Many smaller companies do not have any official website of their own. Instead, they operate using Facebook page.
A Facebook presence is very useful to send a quick update to customers/potential customers of your company’s events, sales and activities. Furthermore, it makes it very easy to share offer and product banners with many people. If a post you wrote went viral, it can potentially expose your brand name to a thousand/million of customers without you having to spend a dime.
However, you cannot operate on a Facebook account alone.
Why a business must have its own website instead of just a Facebook page
Web presence- it is very very important
As many people perform searches using Google as well as Facebook. Simple information like your business address, contact number, email, operating hours, products offered must be displayed prominently.
There have been many times that a person searching about a particular company arrived at my blog instead of the company’s website. Why is that so? Because the company don’t have a website.
Just because I wrote a blog post to share my experience of going to the store, many visitors thought my blog was the official site and started to send inquiries for quotations, franchise, partnership, ordering goods, etc. At one point, I had to disable comments on my blog because I had a very busy full time job…I was so mentally exhausted each day from work that I do not have the energy to reply or search around to redirect them.
And you know what, even after I disabled the comment on the blog, some of the potential customers went to my main site yinteing.com and searched for a page where they could leave comments or search for a page where I display my email. They then send inquiries to me.
As a business owner, you are leaving a lot of serious potential money on the table if you do not set up your own official website. Imagine if I am from the competitor company….I would definitely take up the the leads and convert your customers into my customers.
2. It tells potential customers that you a real deal
No doubt, anyone can start a website nowadays including fly by night scammers. However, a Facebook page is even much easier to start and it is free.
And usually scammers do not maintain a site for long duration (like months or years) and put up great content because their sites would often be shut down by the authorities (based on complaint from being scammed) or Google would not send visitors to them (Google is extremely good at detecting scam websites). No reputable hosting company would host a site that it knows belonged to scammers (many hosts would terminate such accounts if they receive and verified the reports).
If you have a company website that is hosted for a sometime, it makes your business much credible to a potential customer who have never dealt with you before. Usually, serious buyers would even look up more information such as how long you have set up the website and where it is hosted.
In my case, I do not have knowledge in programming skills. But I love to write and share sincerely from my heart. Because some of my blogs have been around for a few years, when I recommend businesses to my readers, they would contact and do business with them. Even though the readers do not know me in person.
Sometimes, the visitors drop me a note to thank me personally but most of the time I heard it from the business owners themselves (and I am not paid for it, that is why I could write without bias).
When you set up even a simple site and put good content/testimonials, you could be able to gain trust from potential customers.
3. Even though you operate from your room or garage, you can still impress potential business owners by your website.
A Facebook page is standard page looks the same for everyone. There are limited customizing options for a Facebook page. So Facebook pages look pretty much the same from the public listed company to a small one man show operating from the free wifi at a coffee shop.
However it is very different than a website. You can answer emails/phone calls/take orders for your site wearing your pajamas or torn clothing, operating from a dingy apartment and…..no one will know because your website looks professional.
People who don’t know your business would judge by the outward appearance. And you only have one shot in impressing a potential business owner.
4. Facebook – older posts, information gets buried in the archives
The nature of Facebook is that it is a social sharing site. Most of the articles and posts that are being shared are those recent articles. For older articles, it would get buried deep the archives that everyone, including you would forget.
Imagine you wrote this useful article to help your customers and would indirectly increase the use of your product and brand trustworthiness.
What happens when the post is few days old? It gets buried your own Facebook page’s archives.
It also gets buried in the archives of Facebook users who have shared your content.
Sometimes when I perform searches for a certain topic, it will point me to a business Facebook page. But when I go to the Facebook page, I am unable to find the information because obviously the article in question has moved deep down into the archives being buried by active new posts that the company is generating. It is easy for me to give up scrolling down (because sometimes the Facebook pages also hang due to too much of images).
However, if the same article is found in your company website with clear navigation menu pointing to the article….it makes it very easy to locate. And if your article is fabulous enough it will continue to bring in organic traffic to your site.
5. The manner that information is arranged in Facebook is not suitable for a business.
In Facebook, the photos are parked in the Photo tab in which you can choose to create albums for them. However, the arrangement are quite haphazard and not systematic.
Imagine if you are a caterer who caters for Western, Malay, Chinese, Indian and fusion cuisines. You also cater for birthdays, tea and weddings. At the same time, you also sell cookies and traditional sweets.
How are you going to arrange all this information in a Facebook page so that it can be systematically accessed by a potential customer? Park them in photo albums? Then how about events that you have done- in separate albums…so overwhelming for your visitors to find!
If you have a proper website for your catering business, it would enable you to:
- clearly display your company name, address, contact number and emails
- have an easy opt in or a form that makes it easy for potential customers to submit inquiries
- create different sections/pages based on type of cuisines. Upload a couple of photos with sample of how the menu look (taken from previous catering jobs you have done)
- easily create internal linking across pages. Example, on your Birthday events page you may link an inquiry form, email opt in, testimonial and cuisines offerings
- then you also have a section that is sorted by life events (eg birthday, weddings, company functions, baby shower, etc). Tell your potential customers why they should choose to engage you. Include some real photos of such events (parked at their respective pages) with customer’s testimonials
- if you do not have a lot of testimonials at each event, then do a separate testimonial page and create a link in most pages to link back to your testimonial page.
6. It enables your company to widen its scope of customers and possibly going global by setting up payment systems in your site
It is not possible to accept credit card payments via a Facebook page (or is it?). If you wish to accept credit card payments for your company, you need to set up secured payment sites to enable you to accept payment.
This can be achieved using your own website (and by working with developers or your host to implement the pages).
With that, the sky’s the limit and you would not longer be limited to customers that are located within your geographical location. I have read about a housewife baking cakes and delivering it all over the country as well as overseas using her website.
Of course, you can also ride on sites like eBay, Amazon, Zalora and Lazada. But have you thought about what sets you aside from the other sellers? If you have your own site which carries well written content which you can prominently display your website on your seller page, you build trust with the customers.
When you are in business, it is always about your customers and not you. Because they pay your bills. So if there are ways you can make things easier, do it.
Because if you do not do it, your competitors would figure out a way to do it better. And they will take away the business from you.