasses and makeup.

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4. A website provides a hub for other marketing

Whether you’re new to online marketing or refreshing your strategy, a strong website with effective, optimised content provides a solid foundation for your efforts on other marketing channels.

The time spent developing a website – defining a brand voice and style, communicating your customer benefits and demonstrating what you do as a business – makes it quicker and easier to create branded content for channels such as social media and email marketing.

Blog content can easily be shared and repurposed into multiple social media posts, whilst the detailed information about your services or products, case studies and testimonials can all provide a great head start when creating copy for social media, email campaigns and even press releases.

Within external channels like social media, a quick link back to your website provides potential customers with all the information they need to research your business and come to a buying decision more easily.

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5. A website helps customers find information

A website is really the ‘home’ of your business online. Whilst you can publish information on social media, the limits on posting length means each post needs to be clearly focussed on one point or goal.

If, like most social profiles, you have a mixture of post topics going on – customer reviews, sales posts, blogs and business updates – it can quickly become difficult for people to scroll through and find the information they need.

Unlike social media, websites are designed with clear navigation in mind. A well-thought-out website will make all your important business information easy for customers to find and browse through.

Whilst basic information like opening hours and location can – and should – be really quick to find through your social media or Google My Business listings, more detailed information about the products or services you provide, delivery information and answers to frequently asked questions are often quicker and easier to find on a well-organised website.

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6. A website gives you more in-depth insights

With a business (rather than personal) social media profile or page, you’ll be able to access some useful information about who has seen your content. This can include data showing how many people have seen a particular post or interacted with your overall page, what times they’re online and sometimes some information about the demographics of your audience such as age, location and gender.

This is all really helpful data to have – but website analytics can dive even deeper, to help you understand how your audience are interacting with your business online and fine-tune your marketing to suit.

Available website analytics can range from basic metrics, such as how many people have visited your site and how many are returning visitors, through to more detailed information like how long visitors have spent on each page, their route through your site and if there are any pages that are losing more visitors than they should.

Data about how people found your website and the search terms they used to get there can help to show your visibility online – whilst heatmaps showing visitor’s interaction with your website are a valuable tool in improving the conversion from visitor to customer.

There are a whole variety of analytics tools which can be installed on a website, giving you an insight into how your site is meeting customer needs and where further improvements could benefit your business.

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7. A website gives your business a professional image

The internet has been playing an increasingly significant role in sales for several years now. Whether a potential customer is looking for reviews, comparing products or vetting your company before they part with their cash – a website can help demonstrate that your business is professional and legitimate.

Whilst small-ticket items are regularly purchased on the back of a social media post or ad, research is commonly part of the process for more expensive items.

But this point has a caveat – your website must be put together well in order to reassure the customer that they can trust you.

Think back to some of the websites you’ve visited recently. Which of them helped you to trust the organisation they belonged to? Were there any that put you off?

Our expectations for a ‘professional’ website change over time as advances are made online. Common basics now include:

  • A correctly installed security certificate
  • Decent page loading speed
  • Professional, well-written text
  • A clear and modern website design

Do I have to pick one or the other?

In short – no!

Social media and websites are two completely different channels, which each provide a distinct role in your online marketing.

Social media is all about getting involved in conversations, building relationships and encouraging engagement; whilst a website is often somewhere to share longer form content, information and a full brand experience to your visitors.

Without a website, you’re missing out on a significant opportunity to demonstrate your value to customers, deepen their trust and retain ownership and control of your brand image.

So, what are you waiting for?

Need more help?

At HeyYou! Digital, we create effective, brand-driven website copy to help build an impactful web presence for your company. Get in touch now to book your free one-hour consultation and find out how we can help!

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Hannah Wade

Founder of HeyYou! Digital. Avid drinker of tea.

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