My husband and I went on a trip recently to Cape Cod. The weather was great and we went on an amazing whale watching tour, where we spotted so many whales (16) that it pretty much spoiled us for any other whale watching tour in the future.
But, as always, some of our best experiences came from restaurants. (Don’t judge.)
A few years ago, we realized that Yelp was the best way to eat well in a new city. To us, there’s no point in eating in chain restaurants in Boston, New York, or even Virginia, because Orlando is lousy with them. We get the best recommendations from Yelp and ate at some incredible places on the Cape (I still dream about the turkey burger at Local 186 and the chicken pie from Centerville Pie Company).
But there are some places—great places, I’m sure—that we missed out on (or almost missed out on) because they were lacking something crucial. Something separate from an awesome Yelp review or outstanding rosemary aioli.
They didn’t have a website.
“But I have a Facebook account!”
True, some of these places had Facebook pages, or a great Yelp rating. But that’s not always enough. For people who don’t eat shellfish (like my husband and me), finding seafood restaurants in Cape Cod that offer tilapia or salmon or actual cod on the menu was hard enough.
Take away the restaurant’s website (and menu) and you had a recipe for disaster. (Or at least a recipe for the competition’s roast beef sandwich.)
Because, popular as it is, social media can only take you so far. Hard to believe, but some people still don’t have a Facebook account. (I have to look up Facebook business pages all the time for my mother-in-law, because neither her nor my father-in-law have a Facebook account.) Some people even delete or temporarily leave their social media accounts for personal reasons.
By using a social media site instead of a business website, you’ve just alienated nearly 30% of the U.S. population. (By the way, only 15% of Americans aren’t on the Internet at all, and most of those people would like to be. Which means that more people are looking to the Internet in general—or at least thinking about it—than going to Facebook.)
“Do I really need a website, though?”
Lemme ask you this. Why don’t you have a website? The answer might be that you’re not “web savvy” and don’t want to take the time to learn a new technology. Or you can’t afford it. Or Facebook is just simpler for you.
But what happened the last 4 times Facebook changed their page layout and you had to deal with that new update (and you still weren’t “web savvy”)? What happened when no one could find your menu or your prices or your event calendar on your Facebook page (because you opted for the “simple” page)? What happened to all those customers who didn’t trust you (and didn’t give you a dime) because you wouldn’t spend a cent on a website?
“What’s a website got that Facebook hasn’t got?”
The thing about websites (and we wish more people would understand this!) is that they are more than a virtual information board listing your hours of operation. Websites can do more for you than a social media account ever could.
- SEO – Other than its own social media site (Google+), Google search algorithms don’t crawl social media posts for inclusion in their search results. Which means that all of your work on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram stay on their respective sites.
- Content Marketing – As search engine algorithms (Google included) shift more toward valuable content, websites give you the unique opportunity to capitalize on your expert status and gain a wider readership, but you can’t start a blog on Facebook or Twitter. You can say a lot with 140 characters, but you can’t say everything you want.
- Analytics – Sure, Facebook gives you Insights, but they only count clicks, shares, and comments on your posts. Pinterest only notifies you of shares and likes. But with a website, you can use Google Analytics to give you number of visitors, how long they stayed, what pages they visited, where they came from, and more. Giving you so much more information you can use to build a better site (and business).
- Control – With a website, you’re in the driver’s seat. You want to change the colors, layout, theme? No problem. You want the background to be one large picture? Go for it! The sky’s the limit. But with social media sites, you’re locked into the framework they create, limited by someone else’s creativity (or lack thereof). It’s like kindergarten all over again. And sometimes, you don’t feel like coloring in the lines.
Stop relying on sites like Facebook, Yelp, and Instagram to do your heavy lifting for you. If you have the time and money to operate your own business, you can spend a little more on a website. Hey, even your neighbor who sells her own handmade dog collars has a website. What’s your excuse?
Clarity Creative Group is a web design & internet marketing company located in beautiful Orlando, Florida. We loved Cape Cod, but would never move there because the drivers are terrible! Seriously. One guy rear-ended us, THEN DROVE AWAY.