If Facebook, Instagram, or Etsy shut down tomorrow, how would that affect your business? would you lose all your photos? what about all those great reviews? your current contact information?Maybe you haven’t thought of it this way, but you don’t own Facebook – which means you can’t control it.

This is why it’s so important to maintain a business website, even if it seems like a big investment and too much work. You can’t afford NOT to have a website for your customers to visit.

Every business needs a website because….

Your customers are looking for you online

We all google everything we’re looking for: “millennials” aren’t the only ones. By having your own website with good content, your ideal customers will search for what you offer and find you. And when they do find your online storefront, make sure it matches your physical storefront (FYI – my website has a few more flowers than my physical desk does… I should probably work on that)

Use stock images where necessary, but get better at taking your own product photos (or hire someone who can take them). Put galleries in easy-to-access locations, so your customers view a good sample of your work. Keep it updated your current location, hours, and (most importantly) contact information. Include FAQs and Questionnaires to get to know your clients…. See why this is better than social media?

You should own your content

Like I said at the beginning of the post – if all of your content lives on social media, you’ll lose everything if those things go down. You might think that could never happen… but remember Vine, Periscope, or MySpace? All of those websites are pretty much obsolete now along with all the content that lived on them (what happened to all those quizzes I took on MySpace??).

One thing I’m working on is getting reviews and testimonials off of Facebook and onto websites. I think this is the next step to make my clients’ websites freestanding. While not every customer will take the time to post on a website (Facebook/ Google is super convenient), it would be a great option to send during a follow-up email. I’ll write a post on this once I find the best way to handle it 🙂

You must control your branding

Your website should be a reflection of YOUR BUSINESS. While you have some control over your facebook page, it changes so often. I had beautiful tabs to visit my website and other feeds, but they’ve disappeared; the feed for the page sorts posts by type, and it’s not pretty; I received an email that they’re changing all of the non-profit pages to make them easier to promote (that’s a good thing!); not to mention your posts don’t even reach all of the people who “like” the page.

And Instagram! One minute you think you’ve got a strategy down and working, and the next minute a new forced update disables that entire strategy. However, Instagram is pretty, and InstaStories provides a great opportunity to bring your customers behind the scenes without throwing off your pretty feed.

Having a self-hosted website is the only way to truly control your branding. Of course, I’m pretty biased towards WordPress (endless customization options), but just make sure you own your content.

It’s expected

This is reality: everyone expects your business to have a website. Social media is useful and really great, but you need a central location for your work and information.

Maybe you think it’s unfortunate that everyone lives online, but time for some real talk – you should probably get used to it. Your 15-year-old neighbor probably has his own website… and you should, too.

If you’re not sure where to start… send me an email, and we can set up a free consultation to talk about your website and content.

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