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Q: It is 2020. I have an Instagram/Facebook/Twitter/GMB, does my business really need a website?

A: Having a grand social presence anywhere is a great thing, but you absolutely need a website for your business. 

Many businesses have achieved success solely on platforms like YouTube or Instagram. You can post videos or pictures of your products, advertise, stimulate interest, and run a full business off of these sites. If you really want longevity and growth, however, you simply need more. Here are a few important reasons why.

  1. Full autonomy. You want full control of your message. Most mediums allow only a short message or confine you to their specific format. On top of that, social platforms can remove your page or content at any time or for any reason. You are fully at their mercy. A website gives you full control of your content, your branding, and your message. Social posts are also predominantly “first in first out”. If you are a bakery you can’t organize your Instagram by cake theme, or cookie type, or vegan recipes in a way that is easy for potential customers to browse.

  2. Stability. Your business isn’t going away, but public opinion shifts rapidly. We all remember myspace, the most popular platform on earth in 2005 - virtually non-existent by 2010. Vine? That went from 200 million users to zero in a few short years. Google+? Ha! It’s laughable. Could burgeoning apps like TikTok supplant Instagram? It’s impossible to say what the landscape of social media will be two years from now. Your website, however, will persist through all of these market shifts.

  3. Credibility. Social media may be convenient, but the default way for prospective clients to learn more about your business is still your website. Sure, there is a lot to be said for the knowledge gained from a comments section, or the trusted opinion of your favorite influencer, - reviews can be found anywhere people care to look, but when it is time to make the buying decision your website is that window they can trust. Having a website establishes legitimacy, customers who cannot find one may get the impression you are a fly-by-night operation.

  4. Optimization. Social media sites provide a great boost for search rankings. If you have a Facebook or Yelp page, you likely show up for search terms in your area already, however, you can’t optimize these profiles like you can optimize your website. Granted, Search Engine Optimization is hard, but search engines are smart. Your website will be recognized as the authority on information for your business. Looking up your business by name will almost always result in you being the top result. Landing pages, keyword targets, link authority will all be within your control. Does your HVAC company install and service the latest and greatest Carrier brand unit? You can make an entire section of your website dedicated to that. Any traffic earned there is yours. Yelp isn’t recommending other businesses that pay them on your website, they just see what you have to say about your business.

  5. Synergy. You can use your website to harness all the possibilities of the internet. You have the control, you’re already guaranteed to outlast most social sites, now make your website the string that ties it all together. So, Instagram is working fantastic for your business today? Fabulous! Use that energy to strengthen your website. Link to it in your bio.  sites that allow you to link your website content, do it! Your entire online marketing strategy can boost your business’s footprint everywhere.

Social media is a very powerful ally, but remember, on social media nothing is yours. Your website is your property, Facebook is not. Make your website your business’s virtual home.

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