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Using Social Media Instead Of a Website?

“I really regret making this website for my business”
No one, ever.

Running a small business is incredibly rewarding. It’s also indescribably exhausting. Between managing finances, hiring staff, acquiring customers, growing the business, and (if you’re lucky) sneaking in the occasional 15 minutes of sleep, small business owners clearly have their work cut out for them. But despite all the challenges, each year hundreds of thousands of new small business owners go out and stake their claim.

For many small businesses, getting their foot in the door when it comes to exposure online can be a tricky task to tackle. Developing an online presence might seem too expensive or too complex. Some of these businesses wind up relying on social media alone. After all, Facebook and Twitter don’t have any monthly fee. You can just set up an account, post about a few sales, and watch the customers roll in — right?

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The reality is, of course, very different. The issue with keeping all of your activities to social networks is that you are severely limited in your reach and, more importantly, available resources. Using those avenues exclusively means real exposure to potential clients and customers is seldom gained.

For example, Facebook doesn’t have a shopping cart feature. You can’t sell items from your store directly to your customers. Twitter limits your messages to 140 characters, so getting any message out there longer than that is problematic. And what if your potential client doesn’t use Facebook or Twitter? Are you really prepared to throw away those would-be customers? Having your own website can solve these issues, and opens up avenues for a number of other opportunities that bring attention to your product or service.

Then there’s trust. Websites provide a level of trust within the user that what you’re offering is genuine. Think of it this way: if you saw some dude on Facebook soliciting payments sent to a PayPal account in exchange for them sending clothing that were listed via uploaded images, you might consider the business to be risky. On the other hand, having a website where products are listed in a typical shopping cart style — complete with SSL protection — can look professional, clean and trustworthy. Having your own well-designed website builds trust and creditability, because it’s a real presence that took real time and real money to build.

Arguably one of the most important and easiest to implement benefits is that websites offer a deeper level of professionalism with the ability to produce your own email address using your domain name. For instance, if you ran a small catering company in New York City, would you rather send email to your customers from [email protected] or [email protected]? The former is far more attractive and is much more likely to give a client peace of mind that the service you’re offering is trustworthy.

If you’ve ever used a search engine to find something – be it a plumber, bookstore, or café in your local area, you’re likely to know just how powerful a website can be for bringing in business. Yet there are still businesses who exist solely on social media channels, without any website presence at all. And we have to wonder — how many customers are they turning down? How much revenue are they throwing away? How much opportunity have they simply given up on?

There’s no disputing that Facebook and Twitter are must-have tools these days.  Social media is an incredibly powerful tool that will yield massive returns when used properly. And when used in conjunction with your own website,  you’ve got a powerful one-two punch for finding and engaging customers, earning trust, building relationships, and ultimately, boosting your bottom line. But organizations that use social media exclusively are losing out on the opportunity to enter the way business is done in the modern era.

Setting up a website might seem daunting at first, but in reality, they’re pretty simple to get going. A domain name is only $12.99 / year — barely a buck a month — and hosting starts at just $5.49 per month. If you’re like us, you already spend more than that on coffee in a week! And no disrespect to our favorite beverage, but when was the last time coffee boosted your bottom line (coffee houses excluded, of course)?

Take a look at the hosting packages we have to offer.  If you don’t see exactly what you need, drop us a line at [email protected]!

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