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A lot of people ask if they really need a website for their businesses, especially since their social media pages are doing well. My answer to the question above is simple: wait until Facebook or Instagram blocks your business page for contravening their terms of use. Yes, you need a website for your business even if you have social media pages and already seem to be doing well without one.

Consider this scenario. You are a make-up artist with over 5,000 followers on Instagram. Your make-up business is thriving and seems to be entirely dependent on social media, and your follower count is growing in leaps and bounds. You wake up one morning to check your messages only to discover that your business page is down.

Instagram and its algorithm has determined that your page is ‘growing too fast’ and that the means you are using to grow your Instagram page is not permitted by their terms of use. The outcome? You have lost your page (and consequently your business). You are left to rue the fact that everything about your business has been built around this social media platform. Then you curse Instagram, and set out to build another business page from scratch.

Here’s another scenario: You are an organic skincare brand, you started your small business on Facebook, and have grown your following to over 50,000 fans in 3 years. In fact, much of your sales now comes from your Facebook page. Life couldn’t be any rosier.

You get called by a customer one morning to deliver the product she paid for. You argue that you didn’t receive any payments and that you didn’t have any deliveries scheduled for today. She makes reference to her last chat with ‘you’. You then proceed to find out whom this customer made payments to.

You discover that your Facebook profile has been hijacked by a scammer, and that he has been communicating with your customers and receiving money from them (on your behalf) with promises to ship their products after payment. You don’t have a way to communicate with your customers to at least alert them that your page has been hijacked. Your business and reputation suffers. You may end up recovering your page, but the damage has already been done.

These two scenarios seem fictional and far-fetched but, in truth, they have happened to two people very close to me, and all in 2021.

In trying to answer the question on whether or not one should have a website, I’m forced to ask another question: why shouldn’t you have a business website, even though you’re already doing well with social media pages?

I mean, the benefits of having a website for your business far outweigh the risks (if there’s even any risk at all). For one, your business will look more credible to anyone searching online.

If you are searching for a very good web designer, for instance, and someone says to you, “Contact Mr. Diri, he does very good web design jobs, here’s his website” and you also got referred to another web designer, say Mr. Danladi (no disrespect to all the Danladis out there) who doesn’t have a website – you were only given a phone number or a Facebook page for Mr. Danladi. In all honesty, who, among the two, would you think is more serious with his web design business? Yeah, right!

Oftentimes, we hear about social media pages being hacked, but rarely do we hear the same about websites. Anybody can register/clone your social media page. Folks, it’s already happening! All they need to do is change a letter, or add a number to the name you’re already using. Download all the pictures on your real page, and start systematically posting them on the clone page.

Legitimate businesses are now having to be on the lookout for scammers trying to clone their page. They’re constantly putting their customers on the alert and telling them not to do business with the scammers.

A piece of advice – and take this from me – even if you’re not ready to build a business website yet (and I still don’t see any reason why), just register your domain name first. For instance, if your business is ADC Car Dealers Limited, buy the domain name www.adccardealers.com. The point is to take your business name off the domain name marketplace. That way, no one else can register and/or use it. You can also hire the services of a professional if you need help with registering your business name on the World Wide Web (that is, registering your domain name). When you do that, you’re protecting your brand.

Another reason you should consider building a business website is because it gives your business a competitive advantage. If you’re a hair extensions merchant who has a social media page, and a business website, you can choose to start writing posts on your website about everything hair related. For instance, hair maintenance, how to spot fake hairs, and so on.

A lady who wants to buy hair extensions from a vendor on Facebook first googles the topic ‘how to spot fake hair extensions’, and your article on that topic pops-up. She ends up visiting your website, reads your very informative post, then finds out that you even sell the hair extensions. She might end up buying from you because by your article, she’ll already be inclined to trust that you will not sell the fake stuff to her – not after writing about avoiding the fake.

Remember, she wanted to buy from that other lady on Facebook, but didn’t know if she could trust her. Same reason she went ‘google-ing’ the topic.

The Facebook hair vendor lost this customer to you because you had a business website. You had the advantage over her; your website gave you that advantage. This is what is called competitive advantage.

Every good business person understands what competitive advantage is. It’s that one thing your business is doing that your competitors aren’t. Or the thing your business is doing better than the competition.

If you have your own website, it is your own, and you can do with it as you please; Facebook or Instagram does not have control over it. You can boot scammers away anytime and every time. You can also start using email marketing on your website to grow an audience and market to them directly through email. Many businesses have grown a very loyal client base that way.

Suffice to say, the benefits of having a website for your business – no matter how small your business is – far outweighs whatever risks there are. And truth be told, the only limitation some people see might be the initial cost of building one. But I promise you, it’s just like every other thing you do in business.

Owning a business website is like renting a shop on the internet. After building it, the only other expenses that accompany your website might be the hosting fee (like shop rent) that you pay yearly. The hosting fee is even way cheaper than your shop rent (depending on who your web host is).

So the whole argument now boils down to how important you think a website is for your business. Before I leave you, I sincerely want to ask you a very simple question, “Do you now think your business needs a website in 2022?”

Until you hear from me again, if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to drop it in the comment section below and I’ll do my best to answer them.

To your success!

 

Photo by Artem Podrez from Pexels

#Bellanaija #Mattsozo

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