With more than 2.5 billion active users, Facebook is the most popular social network. It is not a surprise that many businesses maintain a Facebook page where they can connect with their customers or present their goods or services. Having such a page can surely give your business more credibility. Good reviews on Facebook can also help you to build trust in your potential customers. Can you use a Facebook page instead of a website and ditch the latter, though?
Some people will answer positively to the above question as they believe having a website is a thing of the past. In reality, however, running a website has quite a lot of advantages over maintaining a Facebook page for your business. As one cannot replace the other one completely, and this goes both ways, the best option will be to use both and to make use of the advantages that both channels offer.
Below, you will find some of the advantages of creating a Facebook page and 11 reasons why you still need to have a website.
- What are the advantages of a Facebook page?
- Why having a website is still necessary?
- 1. Anybody can visit your site, while Facebook often requires an account
- 2. You can have a branded email address with your own domain name
- 3. You decide what content visitors will see, and where it will be
- 4. Older content will probably remain hidden from your clients
- 5. The layout of your website will not change if you don’t want it to
- 6. You can have a unique website, not a Facebook template like everybody else
- 7. You can optimize your site for search engines
- 8. You can use web analytics software
- 9. Your competitors cannot advertise on your website
- 10. It is a long-term investment that does not depend on popularity
- 11. Security
- In conclusion
What are the advantages of a Facebook page?
Let’s start with a short overview why people create a Facebook page for their businesses.
The most important one is that the social network allows you to reach a huge audience as it is very popular among people of all ages and backgrounds. The platform allows you to create sponsored posts targeted at specific demographic groups based on age, location, interests, etc. This allows you to focus on a specific group when you present your content. Unfortunately, reaching your audience isn't so free lately. If you don't sponsor your posts, they are unlikely to gain any traction and only a handful of people will view them. So in effect, if you depend on Facebook, you will need to make regular payments to boost your posts.
Another reason is that Facebook allows you to engage your potential and existing clients with ease. You can do this by posting content on different topics and asking people to comment by creating a poll where they can vote, by running some type of competition, etc. This way, you can build a community and remind your clients about your brand name every few days. Building a community with the Facebook Groups feature is one of the latest marketing strategies that work well and are almost free. However, building such a community without having an established brand before that isn't easy. Furthermore, the posts in this community never leave Facebook, which in turn hurts you, as you don't benefit at all from the content your users have created. Creating your own community forum which can be accessed with a Facebook account is the way we recommend. This way, search engines and anyone without a Facebook account can access it.
Last, but not least, a lot of small startups create a Facebook page because it is free and simple to do it. If you want to start your web presence, you just have to add some text and images to your newly created page. You won’t need any investment or experience to do that.
Why having a website is still necessary?
1. Anybody can visit your site, while Facebook often requires an account
Facebook often requires visitors to log in with an existing account to be able to view some content. Even if people are able to see your posts and images, they cannot leave a comment or contact you if they do not log in. While many people use the social network, it is inconvenient to ask anybody without an account to sign up or log in just to be able to see an image or ask a simple question.
If you have a website, anybody will be able to access it from any location without any restrictions, unless you decide to limit the access. All they will need will be a device that is connected to the Internet. This will allow you to reach a much larger number of people. Ask yourself how many times you have signed up or logged in to see content on some website instead of leaving it and going to the next one where you could see the content right away without any additional actions.
2. You can have a branded email address with your own domain name
When it comes to communication, emails are still the preferred method to exchange information. Most web hosting plans on the market come with an email service, so if you have a website, you can also create branded email addresses and manage both services in one place. This way, you can communicate with your clients or business partners using an address @your-name.com. A branded email address looks far more professional than using a free email service for business communication.
Of course, if you have a Facebook page, you can still buy a domain name and use it with a third-party email service. You will have to deal with at least two different companies to manage your web presence and emails, though. In addition, you cannot add a custom domain name to your Facebook page, so you will always have the URL the social network gives you. It is very likely that anybody who communicates with you via email, will try to open the domain from your branded email address to see what shows up. If you don’t have a real website, you may lose a potential customer who would like to find out more about your offers.
