With everyone browsing, communicating, and even shopping on social media platforms these days, it begs the question: how relevant are business websites in 2021 now in comparison to these growing giants? It’s certainly a query worth addressing since a follow-up question that gets asked a lot is, “Why not put all of my marketing efforts into my social media instead of a website?”
The answer, surprisingly, is websites are more relevant now than ever before. That may be hard to believe given the power and new apps that are being introduced frequently to household names we’ve come to be familiar with, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Reddit, and so on. However, when it comes to weighing out the benefits of each platform and visual representation of your business, you still need to have a website, and for good reason.
The Biggest Reason: Control
Whatever you may think about websites (maybe you’re tired of maintaining one), and no matter what social media platform example we use, this is the one absolute downside for business owners we want you to know about:
You don’t own your social media profiles or their platforms.
What you’re using is more like a rental for space, the way you rent a physical office and pay for both rent and labour costs. In addition to paying up for using premium features such as advertising, there’s no telling what new charges will be placed on you the next day. These platforms could become places where businesses have to “pay to play”, i.e. you have to pay for features that were previously free before, and then eventually those prices will go up to an unaffordable level for your budget. This may not be the case now, but the reality is that business owners have zero control over this kind of a decision. Plus, it’s a bad idea to completely put your brand and online presence on social media because by doing so, you let the platforms take charge of your content via their terms and conditions content control.
If the idea of letting a platform control how you run your business online sounds like a horrible idea, that’s where having a website truly has its benefits because unlike the social media platforms, you own your website. It’s yours to design, customize, and decide what goes onto it and what doesn’t—provided the site is built from scratch and not a premade template (you can read further on this subject in our previous blog post “The Downsides of Using Website Builders for Businesses“, if you’re wondering why site builders aren’t the greatest).
In the event that the social media platform decides to shut down for whatever reason but you own a website in the meantime, yes it means losing a space for marketing, but the important thing is that you aren’t put out of business yourself. By owning a website, you’re still in business on your own terms, without being at the mercy of another company’s algorithms.
Updating Your Website is Easier
Going back to the control briefly, there are formats and elements in social media that can ruin a beautiful design you spent hours working on before posting it. Some infographics look great, but then when posted on your page, it ends up automatically shrinking to an unreadable size, making your content effort fruitless. Post the same content on a website, however, and you get a readable, usable, and re-usable page that people will share online. That’s because it’s easier to customize and publish content on a website and then share it on social media than it would be to do vice versa.
Other updates that social media will enable are, again, out of your control as a business owner. Think about how often you see Facebook introducing the latest formatting changes to the way you use their platform. Doesn’t it drive you bonkers when suddenly you can’t find where to access certain features that were there before, clear as day?
Updating your website, in comparison, is a much, much easier task to handle, even if you don’t have time for it. Some updates are simple such as adding a new blog post or other piece of content (and it won’t reformat automatically to the unreadable kind either!). Other updates that require a little more technical touch can be handled by the agency you hired to build your site such as V3. In some cases, a completely new site built from the ground up may be the only way to fix the giant list of updates that keeps growing (see our blog post on the reasons behind this statement, “How to Tell It’s Time to Get a New Business Website“).
Whatever updates for your site are required, it’s way easier to do it for that than it would be to update your social media, no matter how easy it seems to tweet or post a new link.
SEO isn’t Actually Affected
Yes, social media platforms are excellent for brand exposure, and when managed properly they do have their benefits in regards to your overall rank. However, and according to Google itself, social media does not directly affect your SEO ranking. What social media does affect is add potential to links that people constantly click on or share, and links are what Google tends to rank highly. Though the social signals from social media links can indirectly affect your website’s SEO, when it comes to the social media profile itself, it’s way more difficult to rank highly on Google because of it—it’s less likely to make a direct impact on Google and is best used SEO-wise as an indirect means to increase traffic and sales.
It matters to make this distinction because in the grand scheme of things, it’s better to see a website—something your business has put a lot of investment towards—rank higher than the social media links. A business website that ranks higher than the business’s social media pages means that Google recognizes that business as legitimate, and in turn tell people online who are browsing the same thing. Trying to tell customers that your business is legit but only having a social media profile to back it up doesn’t actually make you seem that trustworthy…not to mention that competition-wise, getting attention on social media becomes twice as difficult.
Why We Suggest to Use Both
At the end of the day (and this may surprise you), we do still recommend you use both a website and social media for your business. Why? Because you need to think of the two this way: the website is your primary online presence, and social media is your marketing tool.
Social media is a lousy option if you 100% rely on it to run a business. However, if handled properly and used for the sake of promotion and marketing, social media can work to your business’s benefit by increasing traffic and brand awareness and then directing that to your website where customers can get more information. That being said, putting all your time and money into your website is your best means of increasing your brand’s presence online, communicating with your customers, and keeping the trust between your business and its loyal customer base solid.
To sum up, your business’s website is your best online tool—don’t let it go to waste!
Need help getting a new website for your company? Want to take your brand online and to the next level? Give our team at V3 a call. We can prove to you that a website of your very own is always the best choice you can make—after all, we’ve been doing that for over 30 years.