Remember when the Facebook and its family of apps dealt with a huge outage, the longest in the company’s history? If you were running your small business entirely through social media you may have felt a rising panic as the downtime ticked into hours.
How will your customers find you?
How will you contact them?
How much money have you possibly lost out on?
That is exactly why your small business needs a website.
At the mercy of the platform
Social media platforms are great; they offer an amazing way to reach new people, to connect with valued customers, are free to use and you can even sell directly on them. Websites cost money, time and often require some degree of tech know-how, sounds like a no-brainer, right? Social media wins, hands down.
In reality, every social media platform has the right to change their terms of service, their requirements, or even delete your profile entirely, without reason, if they want to. You do not have a contract with them, you are not even paying for their service, you are entirely at the mercy of the platform. Equally if, as we’re seeing happen more often, that platform is down, your customers have no way to contact you and vice-versa.
What does a small business website need?
Hopefully you now understand why running your business purely through social media is risky at best but maybe you’re not sure what exactly you would do with a website. There are several options depending on your budget, business and branding.
The simplest and cheapest option is a one-page website which, as the name suggests, has one page explaining who you are and what you do, maybe links to your social media pages, preferably with an email sign-up form or link (that’s for another post), and provides contact details. There are many ways to do this for free or at very low cost if you’re on a tight budget.
Nice to have.
If you want something a little more complex you can opt for a website with multiple pages, maybe with the addition of a blog, testimonial or portfolio pages, or maybe your business would really benefit from a beautiful gallery of photos on your website. If you’re leveraging video for your business, you can embed those in your website, re-purposing Live videos you’ve done on social media.
If you offer various products or services, multiple pages allow you to give each a more detailed explanation for each without people who are looking for something specific feeling irritated at a long sales pitch for your other offerings.
There is also the e-commerce option where you sell directly through your website. There are various ways to achieve this with specific selling platforms, like Shopify, or through themes or extensions for your current website, like Woocommerce. Again, there are options depending on your budget and technical knowledge but e-commerce is more complicated than a standard website due to the need for extra levels of security, payment processing, stock management, etc.
The small business website tl;dr*
So does your small business need a website? Yes! What should you do with that website? Whatever suits your business’ needs. That is the beauty of a website; you have control of it and it can grow with your business.
If you need advice or support with figuring out how your social media and website work together, check out the Social Media for Humans membership.
*tl;dr = too long; didn’t read. The key information from the post.