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“Do I Still Need a Website?”

Many of my workshop attendees ask this question after hearing tutorials on Facebook, Twitter and blogging. Websites can seem “so 20th century.” Many social media experts will tell you that websites are dead, and Facebook is winning. Let’s check out the score and you decide which team you should root for in your industry.

The first time I got a website I was so excited! I felt like I was finally a legitimate business. I immediately told friends and family that I had arrived. My father never had a website! I had paid $1000 (pretty cheap), someone typed some code and there it was. I listed my website on my business cards, brochures and every flyer I printed.

That was 7 years ago – a lifetime in technology years.

I occasionally go to my website, but these days I direct customers to my blog, Fan Page and LinkedIn profile more often. Who will win? The old faithful website or the new kid social media?

  

  • It’s Alive! – FacebookTwitter and YouTube are dynamic entities. They change every day. Your Fans post things on your wall (if they have Liked you). You interact with customers in real time and conversations are generated online. By their nature, webpages are static. The code is typed and their it stays.  Some customers will appreciate this because they are comfortable it. What happens when prices change? A new product is released? How do your clients communicate with you in real time with technical support issues? Your website wasn’t built for that. Social media was.

Advantage: Social Media

  • It’s a Numbers Game – How many people visited your website today? Last week? 93% of Americans with internet access have a Facebook page! There are over 750 million active users on Facebook. Gang ‘nam style has exceeded 1 billion views on YouTube. People are almost spending more time on social media sites and computers than TV. Audiences are watching social media. The average Facebook user has 229 Friends andspends 55 minutes / day on the site. How much traffic is going to your website?                        Advantage: Social Media
  • Control – It is increasingly becoming more evident that our data on Facebook is owned by Facebook – not us. When I paid $1000 for my site, I knew it was mine. Everything I put on my pages is mine. I can change the layout of my pages to my satisfaction. My branding is uniquely displayed on my website. There are no ads on my website. I control every aspect of it. The price of free social media pages is not free. Pinterest and other sites give guidelines from which all users must operate. There is a trade off businesses make to use social media: control.

             Advantage: Website

2 – 1? The score is not as simple as it seems. You have the freedom to choose both platforms. The stylists and educator Thierry Baptiste uses only a Facebook page for his marketing  – an act that has taken his business worldwide. I manage my website for commerce and comfort. I use social media for a dynamic exchange with my clients.
Not everyone uses social media. Use the right solution for the right industry. Your clients will celebrate it.

Scientifically Speaking, of course.

Next Week: Website vs. Social Media