These days, people regularly come across your Facebook Page or Instagram profile, and with more brands building their content on those platforms, and with the platforms themselves offering better tools to help visitors connect with brands, websites are may appear less essential.
So do you need a business website in the modern online marketplace?
Here are some key considerations to keep in mind.
1. Your website belongs to you
This is the key argument against building you brand on another platform – if you build your business on rented land, you’re beholden to the rules of the landlord. And in most cases online, that landlord is Facebook.
Here’s an example of this in practice:
Back in 2014, Facebook announced a major algorithm update to focus on “high quality” content – essentially, the aim was to reduce the reach of clickbait. One of the sites most notorious for clickbait content is Upworthy – they publish a heap of those “You won’t believe what happened next…” type headlines.
Before Facebook’s algorithm change, Upworthy was seeing 90 million page views per month. After? 48 million. Now, that may seem fair enough to some, no one really likes clickbait, but Upworthy were working within the rules and they’d found a way to generate a heap of traffic through such posts. And if you want to put a monetary value on that drop – it is possible for a site to generate $8,000 in ad revenue per month from around 100,000 monthly visitors. Using that calculation as a basis, Upworthy likely took a huge financial hit as a result of Facebook’s algorithm shift.
While Upworthy didn’t necessarily build on Facebook’s land, they developed a reliance on the platform’s referral traffic.
Build a reliance on a third party platform, and you’re governed by their rules. Build an audience on your own site and you stay in control.
2. Analytics Data
While all the major social networks offer their own form of analytics data and tools, the stats and numbers they provide are also controlled by those platforms, and they don’t necessarily show you everything.
On your own site, you have access to your data and you’re able to track what you want to see. That’s not say that the numbers the platforms provide are unreliable, but with your own website you have more capacity to track user behaviour, how people move from one page to another, where they drop off in the purchase process. You can even implement heat maps to see where people are paying the most attention – there’s more scope to be able to track more actions on your own page.
3. Design Functionality
On third party sites, you’re beholden to their design standards and presentation features. That’s fine for some (and can even be beneficial for those without a mobile optimized site), but it can also restrict how you want to present your brand and business.
Via your own website, you’re in control of how it looks and what people see when they visit. This can enable you to build a more immersive, all-encompassing brand experience, outside of the boxes of a social network.
While for some the idea of not having a website is a consideration, it’s worth looking at the benefits your website provides your businesses and assessing what’s most important.