It's pretty easy to create a website these days.
Services like SquareSpace, Wix and GoDaddy have basic solutions.
You can buy a domain, get a theme/design and get up and rolling with their hosting packages.
You're limited on a lot of things like custom design, content and things like that, but it's not bad.
But even with the ease of creating a website there are still many that go for the even simpler option: social media.
And that makes sense too in a lot of ways. It's really easy to just create a Facebook page for your business and focus on that for getting new customers using the Internet.
Are you wondering the differences between a website vs. social media?
Let's get into a few things and determine what's best for you.
The first big advantage with social media is that a lot of people use it.
Facebook is over a billion users.
The others - Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, etc. - all have hundreds of millions of users.
That's a built-in audience that you can tap into when you signup. Obviously just because everybody is using a social site doesn't mean you'll get a lot of followers.
It's just like how billions use the Internet, but they don't visit every website.
The second big advantage with social media is one we've already mentioned and that's ease of use.
If you're reading this blog post chances are that you already have your own personal Facebook account. You know how to use it and its app.
Social sites have been really good at making their platforms easy for anyone to use.
And because of that most people that have a profile can easily create a business page or account.
There aren't too many requirements to creating a basic social account for a business. Profile logo. Basic description. Start posting.
The first advantage to having your own website is that you own the content. Anything you publish on your site is yours. You can repurpose content. You can monetize it.
And that leads into the second advantage and that's control.
Facebook and Twitter and all those sites are great, but they limit the control you have. It's easy to setup accounts because things are simple, but it's also limiting if you want to do certain things.
They have rules for contests. They have rules for what you can post. They have rules for how often you can post and even for how many of your own followers that will see your updates.
On your own website you can post what you want. You can ask for email subscriptions. You can run a contest. It's all in your control.
You also have more design control.
All the social sites are pretty much set. They make changes once in awhile. And you have to adapt to those changes.
But if you have your own website then you control the design. That's a good thing if you keep up with updating the design. A website is never done. You have to continually update it from time to time. Every couple years or so.
Another benefit is SEO.
That's something people interested in doing business online are always curious about.
When you have your own site you directly benefit from SEO. You create your website and its structure. The main pages. And if you have a content strategy like an ongoing blog you'll build content that attracts visitors (content that answers their questions) for years.
You could create that content on social media, but giving the SEO benefit to the social site.
If you share all your best advice on Twitter then the update on Twitter will rank. And that's fine in the respect that you still get noticed, but Twitter gets the traffic, not your site.
The good news is that you can do both.
What I like to do is focus on the website as the main hub for online activity. It's where I post all my most important content.
Then I like to repurpose and use snippets of that content on social media.
TV shows are doing this with YouTube. They'll post full episodes on their own sites and post snippets on YouTube and Facebook.
Some people just want the snippets. They can build a following on the social channels because the snippets are still great.
But some will want the full content. They can easily go to the site for that.
Which way is best for you?
I would really push you to launch your own site. To focus there first and social media second.
Launching a social media profile might be a bit easier. Heck, it might be a lot easier. But it will still take time and effort to build a following.
And you can go through all that effort and build a great following, but still not really own the following.
You'll be limited by the rules of Facebook or whatever the channel is. That can lead to frustration.
Instead, you can build your website up over time along with using the website content to build a social following.