If you are one of the 80 million small businesses that have a Facebook page, you may question whether it is worth creating your own WordPress site. After all, Facebook is the third most visited website in the world with over 2 billion active users and doesn’t require any technical knowledge whatsoever to use. Why would someone bother with the expense and effort to create a standalone website? There are many reasons to do so, and relying on Facebook alone is a losing proposition.
You are not limited to Facebook’s branding
While Facebook allows very basic visual modifications like adding a company logo and banner, you are essentially stuck with Facebook’s visual layout and styling. This severely limits how you can present your business to the world. With a typical WordPress site with off-the-shelf templates you have an enormous array of choices in fonts, layouts, colors, and other visual aspects to choose from. A custom designed site gives you truly unlimited possibilities, allowing you to have a site that truly and accurately represents your brand. Finally, Facebook can and does change their look and feel without warning to users, leaving you even more powerless about how to present yourself.
Using Facebook exclusively limits your potential audience
It is tempting to think your Facebook page is a great way to expand your customer base through the power of social media. This can be true to an extent, but the fact of the matter is 1/3 of adults do not use Facebook at all. Those users who want to learn about your business will be forced to view your page with constant requests to sign up with Facebook, creating an annoying experience that may turn the potential customer away. Also, a Facebook-only approach to the web subtly tells non-Facebook users that they aren’t considered import enough to care about.
A standalone website presents limitless opportunities for engagement and revenue
With Facebook you can create events and posts, but you are very limited as to what you can do with them. With just a few WordPress plugins you can create a tiered membership system, sell tiered tickets to your event (even with pricing matching membership levels), add customers to various MailChimp lists, and sell a near infinite array of products. As stated above, these advanced technical capabilities also includes the ability to design each aspect of the site exactly how you would like the rest of the world to see it.
SEO is greatly improved with a standalone site
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is crucial to directing potential customers to your business. While Facebook may be the third most visited site in the world, the top site by far is Google, and to be listed well on Google a site with solid SEO is vital. A site with carefully considered SEO will beat out a Facebook-only site on Google search results every time, especially when location is a consideration. Also, organic SEO will highlight the hours, location, and reviews of a business on the first page of Google results, something that a Facebook-only page won’t do. This is especially important for newer businesses that may not have very many Facebook followers.
Completely own your data with your own site
Last, and probably most importantly, owning your own site means owning your own data. You can build complex databases, keep track of sales figures, manage email lists, and perform a myriad of other data-centric functions on WordPress sites knowing full well that the data is for you to use. You don’t have to lose sleep knowing that your data resides on a platform you have no control over and have no direct access to. Also, you aren’t at the mercy of the whims of Facebook who could very well decide to delete your page (or, theoretically, completely shut down Facebook) leaving your business high and dry with no digital presence.
While Facebook is certainly useful for building customer relationships and alerting Facebook users to new sales, events, and promotions it is in no way a substitute for your own website. It may seem quite daunting at first to build a site from scratch, but the investment is well worth it.
Have a Facebook page but want to gain control over your web presence? Let us know how we can help you out.