Social media can't replace a good website
Does a business need a separate webpage if it has an active Facebook account?
The need for a webpage in the age of social media may not be immediately apparent to an entrepreneur, but there are a number of perspectives worth considering. Being active on social media is definitely important, and some may find it is sufficient for their needs. It is, however, worth keeping in mind that social media platforms are owned by businesses, and thus they will always operate on their own premises. The businesses in question may change their terms and conditions at a rapid pace, which can have unpredictable results for your business. The worst case scenario is that your page gets removed either temporarily or permanently. An other thing to consider is that trends change, and even though social media aren’t likely to disappear in the foreseeable future, it is difficult to predict what their role will be two years from now. Social media platforms also constantly change their algorithms, which will have an impact on the visibility and traffic of your page.
If the online presence of your business is limited to social media, this will limit your potential customers. The habits and platforms favoured by users vary, and not everyone is on for example Facebook. We can however assume that everyone who uses the internet will sooner or later use a search engine. For this reason it is crucial - especially for a small business - to have a well-designed and search engine optimised webpage, which will allow you to reach a wider audience. Once you have a webpage, it is easy to establish and maintain a supporting social media presence, thus providing you with a more complete online presence.
Picture your webpage as a sort of head office which you build your wider online presence around. When your webpage is in order, you can utilise many different platforms to reach as many potential customers as possible and guide them onwards to your site. This provides you with the flexibility to react to changing trends, and gives you the opportunity to cherry-pick among available social media platforms without having to rebuild your presence from scratch. As an added bonus you’ll have more control over what information about you and your business is available online.
Use your first impression to dazzle customers
It is becoming ever more common that the first contact between a customer and a business happens through a website. A well made and user friendly webpage is an important part of both customer service and customer recruitment. A poorly functioning website and inactive social media profile, on the other hand, will cause unnecessary frustration and gives an unprofessional impression, even if your actual work is first class.
To achieve a positive first impression and a good user experience, it is imperative that a potential customer can find relevant and up-to-date information quickly and easily on your site. Other important factors are a pleasant visual look and intuitive usability. First impressions have always been important, and when planning your webpage, you have an excellent opportunity to shape yours. If a customer gets a negative first impression of your business, it can be very difficult to fix, and not least because you may never find out. Therefore we suggest you put some thought into what you’d like to convey with your online presence, then look through your page and profiles with a critical eye to make sure you’re pulling it off. The first moments a user spends on your website are the most crucial ones. The average time spent on a website by a user is ten seconds, but a good first impression and relevant content can engage them for a long time.
An up-to-date, search engine optimised webpage of your own gives you a definite competitive edge. If you neglect this part of your public image, search engines may give your customers obsolete or even inaccurate information. By updating your site you make sure that the content you wish to present is what your potential customers are shown, and in doing so you give a professional and positive image of both you and your business. To summarise, a well designed and executed website comes with several significant advantages: you retain control of your online presence, it enables you to maintain good customer contact and it gives you the flexibility to react to rapid changes.
This blogpost was written by Noita Digital’s Web Designer Satu Järvi.
Blog post was translated by Arne Eriksen.