In a world where social media is the main platform for conversation and communication between brands and their audience, how relevant are websites in 2019?
In the digital age, having a presence online is essential, but does that mean you need a website or are social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn enough for your brand?
Whether you’re a business owner, a life coach, a photographer or web designer, if there is one thing that you need, it’s a website. Don’t take our word for it though, let’s analyse the pros and cons of both and find out why entrepreneurs still need a website domain in 2019.
One of the greatest differences between social media pages and websites is that social media pages are far easier, and faster to set up.
It takes around an hour to set a social page up, and you can even redirect your domain name (if you have one) to your social media page – This is known as domain forwarding.
It’s safe to say that just under half the world’s population are now using social media – that’s 3.196 billion people. Which means you can capitalise on the popularity of these sites. The audience is there, it just comes down to targeting and paid advertising for you to reach them.
One of the major benefits of social media for entrepreneurs is brand awareness. The possibilities for reach are endless.
In short, an in-depth social media strategy (compelling and relevant content), combined with a paid advertising strategy has the potential to grab the attention of prospective customers and increase your brand visibility, taking you to the next level.
Although all of this sounds great, there are some disadvantages to social media (which you can make up for with a website).
Let’s look at the pros and cons:
The pros of social media:
Social media has all the benefits of word of mouth, but just on a much larger scale. Only if used correctly will it give you the opportunity to reach millions of people who may be interested in what you do.
The advantages of social media include:
- The potential for increased sales.
- The potential for higher ranking on search engines.
- Direct customer feedback.
- You can easily conduct market research about your customers – greater insight into their interests.
- Huge networking opportunities with customers and other businesses.
- Easy to build solid relationships due to back and forth interaction.
- The ability to engage with your customers directly in real-time.
- Access to international markets (the audience is already there).
- Set up is free and very easy to do.
- Zero maintenance costs.
- It’s international – access to prospective customers/consumers around the world.
- You’re able to build loyalty between your brand and audience through your updates and the way you interact with your followers.
The cons of social media:
As awesome and entirely necessary as all of that sounds, there are some disadvantages to social media too.
- You could spend hours creating content that gets little to no engagement.
- Without daily monitoring, you will miss out on opportunities – your audience expects speedy responses.
- If you don’t spend enough time engaging with your audience, you will lose their loyalty.
- Negative feedback displayed for everyone to see.
- Difficult to stand out (highly competitive).
- You have to follow their design layout – Unlike a website, you have to follow the design layout of the platform you’re using.
- A lack of control – there’s no stopping someone from mentioning/sharing your page in a negative light.
- The level of reporting is much less than with a website as you only get the information the social platform gives you.
- It’s expensive – without a social media advertising budget, it is difficult to serve your target audience.
- It’s not yours – With social media comes a lack of ownership. The platform controls the content you publish through its terms and conditions control.
In short, there are many benefits to social media that are integral to the success of your business or brand, but it should be used in addition to your website. We expand on this below:
Having your own website
Having a website allows you to have full control over your brand. This is because it is yours – you have complete ownership over it.
How it looks and what it says is entirely up to, making it the ultimate platform to reflect exactly who you are, why you do what you do, what makes you different and the value you provide.
Further to this, having a website gives you security and certainty when it comes to your brand. There are no terms and conditions you need to follow, nor do you have to worry about it shutting down. As long as you pay for it, it will always be there.
Having your own domain also means that you can produce content that is exclusive to your brand, content in the form of blogs that can only be found on your website, giving you the opportunity to rank in search engines with specific keywords that relate to your services or product.
Having your own website means building a presence on your own terms, the way you want. Let’s look at the pros:
The pros of a website:
- It’s perfect for referrals – your existing customers can refer your business to their friends with a single link, giving them access to absolutely everything about you.
- It’s easy to update – with increased usability on most domain extensions, you can now update your own website. You don’t have to hire a programmer to do it.
- It establishes a strong online brand identity – having your own domain makes you more credible, immediately building trust between your brand and audience.
- Custom email addresses – also great for credibility, with a website you set up an authentic email address for yourself, your partners and employees.
- You can email updates to your customer base directly from your website.
- It’s cost effective – considering what you will be getting in return; a website build is often a once off fee and then you’ll have a home for your brand, forever.
- Total control – by having your own website, there are much more options regarding the look, feel and features. Most domain extensions even come with various templates that you can customise to make your own.
- Superior marketing – Communication possibilities are endless, allowing you to present your brand to your audience more creatively and uniquely. You can add videos, blogs, customer reviews, and FAQs. It’s yours to create.
- Reduced operating costs – If you’re selling something, you’re able to add an online store, which could cut out huge operational costs such as renting a physical shop or having multiple employees.
- An online site can be visited 24hrs a day – so no more turning away customers.
- Fully trackable – you can track all activity on your site; where your visitors come from, how long they stayed on each of your individual pages, how many people visited your site, how they found you and how many people messaged or emailed you. This makes a website perfect for in-depth analysis and reporting.
- Link building – if your content is strong enough and you have many sites linking to you, search engines will view your site as a relevant and valuable source of information, boosting your search engine rankings.
- Increased sales – The more informative your site is, the more visitors you will get, and the higher it ranks across search engines, the more likely you are to make sales.
Remarkable isn’t it? Of course, there can be some disadvantages to having your own website, but nothing you can’t handle.
The cons of a website:
- Maintaining it– If you have a big website that is rich in content, keeping it maintained can take a lot of time and effort.
- Increased marketing efforts – No one said it would be easy! You’re going to have to work hard to gain increased traffic to your website. You’ll need an in-depth digital marketing strategy to do so.
- Designing and set up – The more complex the functionality and design of your website, the more it will cost to set up. This process could also take quite a bit of time.
Your website should be the heart of your online presence and social media should be your marketing tool. The two go hand in hand, and both are crucial to online success in the modern era.
So, to sum up our message here, in the digital age, you need a website, but you need social media too.
By having your own website, you have total control over your online presence, but you should be using social media to your advantage too. Ideally, social media should be used as a marketing platform for the purposing of driving traffic back to your website.
You can then use that traffic on your own terms, for multiple purposes depending on your brand’s objectives. This is why entrepreneurs still need a domain in 2019. Social media, on the other hand, should merely be used as a tool to reach new audiences, to interact with them on a human level and to grow your business.
If you’re looking to stand out even more, you will need a domain extension that encapsulates what you do and who you are. The chances of you achieving that with overused domain extensions like .com or .org are unlikely as most domain names are already taken.
Why not go with a domain extension like .icu? It’s the perfect domain extension for entrepreneurs as you’ll be joining a worldwide community of other like-minded people who are doing incredible things with their brands. We’re number 8 on the top 30 new domains list and you’ll also have a multitude of domain names to choose from.