On the need for a website, part 2

About 5 years ago, there was a fair amount of discussion about if a business needed a website at all anymore, or if social media could completely fill that role. At the time, I definitely thought you still needed a website, even if it was mostly just showing your social media feeds in a central place.

Today, however, it’s less clear.

I think it depends a lot on what kind of business you’re operating and what other online services you’re using.

If you have a domain name already and have email setup – so that your email address is yourname@yourbusinessname.com – I think you still need a website. People will get the email and will go to yourbusinessname.com, so that needs to go somewhere. You could redirect your domain to point to your Facebook page or similar, but I still think it’s better (more professional, more flexible) to point it to a website which showcases your business.

Beyond that, if you don’t have a domain name already, it probably depends on the type of business you have.

If you’re a B2B company, selling to other businesses, you need a website (and email at that domain!). B2B companies have more professional, traditional expectations, and a boring corporate website is what’s expected in most cases. You need that typical About, Products, Services, Contact page setup that other businesses expect.

If you’re a B2C company, selling things to consumers, you might not need a website. A coffee shop, for example. It’s much more important that they’re active on Facebook, Instagram, and whichever review site (Yelp, TripAdvisor, etc) is most important in their location. Restaurants and other services businesses probably don’t need a website either, unless they’re fine dining or high-end services – those clientele seem to still want a traditional website, much like a business would.

Compared to 5 years ago, having only a Facebook, Instagram, etc page is much more accepted. Today, these pages are more flexible (so you can add your menu to your Facebook page more easily, for example). The social media pages also do much better in search engine (Google) results than they used to.

In conclusion, you probably don’t need a website for your new project – social media will fill that need instead. And if you’re B2B and you still do, there are much more affordable options then historically. More on that in a future post 🙂