Why your business website matters more than ever

It is hard to go anywhere these days without seeing enthusiastic requests to connect with brands. From local businesses to the biggest companies in the country, businesses everywhere are embracing the social media revolution to build stronger consumer relationships and tap into the power of word-of-mouth marketing. 

Outdated and Tired

However, in the race to master new social media tools, brands often leave one critical online presence behind: their websites. Marketing budgets, copywriting, graphic design, and online efforts increasingly focus on the social media explosion.

In the process, many company websites have become outdated and tired. In some cases, websites are missing altogether as small businesses increasingly opt for the simplicity and zero-dollar price tag of setting up a Facebook page in lieu of a website. 

Yet websites are still critical- maybe more now than ever. After all, social media efforts like Twitter campaigns end up driving traffic right back to your website, so why build a beautiful and savvy Facebook presence that funnels consumers to a boring, inaccurate company landing page?

  1. All social roads lead to your website.  If you are a business, every YouTube video, Tweet, Facebook update and blog post you create should have a single goal: Convince readers or viewers to take some kind of action (buy something, make a call, sign up, etc.)

    These types of direct actions, or outright sales pitches, are going to take place on your website. So you need to think of your website as the last, and most important, step in closing the sale or driving whatever type of action you are after. 

  2. Your website is permanent.  Social networks and tools come and go. Remember Friendster? MySpace gave way to Facebook and Google+ has now arrived on the scene. There will always be social media tools, but the popularity of specific tools will change over the years. Your website, however, is here to stay. 

  3. You have control over your website.  With your website, you are in complete control. You determine the navigation; you define the page structure; and you create the look and feel.

    With social media accounts and pages, you are at the mercy of the site. While Facebook, for example, does offer some customisation and tab options, your creativity, branding, and user experience will always be limited in some way by the social network.

    On top of this, Facebook or other sites can always choose to change the look of their site or their policies -- and your opinion will not be considered. 

  4. Only your website can convey detailed information.  Websites remain critical interaction points where interested visitors can learn all the details of your products or services.

    When it comes to information, the same level of complexity and breadth of information simply cannot be matched on Facebook tabs or a YouTube profile. If customers are looking for product specifications, need to learn more about a doctor's specialties, or want to see a restaurant's full menu, they will go to the website. 

  5. Your website pulls everything together.  In the days of multi-channel digital marketing, it is all too easy to end up sending mixed messages. The website can serve as a central reference point that sets the tone and content of the brand message for all other channels to follow. 

Of course, I am not suggesting any business should ignore their social presence and social marketing campaigns - but we need to realise that the company website is uniquely valuable and integral to social media efforts.

Facebook and Twitter can be powerful satellites of your company's website, but they should never replace it. 

By Nellie Akalp of AllBusiness.com

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