Yes. I understand the irony of this post before I write it. You are sitting here, reading text on a website, about whether or not a website is still necessary. But it’s actually an important question. In the age of Facebook pages, Twitter feeds and Pinterest (amongst others) is a website still needed? Don’t all of these different services usurp the humble website? Aren’t they substantially easier to use? Well…it depends.
Facebook Pages offer you an incredible service. They allow you to interact with your customers instantly, and in turn, allow your customers to interact with you. This is where you will be spending the majority of your social media time and resources. Much like Google+ you can post picture albums, share links, write posts and display video clips. A Facebook Page offers you everything that a modern website can in a convenient CMS (Content Management System) that pretty much everyone can use. There are even more advantages to Facebook Pages though. Your customers are already there. They don’t need to search Google for you. They just need to search Facebook. Also you won’t have to pay for domain names, website builders or spend precious time and resources on creating and maintaining your website. With Facebook Pages all you need to worry about is getting a good cover image (which you should change every few weeks) and getting good content. Plus, if you want to spend some money on Facebook ads (highly recommended) then it’s all integrated into the one system.
But that’s not going to work for every demographic. Firstly (believe it or not) not everyone is on Facebook. In fact, some people actively avoid joining the social networking site. For these people you still need a traditional website. With a website you will be able to cater to the rest of your audience. WordPress, the most popular CMS platform on the web, is incredibly customisable. No one website may look the same. You can include slideshow galleries, scrolling Twitter feeds, sounds etc etc. Websites allow you to express your business as YOU want. You’re not constrained by Facebook’s rules on images or cover photos. Business websites offer your far more flexibility in expressing who you are which often resonates with customers.
So? Are websites still relevant? Yes. Smaller cafes, businesses and brands can migrate to just having a Facebook Page for their business. This will keep them in contact with their customers and as a brand they will be able to reach their customers where they spend the majority of their time (online). Remember: a Facebook Page only has to be ‘liked’ once in order to keep that customer. There are very few instances of a customer returning to a Facebook page once it has been ‘liked’ but you will be able to keep them interested with good quality content. A website however does not have this. Customers will have to keep returning to websites again and again.
Yet websites are still important for larger brands and those who want to make a splash. Websites offer far more control over your design and business brand but also continue to have an aura of professionalism. Furthermore you will continue to cater to those who avoid Facebook and other social networking sites yet still use the Internet. Ideally larger brands and businesses should have both a website and a Facebook Page. Both serve different purposes and allow your customers to interact with you in different ways. Just because you have one doesn’t mean that you should intentionally ignore the other. If you want to reach out to as many customers as possible you have to be wherever they are.
For now though, the humble website is still necessary for some.