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Websites Are Dead!

Facebook business pages are so popular that most people think they don’t need a website anymore. The ease of use and “free cost” of having your business up and running in virtually no time, is viewed by many as alternatives to websites. I have seen business cards with Facebook page listed as website URL, i have also seen clients with existing websites that direct traffic to their social media profiles, especially Facebook. I have even heard people claiming that WEBSITES ARE DEAD!

But are they really dead? Lets examine this:

 

  • What’s the difference between meeting clients at a local coffee-shop & your office?
    • Your office is a controlled environment
    • Branding it as you please
    • Organising it as you wish
    • You control working hours
    • Private – with no competition in sight

Your office is your space, which you own and customise to be a reflection of who you are; just like your website.

Do i still need a website? Even when my product/services are not sold online? even with a Facebook business page free?

 

Absolutely, Definitely, YES!

Don’t be so quick to dismiss your product as one that can’t be sold online. Nowadays, there’s very little that can’t be sold over the internet. If you believe that your product/service cannot by any means possible be sold online, then you should at the very least have presence on the web so that customers, potential employees, business partners and perhaps even investors can quickly and easily find out more about your business and the products or services you have to offer.

No matter how great your Facebook page is, you don’t own it and have limited customisation capabilities. A website will always be beneficial,  information and credibility are key to attracting and retaining clients. Lets look at why having a website in addition to social media presence is a must:

 

Branding

From a branding stand point, Facebook is a template and limited to profile picture, cover photo (which has its own rules), apps, and Milestones (which are purely event-based).

A website is “your online front door.” It’s a great place to show your brand’s true color, and have much more control over what impression you give first-time clients.

Owning a website also illustrates credibility & professionalism. True, Facebook is free – but do you really want to be known as the a home-based business (when you are not) or who too cheap to build a site?

 

Ownership

Yes, Facebook is free, but you can never own it. In the unlikely event Facebook suddenly decides to cancel business pages, its goodbye, Facebook page!

This is a far fetched possibility, but it shows that you have no control over what they do.

Just remember when they redesigned the timeline of business pages, or the welcome tab we spent so much time & effort on; thousands of business had to redesign their pages – again no control / ownership. Building your own website, will ensure complete control over how it look & feel, functionality, along with everything else inside it.

 

Features are limited

Lets look at the About section on a Facebook page, it is nicely organised yet restrictive. What if you would like to set up different information pages for services, pricing, different operating hours for different store…etc – you can’t, a separate app has to be built, and in most cases will not be entirely free. Another feature which is quite annoying is when it comes to sharing business information (About), you still have to share the entire page…

 

Target Audience

Not everyone in your target audience is necessarily on Facebook! Egypt has around 20MM Facebook accounts, and according to MCIT there are 42.5MM internet users (as of April 2014). That’s more than 50% of your target not available on Facebook. Even if they were, they’d still need to Like your page. Even if they did Like your page, it doesn’t necessarily mean they will see your updates, since organic reach of Facebook pages has decreased substantially in recent months.

 

Search & SEO

Potential clients/customers probably don’t know your business name before they find you. They will most likely do a Google search on your business type (e.g., TVs for sale Cairo) and then click through first page results. Google and other search engines do index Facebook pages, yet a website provides more customisations to tailor your SEO settings making your business easier to find.

 

Competition

Unlike your website, your Facebook page might have competition on it. If you are following a competitive page (and you should), most likely their news update will end up on your page’s newsfeed – you are both targeting the same niche. If they have a good offer, your customer (currently on your page) will  leave it to check out that offer.

 

 

There is no question about importance of social media, specifically Facebook. We have to be on it as well as many other social media sites (if and when relevant to our audience), yet Facebook (or social media alone) can never give you the full control (customisation) a website provides, from design to look & feel, to customisation and features.

If you’re going to invest time into building an online presence, i strongly recommend you do it right from the start. It has been reported that 83% of customers leave their homes with a pre-determined purchase design. Why? Because they search online first, and the first search is usually on google not Facebook. So if you want to be found, you need a website that is professionally designed, to stand any chance of being taken seriously.

 

Contrary to the title of the article, your website is very much alive and a priceless investment… What other media provides 24/7 – 365 access to your brand?

 

 

Mohamed ElEzaby