How Important is a Website?

Do I need a websiteHow many times have I heard small business owners say:

I don’t need a website I have…

  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Google search
  • Google+
  • YellowPages
  • A blog
  • Word of mouth

While these are all great tools to have in your marketing tool box, nothing compares to the business work engine — your website. A good social media strategist will tell you it’s not Facebook or Twitter, Google+ or LinkedIn that will sustain your business over the long run, it’s your business website. We call this the hub and spoke of online marketing. Your website is the hub and the various marketing tools (i.e. social media sites, Google search, blog) are the spokes that extend from and back to your website.

 

Why is Your Website More Important than Facebook?

Clients often ask, “Which is more important, my Facebook page or my website?” The answer is always your website. The reason is simple, you don’t own anything on Facebook (or any other social platform). Not your name, not your content, not your fans/followers/friends/likes, not even the page you spent hours setting up and working on. A social media platform such as Facebook can change, discontinue, charge, or go out of business at any time without warning.

 

When Facebook made their big design change to Timeline about a year ago, many businesses lost money due to investments they had made to produce customized pages or apps using the old formatting. Other than grumbling, businesses couldn’t do much about the changes considering Facebook offers their tool for free and clearly identifies who owns the content in their Terms and Conditions.

 

Now contrast this with your hosted business website. You own the content, domain name, and any leads you gather from your site. One caveat here, you own everything IF you did not sign a contract with a design firm or developer that essentially gave away your rights to these very important assets. I want to point out that it is important for business owners to read their web design, development and hosting contracts carefully. Some firms still require businesses to sign away all rights to their assets. I’ve seen some pretty nasty lawsuits result from such contracts.

 

What Content Should I Have on My Website?

There are as many answers to this as there are websites, but let’s take a very basic B2B service site for an example. This type of site might include:

1. Contact Details: full company name, people to contact (if appropriate), email(s), possibly a form for contacting, phone numbers, physical address, fax (if you’re still using those things ;-)) and links to all your social activities such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.

2. About Us: Tell your audience a little about your company. This is commonly called the About Us section. Although it’s not sexy, this section is very important to establish who you are, what you do and how you serve your customers.

3. Services: What do you do? How can you help? This section could also be “Products”, “Solutions” or have other creative names to let your customer know that this is where they will find the tools they need to solve their problem.

Other sections to consider for your website would be a Blog, Downloads (PDFs) or Videos.

 

How Do I Make the Website a Hub and Social Media a Spoke?

When thinking about online marketing strategy, remember that nothing online is linear. That means unlike a traditional book or magazine, we don’t pick it up and go from page to page to get to a particular end point. We move through the online world in a non-linear fashion, jumping from link to link, page to page, search term to search term, to get the information we want or enjoy. To leverage the hub and spoke system, refer people back to your website whenever possible. For example, refer to articles, pieces of information or even images that are housed on your site rather than always uploading them directly into social media posts.

 

On the flip side, refer to your social media platforms on your website. For example, you might encourage people to visit your Facebook page to get the most up-to-date news and comments about an event or activity. Or let people know that they can find inspiring images and ideas on your Pinterest boards.

 

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is that most companies need both a website and a social media presence. They complement each other and one can be used to promote the other. While it’s true that you do not need to be everywhere on every social platform, you should have a solid website and know the social platforms and tools that will best serve your business.

 

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About Karin Khuhro

Karin Khuhro is a Digital Marketing Strategist, Speaker and Copywriter. As the owner of Strategy E-ssentials she works with other savvy marketers, digital specialists and business leaders to bring knowledge, know-how and solutions to small and medium sized businesses. Connect with Karin on Google+ or Linkedin.