Are small business websites still relevant in 2021?
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about a variety of changes in our personal and professional lives. Many of us have stopped commuting to work; instead, we work from home by remote access and telecommunications technologies—which brings about certain cybersecurity concerns as I (June 2021) recently wrote about. Some of us—a lot of us, in fact—steered into the curve as a strategy or even out of necessity and opted to start our own businesses from home. Writing for The Wall Street Journal, Gwynn Guilford and Charity Scott (2020) report that there were 3.2 million applications for employer identification numbers by September 2020, which is 500,000 more than the United States Census Bureau reported during the same time in the previous year, yet some folks are undecided as to whether small business websites are still relevant in 2021.
Many of these new startups are leveraging social media platforms as the digital hub for their businesses. They’re utilizing Facebook Pages, Instagram, Twitter, etc., as the primary (or even sole) means of communicating, marketing, and conducting their business.
Although social media pages have a variety of benefits, small businesses are mistaken to not include a branded website in their plan for online presence.
Now don’t get me wrong—there are a variety of benefits with a service like Facebook Pages. Small business owners have access to millions of users and potential clients on Facebook, and Facebook makes it easy and cheap for you to spread the word. Facebook Pages have their limitations, however. Here are a few things I believe small businesses gain by hiring a small firm or freelancer to help establish a website where Facebook Pages, Instagram, Twitter, etc., all work together to create a unique online experience for your audience.
I understand Ethos in terms of character, credibility, and trustworthiness. Imagine looking for a service on Google. Say you find three search results that, by way of titles and short descriptions, look promising. Two of the results point to websites. One points to a Facebook page. Where are you going to look first? Which results seem more credible and trustworthy to you?
With social media platforms, you have no input on the overall design or feel of the end-user experience; but your website is your website—it’s the best place to establish your brand online.
Hiring a local firm or freelancer gives you access to real people who have made a commitment to helping your business grow.
Advertisers (and your competitors) are hungry to engage the same social media users you’re targeting (1.4 billion per month on Facebook alone). This is a staggering volume of white noise coming at multi-tasking users whereas, on your website, potential customers can focus solely on what you have to offer.
Facebook Pages updates layouts and designs on their schedule and on their terms. A local firm or freelancer will work with you to keep important web technologies updated without disrupting the look and feel of your website.