Why have a website when Facebook is free?

When trying to establish an online presence for your small business, you have to make some tough decisions to get the best advertising return for your dollar. Many people wonder if investing in their own website is wise when they can use Facebook’s popularity to their advantage for free. Let’s look at some pros and cons.

Facebook has around 1 billion users, which is quite an appetizing market size. If you could reach just 1% of those people, that would be effective marketing for most small businesses, and given that Facebook is free, it is an extremely appealing and cost-efficient marketing tool. There are a few things to take into account, however.

First off, you want to control your brand. Any page you have on Facebook is subject to the look of Facebook, which changes often and outside of your control. Sure you can upload your own graphic content, but it will always have to fit into their parameters.

With your own website, you have complete control over the user experience for your brand. Websites can vary wildly in their appearance and functionality, so you have many more options for how your company is seen online.

While Facebook does reach an extremely large audience, what shows up in any one person’s news feed is entirely up to their algorithms, which they also change often and without your input. Those changes can definitely impact your impact on Facebook users.

For example, Facebook recently announced that it is changing what shows up in people’s newsfeeds to favor more personal interaction with their friends and less promotional material (that means your business’ page). If Facebook determines that you are becoming too “salesy” in your posts, they can bump you down in priority in newsfeeds, and there isn’t anything you can do about it.

You can “boost” your page so that it shows ore prominently in peoples’ newsfeeds, but you have to pay for it, which eliminates the whole free advertising advantage of Facebook.

If you have your own website, you can directly control your SEO in many ways that are impossible on Facebook. Considering that there are over 40,000 Google searches every second of every day, or roughly 3.5 billion searches a day, it would be crippling to your business’ growth potential to ignore the power of SEO.

Especially if you hire a competent web design firm to handle your website, you have direct access to finely tailor exactly how easy it is for potential customers to find your site when searching for the goods or services that you offer.

The key point here is control. When dealing with Facebook, you are subject to their rules and limitations. Plus, there is always the risk of something going wrong and suddenly your Facebook page is gone, and everything that you put into it is lost.

So, should you have a Facebook page for your business? Absolutely, but it should be part of a comprehensive online marketing plan that also includes your own website.

Hiring a web design firm to build and maintain your site, and your Facebook page, is the smartest route, because you are investing in someone whose business it is to make the best site possible for you. They have the staff, the know how, and the motivation to give you the best version of the website you want, with direct control over the look, the features, and the experience of that site.

Partner with the right company, and you will see your online marketing investment return many times what you put into it, for mutual benefit. Then you can rest easy knowing that your company’s valuable web presence is in the right hands, and you can grow your business exactly the way that you want to.

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