Why do I need a website? I have a Facebook!

by | Jul 8, 2018 | Business | 0 comments

I participate in a Facebook group whose purpose is for coaching members on growing their Facebook presence using best practices. It’s a great group with some great people. Everyone is learning a lot and making great strides in better utilizing a platform like Facebook for business.

One user asked this question: “What are the pros and cons of a blog over a website??”

I wrote up an answer for her and thought I’d share it here as well, with some modifications to protect the privacy of the group.

If I may offer my two cents…it’s semantics, really.

A blog (shortened from “web log”) is still a website. And almost any website can incorporate a blog as a part of it. The only difference is that using the term blog would lead people to believe there will be regular posts by the owner/author of the blog. I’ll use the terms interchangeably below.

With that said, I think the question could become:

What does it mean “to blog” and should I? Is it more or less important than maintaining my Facebook presence?

The answers might be a little different for everyone, but asking yourself the questions and thinking through your answers will help you decide which approach you take.

Keeping things in context with the terrific training the group is receiving on social media and best practices, blogging is one more way to establish who you are and what you’re about. It gives you an opportunity to create content (written, graphical, audio, video, etc.) that tells your story. It allows you to define your voice and to share your message with whoever will read, listen, or watch. That’s a lot of the same things that are already being taught in this group. However, there are several pros and cons to focusing on one at the expense of the other. In my opinion, a good strategy would include intentional use of both a personal website and a Facebook presence that includes both your personal profile and a public, or “business”, page.

Here are some pros and cons of a having a blog vs Facebook.

Personal Website Pros:

Your domain, which is where your website exists in cyberspace, is YOURS. Facebook doesn’t own it. They can’t keep you from posting any content that you feel is important, relevant, and on message. Their decisions to change their algorithms every few months won’t affect your personal website. Should they decide to charge individuals or businesses to create and maintain public pages, it would not affect how much you pay to maintain a personal website. When someone searches for something on Google, your Facebook posts will not be included in any of Google’s search results. If you have relevant content on your website and it is an appropriate response to what someone is searching for on Google, a link to that content will be shown in the Google search results.

Personal Website Cons:

Self-Hosted

Maintenance. Depending on the platform you choose, and the functions and features you need for your blog, you may have to manage software updates to keep your site running smoothly. I use self-hosted, self-managed WordPress for all the websites I build for myself and my clients. There’s a lot to know and maintain in this scenario, which is one reason people utilize my services. This may or may not make sense for everyone. It depends a lot on what you need from your website. The alternative to what I do is to build on a managed platform. But this also has pros and cons.

Managed Platforms

When you go with a platform like WordPress.com, Squarespace, Wix, or Weebly, you don’t have to worry about maintenance, but you might be limited a bit in what you can do on those platforms. They are usually limited in the amount of options for themes/designs and added functionality. On the one hand, this is good as it keeps these platforms running smoothly for everyone. On the other hand, if none of their themes or designs are doing it for you, or should you build a following and need to include any advanced options later on, you might be limited by what you can do. But, getting back to the this is not too different from Facebook having some limitations, so it’s not necessarily bad, in my opinion.

If You Build It…

Another con is that a website is not your “field of dreams.” The famous line from the movie does not carry over here. “If you build it, he {they} will come.” This is, unfortunately, what many people or businesses who put up a website think. Getting it designed, developed and published is the end, they believe. The all-important “traffic” will now commence, they just know it! But this is not the reality. Getting your blog live is only the beginning. Driving traffic to your website takes work. Working a similar strategy for your website to what is being taught in this group for Facebook presence is the most important next step:

Consistently creating and publishing valuable content that speaks to your ideal customer, or avatar, by answering their questions in a way that increases engagement with the occasional call to action.

The Network Effect or Going Viral

Driving traffic and getting regular visitors and regular engagement on your website can be challenging even for long-time bloggers. And here is where one of the pros for Facebook comes in to play. You already have established connections and relationships. The “network effect” allows for good content to be rapidly and repeatedly re-shared which is the very definition of “going viral”. Any content you create on your blog that does in fact go viral would only do so through the use of social media. This comes back around to what I said about having an intentional strategy to utilize both a personal website and Facebook.

Firehose Off

This probably seems like a lot to take in, and it may even be a bit overwhelming to think about all this. That is certainly not my intent.

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

The good news, as far as strategy goes, is that the content creation for a personal blog doesn’t have to be separate from the content you create for Facebook. This is where you work smarter, not harder. I’ve seen and heard a number of “experts” talk about repurposing content to be used many different ways. For example, a Facebook Live video can have the audio stripped out to become part of a podcast. A transcription of the video can also be created that can become a written post on your blog, with links back to the video on Facebook.

Here’s another example. You write a blog post. It has several “guidepost” headers and a couple of sentences that really capture the essence of the post. Those sentences could be “quoted” when sharing a link on Facebook or Twitter back to the post. A short 30-60 second video can be created that lists the headers and a quote or two. That video can be shared as content on Facebook or Twitter with links back to the original post on your website.

Choose Wisely

At the end of the day, everyone has to decide what’s best for them. If you have a business, you must have a website. You’re not “legit” if you don’t. If you are an individual building a personal brand, I would say it makes sense to maintain your own personal website. But, it shouldn’t be at the expense of being overwhelmed. There are a number of stories I’ve heard of companies starting with a Facebook page who were able to grow a loyal following without having a website already in place. It may be the exception, but it’s not unthinkable. It really just comes down to whether you have the time and resources to do both, AND do both WELL. It’s possible if you’re strategic and get really good at repurposing content. It’s also possible if you have someone you trust to handle the hard stuff and let you focus on creating content that connects with your audience. I might know someone.

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