3. You decide what content visitors will see, and where it will be
While this may seem something quite obvious when you have a website, it is not the case if you have a Facebook page. With a website, you can choose what content visitors will see on the home page and on inner pages. You can add any type of content you would like and the only restrictions come from the server and the web design software you use. You can create a separate page or a whole section that is dedicated to a specific product/service you offer. If the site supports registrations, you can even display customized content for each user.
In comparison, a Facebook page allows you to add posts that contain plain text, images or videos with some description, or you can create polls. You cannot add any other type of content, though, especially dynamic content. There is no way to distribute that content the way you want it to be either.
4. Older content will probably remain hidden from your clients
Facebook posts in the users’ News feed and on business pages appear in chronological order. As a result, you will have to repost regularly any old content that you would like your clients to see. If you own a cake shop, for example, you can post a photo of the most beautiful cake you can bake. In a few months, however, the photo will appear under all the new content you have posted meanwhile. Most people don’t know how to search within pages on the social network and will not scroll down too much, so they will simply not see that photo and you will lose potential customers.
You will have the option to pin a post on top of your Facebook page, but any text longer than a few lines will be trimmed. Pinned posts and images look like standard ones, though, not as featured content. They will still appear one below the other.
If you have a website, you can choose timeless content that you can position wherever you like. You can create a landing page or add featured products directly on the site home page. The content will stay there for as long as you want, and will not be affected by any new content you add. This way, you will not lose potential customers as you can promote your best products and services without worrying that they will be hidden somewhere down the page.
5. The layout of your website will not change if you don’t want it to
You are in charge of what happens on your website. You can add or remove content and choose if you will use a template or a custom-made framework. You decide what content to update and when to do that. Even if the content stays the same, it will be up to you if or when the layout will change. A website is an extension of your business and should contain everything you see fit – nothing more, nothing less.
In contrast, Facebook can add or remove features and change the way pages look at their own discretion. This has happened in the past and we have seen a number of examples – they added a timeline, forced page owners to use a large cover photo with no calls to action, and removed the company overview section. If anybody had a page at that time and did not want any of these changes on it – well, it was not up to them.
6. You can have a unique website, not a Facebook template like everybody else
Not only can Facebook redesign your page whenever they decide to, but you will also have the exact same page as thousands of other businesses. Of course, the cover photo and the information will be different, but all pages share the exact same layout. This will make it harder to stand out among all others as people rarely pay attention to the cover photo and some businesses may have a similar name. You risk people that are trying to find you to visit competitors' pages without even noticing.
Unlike a Facebook page, a website can have a unique design that will differentiate it from all other sites on the web. Even if you use a template for some content management system like WordPress, you can customize it significantly and build a website that does not resemble any other site on the web. It can copy the style of your brand logo, business cards, etc., and this will not be possible with a Facebook page. With millions of websites and businesses out there, being unique is quite important.
7. You can optimize your site for search engines
A Facebook page is great if you want to keep existing clients involved, but it will not help you if you want to get new customers that look for a particular product/service. People usually look things up online, so if they need anything, it is far more likely they will use a search engine to find it, not Facebook. If you do the right search engine optimization, your site will appear in search results based on certain keywords. Using the right content will pay off in the long term and will make your site popular. Since search engines will pick up any updates on your site, you can present new products/services on it, and improve its ranking at the same time.
Facebook does not have a search engine function and allows you only to look up personal/company names, but nothing more than that. People will find your business page using the Facebook search box only if some keyword is a part of your brand/company name. You cannot do any actual search engine optimization for a Facebook page since it is a closed-source template and you cannot access the page code. While some people claim that you can optimize the content on your page, search engines simply do not index such content, so your efforts will be in vain.
8. You can use web analytics software
This is one of the biggest advantages of having a website over using a Facebook page. The social network allows you to target ads at very specific categories of people, but you cannot track what happens on your page – where visitors come from, what posts they read, what images they look at, etc. Such information is quite important as it can give you an idea what content needs to be updated, what product is popular or what content people look at the most on your website.
