Think you can get away with it?
These days, a business having an online presence that spans multiple channels and social media platforms is standard practice. However, having a main web page — a central spot to act as your web presence’s “home base” — is still a good idea.
With the convenience of Facebook’s page creation tools and the built-in audience already on Facebook, you might wonder if it’d be worth creating a Facebook page to act as your primary webpage and save yourself the rigamarole of creating a dedicated website from scratch. But is it really? Here’s a look at the pros and cons:
PRO 1: It’s easy.
You need very little technical know-how to build a Facebook page. The process is dirt simple. You’ll be prompted to provide the key details about your business, and Facebook will plug that information into a sensible, organized page layout.
And if you have a personal Facebook page of your own, you’re already mostly familiar with how Facebook works with businesses. Facebook’s business experience is more or less built on top of the experience it offers its regular users, so regular Facebook users won’t get too lost.
CON 1: It could sap your credibility if it’s all you have.
The good news is that anybody can make a Facebook page. The bad news is that anybody can make a Facebook page. Yes, just about every brand you’ve ever heard of is active on Facebook, but when your entire web presence is on the social networking site, it often implies apathy, inexperience, or even incompetence with building a healthy web presence.
It’s basically standard for a brand to have multiple online touchpoints, but not all of these touchpoints are equally trustworthy in the eyes of visitors. People who first access a brand on Facebook or another social media site — as opposed to a dedicated website — will more likely need further reassurance of its credibility. Indeed, don’t be surprised if the very first thing your new visitor looks for on your Facebook page is a link to your website. In the time your customer spent figuring out whether you were legit, they could have already placed an order on your main website.
On the other hand, simply having a dedicated website — any website — goes a long way to establishing your credibility from the get-go. Plus, it really isn’t that difficult to do nowadays. There are oodles of web hosting services that offer user-friendly site-building tools. How much time are you really saving by not going with one of these services?
People who first access a brand on Facebook or another social media site — as opposed to a dedicated website — will more likely need further reassurance of its credibility.
PRO 2: It’s free!
In their reinvigorated efforts to rope more businesses into signing up, Facebook emphasizes that it is free to use — an enticing value proposition for businesses looking to save a little dough in their marketing budget. Why pay a monthly fee for dedicated website hosting when you can go with Facebook and not pay a thing?
CON 2: Kinda!
Facebook’s claim to offer a free platform omits an important detail: Facebook is free to use, yes, but finding success through Facebook is likely going to cost you. Facebook knows that their users’ newsfeeds are precious real estate, and getting a spot on one takes more than posting every so often. Facebook’s algorithims limit the exposure of content that has not been “boosted” via their paid ad campaign service or gone viral organically.
So unless you’re prepared to invest heavily into viral content creation, the only way you’re likely to get significant exposure is by ponying up to boost your post. Neither of these are bad options for getting eyes on your business — both are worth considering! Just know that there’s no such thing as a free lunch.
Facebook knows that their users’ newsfeeds are precious real estate, and getting a spot on one takes more than posting every so often.
PRO 3: It’s familiar.
When you create a Facebook page, you don’t so much create as fill in the blanks of a pre-formatted page. This makes every Facebook page clear and familiar to its billions of users, and ensures that your visitors will intuitively know where on your page to find what they want to know about you — like your hours, or where you’re located. As long as you’re clear about when you’re open and how to contact you, the key details of your business will likely find their way to your visitor.
CON 3: But it’s restrictive, too.
Every Facebook page follows the exact same layout as every other Facebook page — aside from the content you post, you have no control over the look or feel of your page. How is your brand supposed to stand out when its page looks just like everyone else’s? None of those creative restrictions exist when you have your own website — your imagination is the only restriction.
And Facebook doesn’t just restrict how your page looks, it also restricts who is able to see it; all Facebook pages can only be viewed by Facebook users. And while there are billions of Facebook users, there’s still a healthy portion of people who will not be able to view your full page until they sign up for Facebook themselves. A dedicated webpage, on the other hand, is available to anyone with an Internet connection.
Facebook offers a variety of intuitive features that make it an attractive platform on which to expand your brand’s online footprint. But trying to build a robust web presence with only a Facebook page trying to live in a house that only has a kitchen — sure, it’s an important room to have in the building, but it probably won’t get the job done on its own.
If you want to establish a single hub for your online presence, Facebook is fine, but nothing compares to a website you fully control. And while setting up your own website takes a little more investment upfront, we’re confident you’ll find it to be well worth the investment. It’s a small price to pay for creative freedom, predictable, transparent costs, and instant credibility in the eyes of your visitors.