Facebook vs Website
It’s becoming increasingly common for small businesses to think that a website isn’t necessary and that having a Facebook page will suffice. I know I’m a web designer so might just be a little bit biased 😉 but here are some great reasons why a website to compliment your Facebook page is really the way to go.
I’m going to start with a case study of one of my own clients. They are a local business who have a private swimming pool and that offers small group swimming lessons. There are only a couple of private pools offering small group swimming lessons locally and as a mum, I know that most other mums already knew about these two pools. One of these pools approached me wanting a website. They already had a Facebook page and were getting leads from it when they posted on their page. As a small pool, this is great but they wanted to expand and also let their potential clients know a bit more about them, so they commissioned a website from me.
This is the website that I created, and it can be seen at https://www.jasonmeddswimschool.co.uk/
Literally the day after the website went live, they started getting inquiries for booking classes. I repeat, literally the day after the site went live. This is too soon for the site to start ranking in Google and the only place that the site had been shared was their Facebook group. This means that people who had been following them on Facebook and already knew about them suddenly started to get in touch about booking classes once they had a website. They could have got in touch via the Facebook page at any time up to this point, but having the website suddenly gave the business more credibility and also allowed people to see everything that the pool offers – something it’s almost impossible to do on a Facebook page.
Just to repeat, these leads had already been on the Facebook page. They may have been on it dozens of times. But it wasn’t until they had seen the website that they decided to get in touch.
The site continues to bring in lots of leads and as it starts to rank more in Google (it’s not 6 months old as yet but is already ranking on page one for most related keywords) it will also bring in leads from potential customers who don’t use Facebook and who are finding them via a Google search.
So Why is Having a Website Better than a Facebook Page?
The main thing that a website will give you compared to just a Facebook page is credibility. If you think about it, anyone can set up a Facebook page and call themselves a business. It’s free, takes little time or effort and there are no checks.
Having a website gives instant credibility. A website shows that the owner cares enough about their business to invest in a website. They are happy to spend money on their business and show the world that they exist.
Having a website makes your business visible in a way that just a Facebook page can’t. You have a number of pages telling your potential customer about your different services or products. You can write blog posts, your customers can sign up for newsletters, you can have a bar at the top of your site with promotions. And because it’s on your website these can all be done in a way that makes it easy for your customer to find what they want. How many times have you read something on a Facebook page and then wanted to go back and find it again (maybe a promotion) and you find yourself trawling through dozens of posts, still can’t find and so just give up. That’s potentially a lost sale for that business.
This is one area where a Facebook page alone cannot compare to having a website. There is only so much information you can put on your Facebook page without it just becoming a wall of text that no one wants to read. Facebook was never designed for providing lots of easy to find information. It’s a social media platform that started to offer business pages, so the layout and design of Facebook is never going to be able to compete with the structured layout of a website. The two are like chalk and cheese.
Imagine that you are offering a service or product and that your potential customers want to know more about you or your product. On a website they know exactly where to go. If a service is being offered, then the About page is usually visited. Because it’s your own website this can be laid out in an attractive way that draws the customer in. It’s your information about you. It can be laid out however you want, with no limitations on layout or design (or a Facebook logo in the corner). A Facebook business page just cannot do this. If you are selling a product, all the product information can be laid out in a way that makes it easy for the customer to find what they need to know. Again there really is no comparison to a Facebook page.
Facebook does make it really easy for people to contact you, which is great. And depending on your business this might be your preferred method of communication. However DM’s will not suit the majority of businesses. Going back to the swimming school, if someone DMs an inquiry then they have to message back with more questions such as name and age of the child and swimming ability, all of which takes time. With a contact form on a website, these questions can be asked without the toing and froing that Facebook messaging requires.
Having your own website also allows you to have a professional email address such as email@example.com. This not only looks more professional but also means that you have one place to keep all your communications from customers and can create folders so you know exactly where to find correspondence in future. This just isn’t possible with Facebook. Messages get lost in a sea of other messages and it can become a very time consuming task to find the message you were looking for.
No matter how many images or logos you add to your business Facebook page there is no getting away from the Facebook logo on your business page and the Facebook blue branding colour. Your website allows you to have your own branding and identity. This should never be underestimated.
By far the biggest risk of only having a Facebook page is that if one day Facebook decides that for some obscure reason your page breaks their guidelines then your page will be removed. All your followers will be gone and you will have no access to any of the information you had on your page. This cannot happen with a website. With a website, you own the content. It is 100% yours (unless you use a builder like Wix for example when in effect you are renting your website from them, but that’s another post!). Your content is safe and you can add/write whatever you want (hopefully nice things but the point is it’s entirely up to you 🙂) with the security of knowing that it will be there in the morning when you wake up.
