Question: I’ve got a Facebook page with lots of likes and it’s free. Why do I need my own website?
Answer: Just for clarity “your own” website is a website with a unique domain name registered to you (yourbusiness.co.uk) and content entirely created by you or on your behalf by your web designer.
You will have noticed a lot of “you” and “your” in that opening statement and that’s key to understanding this issue. If you register your own domain and set up your website, it’s yours.
By contrast if you have a page on Facebook or Google+, it’s theirs.
Now you no doubt “sort of” know this, but you aren’t bothered because the Facebook or Google + page is free. But think about this more deeply and consider some possible scenarios.
Business pages on social networks are currently free, but supposed that changed. At what point would you free-is-best model collapse? If Facebook started charging £100 per month for business pages, it would certainly collapse. £50 per month? £10 per month? For comparison, the cost of our Small Business Website package is £10 per month. At that point, why pay Facebook for a page when you can have your own website for the same price?
Let’s also think about content. Currently Facebook business pages don’t have the same advertising that personal pages do. But that could easily change if Facebook decide they would like some additional advertising revenue. Would you want your content surrounded by advertising over which you have no control?
Then there’s also the question of trends. Remember myspace.com? It was the first of the big social networks, dominant in it’s day, but largely forgotten now. Facebook, Google +, Pinterest and Instagram will all go the same way and be replaced by something bigger and better. If your online presence is facebook.com/yourbusiness and no one bothers with Facebook anymore, you’re in trouble.
This is the strategy I would recommend. Your online presence starts with your own website. This doesn’t need to cost a lot of money. Vapour Trail’s Small Business Website package starts at £249 plus £10 per month. By all means have a presence on Twitter, Facebook and any other social media that seems a good idea. But use them to drive traffic to your website and if they don’t work for you or the social media site becomes unpopular, forget about them.
By having your own website, you take control of your presence and your reputation. That’s a critical part of your marketing strategy and your reputation maintenance. It’s well worth investing in.