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Controlling Your Online Presence: Why Your Business Needs a Website

Before I begin, let me answer the question I know some of you already have. No, having a Facebook page for your business is not the same thing as having a website. This is the mistake some of our members make when deciding on a digital marketing strategy. They assume a Facebook page will work just the same as a website and, even better, Facebook is free! I’m here to tell you, it’s not the same. While some might argue that they can’t afford to pay for a website, my response to that is you can’t afford to NOT have a business website in 2018.

And yes, you may recognize me from previous blog posts highlighting the importance of social media, especially Facebook. So you know that I’m by no means against Facebook business pages. However, I think it should be one of many instruments in your digital toolbox.

I worked with our web design team and reviewed customer feedback on Facebook from some of our stores’ pages to develop a case study comparing websites versus Facebook business pages. I chose to focus specifically on the idea of ad uploads since that is an important advertising tactic for our members. To read the full case study, click HERE.

Here’s a quick summary of what I cover in the case study:

Why are websites important?

The few stores I work with that don’t have websites regularly receive private messages to their Facebook page asking what is their website. Customers have come to expect that anything can be found on the web — and that includes a website for your business.

You have control over what your business website looks like and how it’s formatted. You don’t have this same option on Facebook. You are limited by what social media platforms offer in terms of style, layout, and functionality.

Websites: Your store’s digital hub

Another reason websites are so important is because you should be treating them as your digital hub for your business information. Then you can share that information via social media channels, email marketing, etc. Constantly encouraging your customers to look for information (like your weekly sales ad/circular) on your website helps them develop a routine for going to your digital hub for information…rather than hoping they will see it on Facebook.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO is key to growing your business. When customers search for you, a focus on SEO will help your business show up higher on the list in web searches. Much like the layout/design/functionality described above, you have more flexibility to increase your SEO with a website versus a Facebook page.

Website Ads: Customer Experience

This is what led me to ultimately research and write this case study. I work with three stores that only post their weekly ad pages on Facebook because they don’t have a website. They regularly receive feedback that the ad page images are difficult to see and read on the Facebook platform. The layout of these ads isn’t ideal for sharing on Facebook. Plus Facebook doesn’t offer the capability to zoom in on images, even high resolution images like our members’ weekly ad pages. But you know what does allow that? You guessed it: a website.

And to those AWG members who still think your business can’t afford a website, talk to our web team about the various website offerings we have, including affordable options for smaller stores with limited budgets.

Why do I work at AWG? “I like working for a company that supports local, often times family-owned, businesses in everything they do in order to help them succeed and stay competitive. It’s great to interact with the stores on a daily basis and learn about their story and the communities they serve.” -Melanie

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