Competition and the Facebook Rabbit Hole
With your business on Facebook, you are not only competing with every other business on Facebook but you are also competing for attention from friends, cat videos (who doesn’t love a good cat video?!), holiday pics, ads, and a million (well not quite but it can sometimes seem like it on Facebook) other things all shouting look at me, look at me and enticing you away from the page you went to look at originally. Your business page has to compete with all that. By contrast, once someone is on your website you have their undivided attention. Nothing is going to pop up shouting “look I’m more interesting”. It’s just you and your business with your message. Ahh, a breath of fresh air.
Get Found in Google
Facebook business pages rank in Google which is great. However the rankings tend to be limited. If you don’t have a Facebook account you may not be able to see the page. And of course once your potential customers have clicked through to Facebook they may end up going down that Facebook rabbit hole instead of getting in touch with you, which was their primary reason for clicking. Once you click on a Facebook link from Google stats show that it’s very easy to forget why or how you ended up there in the first place.
Compare this to someone finding you in Google and instead of going through to Facebook, they are taken directly to your website. No distractions. Just your website showing you and your company off to its full potential.
Another benefit of your own website when it comes to Google is that you can also outrank Facebook and appear in Google searches above Facebook pages. I have a client whose business is a sunbed rental for at home in Coventry so the below results are for “sunbed rental Coventry” and “sunbed hire Coventry” My client, Oasis sunbed hire, ranks above the Facebook pages on both searches. Not only that but it looks more inviting to click on in the searches than the Facebook results. A well optimised for search engines website will outrank a Facebook page (depending on the niche and competition).
Having a website gives you more than one way to market to your potential clients. A Facebook page is an all or nothing approach to marketing. Having a website as well as a Facebook page fills in the marketing gap and allows you to set up promotions, reach your customers via a newsletter sign up on your website and provide gives you the opportunity to keep your customers up to date with a blog, which is also a great way to reach new clients and customers.
Best of Both Worlds
So it’s pretty obvious what I think about not putting all of your eggs in one basket by just having a Facebook page. There are so many reasons to have a website. However, I also advocate having a Facebook page as well if you want one. The two working in tandem (plus any other social media) is by far the best way to go. I will add a caveat to that though. If, like me, you really don’t like social media then don’t feel pressurised into having a Facebook business page. Unless you are happy to update it regularly and it’s not going to feel like a chore then I recommend not having a Facebook page. If your page doesn’t have regular updates and looks abandoned, then it can do more harm than good for your business. I’m a fairly lone voice in saying this because most articles you read will tell you that social media is a must if you are going to run a business. Neither I nor many of clients have a Facebook page and 14 years later I am still going strong 🙂 I’m a firm believer in doing things that I love in my business and social media is just not one of those things. I am open to my mind being changed in the future 😉 and I do 100% agree that in the right hands social media can be a huge benefit to a business.
To summarise the pros and cons of both having a Facebook page for your business and having a website.
Website Pros/Facebook page cons
- Credibility – a Facebook page can never provide the same credibility that a website will
- Visibility – on Facebook your business is just one amongst millions.
- Content – a website will provide an easy way for your customers to navigate and find the content they are looking for. If people can’t find what they are looking for on your Facebook page they might go elsewhere
- Communication – this goes hand in hand with content. A website allows you to communicate your message as a company and brand much more effectively than a Facebook page
- Branding – no more Facebook logo in the corner of the site. Your branding, your colours, your message
- Certainty – one of the most important if not the most important. Someone else can’t decide that your content infringes some hidden Facebook T & C. Your website can’t suddenly be deleted overnight
- SEO – done right your website can appear in Google and other search engines above Facebook pages
Facebook can 100% compliment your website. It’s great for:
- Events and news – add new events and news to your Facebook page. Ideally, you will also add them to your website for more info, so include a link to the relevant page of our website too
- Interaction – Facebook is a great way to be able to chat informally to people
- Reviews – I’d recommend getting reviews on Google My Business as your first port of call. This is because there are more likely to help you rank in Google. However Facebook is also a good place to get reviews. Just make sure that you screenshot them just in case Facebook do that whole page deleting thing!
- Easy to set up – just follow the steps
- Social proof – likes and shares are a great way to spread the word about your business
Like so many things in life running a business is all about balance. Having both a well built, optimised for search engines website and a well run and managed business Facebook page is a winning combination that in the long run will generate the most leads for your business. Here’s to balance 🍷
Full-service marketing firm Creative Marketing (NW) Ltd has successfully acquired Blackpool websites design agency – Websites by Diane. Websites by Diane has been supporting local Blackpool businesses and many other websites around the UK, including a couple in the US & Ghana to host and support their website. The founder Diane has been building WordPress websites…
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