I don't generally push Doodlekit too much in personal situations, however I was at a bar the other night and the Bartender asked me what I do. I told him that I work on Doodlekit, a free website builder, and asked if the bar had a website. He replied "No. We have a Facebook page and that's enough for us."
That got me wondering, is creating a Facebook page for your business really enough these days? Are websites a thing of the past? Is Facebook the new Internet? The answer is a resounding "No way".
The simplest way to answer these questions is to think about how you go about finding a business. You Google it right? (or Yahoo or Bing it). If you search for a business with no website, you see a list of other websites, Yelp, UrbanSpoon, Facebook, Google+, etc. Where do you start? Which one is going to have good information and which one will just tell you the address? On the other hand, when you see the business has their own website, chances are that result will always show at the top, and will always have the best information.
Here's a quick experiment, search for Kansas City Bars. You should see something like this…
When you click on the top results, what's similar about the results? They all have their own website. Your Facebook business page may show up when you search for "Ben's Bar and Grill", but it's not likely to show up in more general searches. And guess which bar didn't show up in this list? That's right, the one that thinks a Facebook page is enough.
There are so many other reasons to have your own small business website. According to some studies, Facebook's popularity is waning. It still has over 1 Billion users and can't be ignored, but it shows that like AOL, Digg, MySpace and others, Facebook's popularity won't last forever. Having a web presence that's independent of the rise and fall of giants like these, insures you into the future.
Does this mean you shouldn't have a Facebook page for your small business? Absolutely not. A Facebook page is a very important part of your small business marketing tool belt. You can use it to connect with your customers on a personal level, and help spread the word about your business. It's also becoming apparent that your "Social Media Status" is used by search engines like Google to rank your page, and should be a part of your search engine optimization strategy.
It's obvious that the Internet has changed the way we find the things we need, and as a small business you have to be a part of that change. Having your own business website is essential to help people know you're out there and ready for them. With website builders like Doodlekit, creating a custom website for your business, with your own URL, is just as easy as creating a Facebook page.
Don't believe me? Give it a try.