It is quite easy to track what happens on your site if you use some analytics tool like Google Analytics or Matomo. You can see where visitors come from, how much time they spend on a particular page, how involved they are. You can identify the most popular parts of each page on your site or even view session recordings to see the way visitors browse your website. Tracking customers’ behavior can give you precious information that will allow you to optimize your site for better user experience and for higher conversion rates.
9. Your competitors cannot advertise on your website
This is something few people think about, but if you run a Facebook page, your competitors can target their ads at your audience based on the users’ profile and browsing history. After all, Facebook is not a charity organization, and it makes most of its profit from targeted ads and sponsored posts. Even if such ads do not appear directly on your page, your visitors will see them while they browse their News Feed. While you can attempt to do the same thing and try to lure customers from your competitors, it is a very risky game.
If you have a website, you decide what ads to place on it, if any, unless you decide to use some ad network that rotates random keyword-based ads. Your visitors will see only the goods and services you want (or any other content you have created), without seeing some banner that offers them “a better/cheaper alternative”. This is important, especially if your goods/services are of good quality, but are not cheap.
10. It is a long-term investment that does not depend on popularity
As popular as Facebook is today, we have seen social networks gradually losing their popularity in the past. It seems unlikely this will happen with Facebook anytime soon, but the emergence of other networking and messaging services in the last years certainly poses a challenge for the social network. There is also no guarantee that some change in Facebook’s algorithms will not affect the popularity or the exposure of your page in some way.
Maintaining a website involves an investment as well, there is no doubt about it. Updating the content, paying for a domain name and a hosting service, using up-to-date software, etc., will cost you some time and money. Your web presence will be permanent, though, and will not depend on popularity trends. You will not have to rebuild your site from scratch if your provider is suddenly not that popular, and this is exactly what you will need to do in case something happens to Facebook or to their business page service.
Online security is crucial these days. The term is no longer used only about preventing unauthorized third parties from accessing your account. Both Facebook and many web hosting providers offer 2-factor authentication, so if you want to keep your account secure, you have the tools to do so. Nowadays, security is also about what happens if your account gets compromised, nonetheless.
If your Facebook account gets hacked, your content can be deleted by the unauthorized party or it can be replaced with defamatory posts. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for something like that to happen. It is quite difficult to restore deleted content on Facebook, and if you have had the page for a long time, it will be nearly impossible to do so. The social network is not a hosting provider, so it restores content by request very rarely, and does not provide any tools to its users to do that by themselves. You will most likely have to recreate as much content as you can manually.
If you have a website, you should make sure that it is updated often and that you use long and complex passwords. Should something happen, though, it will be much easier to restore the content. You can keep a backup of the site locally, or you can restore a backup generated by your hosting company.
ICDSoft, for example, generates a full backup of all hosting accounts on a daily basis unconditionally. No matter how many files you have or what type of content you store on the account, you will have full daily backups for the past 7 days. With the optional Extended Backups upgrade, we will create additional backups and keep them for a whole year, while our Advanced Security service includes unlimited site cleanups, blacklist removal and daily malware scans.
There is no doubt that maintaining a Facebook page is quite important for any business. Posting new content frequently will keep your customers engaged and will help you to build a strong community. You can easily reach a huge audience from all over the world and show the social and “human” side of your business. People often look up companies on Facebook to check their reviews and to see if they are trustworthy.
You still need a website, though. You will not depend on a third party in terms of the type of content you can add or the layout you can use for the site. You can optimize the site for better search engine rankings. You can also track the popularity of each page and even each section on a particular page. This way, you can easily find out which parts of the site may need to be improved.
A website with a unique web address, unique layout/content and branded email addresses looks far more professional if you want to promote your web presence. You can combine it with using a Facebook page so as to keep up with social media trends and to reach out to your customers. A social network page is far from replacing a site, though, so if you would like to be successful on the web, you should definitely continue using a website as well.