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I don’t need a website, I have social media

Hand holding phone with Instagram like button above.

I’ve heard this before and maybe you’ve heard it too.

It might seem like a website is not a must for your business especially when social media seems to be the go-to these days for promoting yourself and the services or products you sell.

As an entrepreneur or small business, you do however need a professional web presence. This means a corner of the internet that you can call home. Yes, social media, for the most part, is free but let’s not forget that social media can change or even disappear over time. Remember Hi5 and MySpace? Where are they now? You run the risk of investing all your effort into one channel for it to be possibly pulled from under you – easily. Imagine losing all your content and images forever and not being able to get it back. People have spent years building a following on their Facebook and Instagram business pages only to have their reach start to radically decline with algorithm changes. Think about when Instagram decided to switch things up on us and hid the Likes count feature. When you set up shop in someone else’s space you are completely at the mercy of their rules and the decisions that they make to drive their business forward and this may not always work in your favour. With a website you are in control and will always have access to your content and images.

Your website should be the central hub of all your online marketing efforts. It’s where all the important things should happen. Facebook and Instagram will help you to increase your exposure and promote your products and services but it’s just a path pointing back to your website. Or at least it should be if it’s not.

Portfolios get browsed by potential clients and employers, leads turn into sales, information gets consumed, products get purchased and contact forms get submitted all on your website. It’s essentially the livelihood of your online presence. You can’t do all that with just social media.

My advice is that you definitely need a corner of the internet you can call your own. A web address. An online home. While you’re at it, it’s absolutely critical that your website creates a memorable impression with your visitors and easily guides them toward the action you want them to take.

For example, you can build a following by starting a blog on your website and pointing your social media posts to those articles. For this to work, your blog should serve as the main hub. The hub sends customers to your social media profiles to build the connection and vice versa. You control the narrative and can influence public perception by creating your own story through a website. Again, social media can put limits on this.

In addition to displaying your products and outlining services you can also provide video tutorials, have downloadable PDF’s and provide free goodies to give visitors multiple different reasons to come back.

While for new businesses it might not be absolutely necessary to have a website up and running right away it is a good idea to secure your spot on the internet with the purchase of a domain name and at the very least a landing page. As your business grows it becomes more important for you to have a web presence so clients and customers can visit you virtually anywhere and at any time.

Your customers expect it and your competitors have websites. If you want to stay in the race with your competition you need to keep up. Social media is great but it’s not enough on its own. Build trust, reach new customers and establish your brand with a website. It’s one of the most important things that you can do for your business.

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