Do I still need a website for my business these days?
So I got asked this question during a recent call with a prospective client, and it struck me that this was a really valid and interesting point.
In this great age of social media, what relevance does a website have? Can you, or rather should you, pick one over the other? It was something I wasn't sure I had the most complete answer to and something I felt I needed to explore a little further.
If you want to learn more, keep reading.
So here are some incredible statistics about internet use that I found and I want to share:
According to HootSuite, of the approximate 7.6 billion people on the planet, 4.3billion of them are regular internet users. That's more than half.
And when you look even more closely at the UK, which has 66m people, 63m of them are internet users. That's 95% of UK citizens using the Internet on a regular basis.
(I mean, I think that answers the overall question, 'Why should I use digital marketing for my business?', but anyway...)
Interestingly, this number drops lower to 67% of people going online for social media use. So that might be our first sway towards website over social media.
But let's go a little further into what a website has to offer vs using a social media platform such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube or LinkedIn, to market your business online.
So I would say there are three main reasons for developing a website, and they are:
CREATING A HUB
(OR AN INFORMATION DESTINATION)
A great way to help people to get to know what you and your business is about is information.
Where Instagram favours graphics and photos, and YouTube videos, and so on, a website can showcase everything, all in one place.
So you can show images, write blogs, post videos, have a map showing where to find you, even sell directly from your own e-commerce page.
Instead of creating content that is focussed and limited to the social media restrictions of each platform, you are free to show everyone everything, exactly how and when you want to.
Another reason why you should have a website is because it is controlled by you.
These days, you cannot rely on social media platforms to be working for your best interest. Of course, there are ways to improve this and get them to help work better for you, but let's be specific.
Lots of small businesses found this out more recently when Facebook changed its algorithm, which meant a lot of the people that would usually see their posts in their newsfeeds didn't.
At the moment, the trend seems to be leaning towards paid for advertising, and these days, why wouldn't those big companies cash in on the space you're using to advertise your business? But for many, this has turned out to be a pretty costly and time-consuming change.
There's also no way to know whether or not other platforms might change in the future or even close altogether – Google +, backed by Google itself, closed earlier in April this year.
So your website is and will remain free to access to customers so long as you own it. And you can send people directly to your website by giving them your domain name. Meaning that you control the traffic and how people get to know you and contact you, not the algorithms of social media.
Imagine someone is thinking of hiring someone for a particular service. Where do they go? Usually Google. In fact, according to Blue Corona, 97% of consumers use the internet when researching local services.
And where do they go next? 67% of all clicks go to the first 5 results shown for a Google request, according to Databox.
Curiously, the majority of people are scrolling past the Google Ads section at the top and going straight for those first 5 web results. So you really want to get on that first page of Google. But that's a whole other issue, which I'll go into another time.
According to Hootsuite's We Are Social report this year, 86% of internet users searched online for a product or service to buy, with 91% visiting an online store and 81% purchasing online.
So ensuring you have a visible and accessible online presence for your business is vital, regardless of whether you offer a service or physical product.
A good informative website is a rich end product to all that searching. So I tend to think of social media as the signposts, but your website as the destination.
And so taking all of that into consideration - creating a central hub, keeping control, and signposting people to the best information destination - I think, is the answer to the question, 'Do I still need a website for my business these days?'
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