Last month, while searching for stories to share on a client’s social media, I found an article describing how one in five SMEs have no online presence, meaning a website.
Given how easy it is to build a website, whether through an agency or by yourself, these days, I just don’t understand this.
Some businesses think that their Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/LinkedIn/Google+ accounts are enough for their online presence.
Well, today I’m going to share with you why this isn’t enough. In fact, it’s a really bad idea.
Why do you need a business website?
I can answer this very simply.
Imagine if you’re only online presence was through social media. You’ve spent years building a profitable Facebook page, networking through LinkedIn and building great connections on Twitter.
Now imagine that Zuckerberg sold Facebook. Or Twitter finally crumbled and died. Or Microsoft decided to change LinkedIn completely and wipe the slate clean.
What would happen to your business?
This is why your business needs a website, so you can continue even when things change. A website not only acts as your main point of business online, it’s also a place where you can keep all your business information, content and deals in one central place.
Now imagine that a potential customer is checking you out on Twitter. Maybe they avoid Facebook or LinkedIn, but they want more information, so they look for your website address. Nope, that just takes them to another social media platform.
What would you think if you were that customer? Maybe that your business isn’t running anymore, or they don’t really know what they’re doing.
Most people like to research a business before they contact them and a website is the first place they’ll go. If there’s no website, they may immediately assume the business is unprofessional and go elsewhere.
That’s not to say you shouldn’t use social media
Of course, having a website involved hosting. And just as social media platforms can die, so can hosting.
So as well as having a website, you need to backup regularly and save the website externally, so if your hosting changes you can upload your website to a new host relatively easily.
Another great way of keeping your business safe from technological fails is to create a mailing list. That way you can stay in contact with existing and potential customers even if social media or hosting fails.
Use social media too! Just because you have your business website doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be on social media. But social media platforms are networking tools, driving customers to your website for more information.
Building websites is easier than you think
Be careful when using an agency or designer to create your website. It can be an expensive and lengthy process, depending on what you’re having created, so make sure you vet and trust your designer.
But creating a website yourself has never been easier.
I’m personally a fan of WordPress but other options I’ve heard good things about include Wix and SquareSpace.
With regards to WordPress, all you need to do is choose your host, buy the package which usually comes with a free domain and email facility, which is important, download WordPress and get to building.
With a range of free and paid for themes and plugins, along with the choice of using CSS and HTML, WordPress is versatile and great for beginners and experts alike.
WordPress is quite intuitive, but there are many people out there who will help you build it. Virtual Assistants are among these lovely, helpful people.
So please don’t rely on social media for your online presence. A simple website can help bring you new business, make you look more professional and help potential customers find out more about you than Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn could offer.