How to Get Online

Website or Social Networks?

Explore the pros and cons of getting your business online – via social media or launch a website - to determine which one is right for you.

Businesses that actively engage customers online can expect to grow 40% faster than they would without an online presence. Once you’ve registered your company’s domain name, there are a few ways you can use this domain name to build your business’s online presence. Two popular options are to build and launch a business website or redirect, or forward your domain name to a social media business page that acts as your ”website.” Both are proven to be successful in building online presence – you just need to determine which option makes the most sense with your business’s overall online strategy.

Let's explore the pros and cons of each option to determine which one is right for you:

Social Media

If you’re looking for an option that’s quick to implement and comes with immediate benefits, one simple technique is to redirect your domain name to your social media page (also referred to as domain forwarding). By doing this, you have a business-branded Web address that offers credibility and ease when promoting your online presence – much better than saying “follow me on Facebook.”

With over a billion people using Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, LinkedIn and other social platforms, your business can instantly take advantage of the built-in base of potential customers and capitalize on its popularity.

Pros:

  • Quick and free – company profiles are simple to set up and most platforms don’t charge a fee.
  • Low-commitment – if your chosen social media platform no longer suits your needs, you can easily delete your page or switch to a new provider at any time.

Globally, the number of businesses that redirect their traffic to their respective Facebook site increase 25% year-over-year.

  • Engagement – access to more than a billion potential consumers, which allows you to easily communicate and helps build relationships.
  • Branding – customers will learn more about the business’s values, mission and purpose, which will nurture loyalty and build the company’s brand.

Cons:

  • Constrained creativity – social sites offer limited design layouts.
  • Open forum – these sites give consumers an open forum to voice their feedback and complaints, which necessitates more monitoring of the site.
  • Limited reporting/tools - the level of reporting and features available are often less than with a website, and are limited to only what is offered by the social site.
  • Lack of control/ownership – the social media provider’s terms and conditions control what content and promotions can be presented. Also consider what happens if the provider shuts the site down and if this is your only online presence.

Ideally, your business should have a website that works in conjunction with your social media presence. Starting with a social media page allows business owners who are undecided about launching a website the ability to have an online presence until they are ready to build a website.

Website

If you want full control over your brand creating a company website is a better option for you. Not only does this option offer the most flexibility and control of how to market your business, but it also enables more credibility and online consumers prefer it.

Remember, a website can be as simple as a one-page flyer for your business, or as sophisticated as a multimedia marketing and sales hub.

Pros:

  • Cost effective - there are a variety of options available, ranging from free to expensive. Free websites, depending on your budget and business needs, may be a good starting place.
  • Credibility – consumers are looking for your website, whether you have one or not. In a recent survey of millions, 56% said that they would not trust a business without a website.
  • Full control/ownership – there are myriad options as to how to use and present your website. Even if you decide against a custom build and use a website-builder tool with templates, today’s tools offer many customization features so you can easily personalize your website.
  • Greater branding and promotional flexibility – you can increase your ability to communicate with and sell to your customers. A website not only has more space to market your business; but more ways to market as well, such as videos, customers reviews, blogs, special promotional offers, etc.
  • Reduction in overhead costs – most consumers prefer to get a business’s information online and that could reduce your administrative and operational expenses.
  • Around the clock availability - a company can promote their business and market products and services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, anywhere in the world.

Cons:

  • Maintenance - depending on the size of the site, keeping content up-to-date will require some time and effort.
  • Increased complexity - sites with more sophisticated designs and functionality will most likely require more investment in time and money.
  • More marketing effort – a marketing strategy needs to be developed and implemented to drive traffic to your site.

Download our checklist that will help guide you through building a website.