Facebook vs. website: Do you really need both? Can you use just one?
Can a small business be successful using only Facebook?
In this article, you’ll learn the Facebook vs. website pros and cons. And you’ll be better equipped to make the right decision for your business.
Social Media Platforms: Socializing vs. Buying
Before we look at specifics, let’s consider a key difference between social media and websites.
Facebook, like most social media, is a newsfeed-based platform.
- People use newsfeed-based social media primarily to socialize or pass time.
- By contrast, people go to Google to learn, solve problems, find opportunities, and shop.
As marketing visionary Avinash Kaushik has pointed out, users of newsfeed-based social media typically have no commercial intent when they’re on the platform.
The fast path to nowhere is to create lots of “buy now” messaging on a platform filled with tire kickers.
- Instead, think of Facebook as a cocktail party. You’re there to meet and greet. It’s best used to create awareness that your business exists.
- By contrast, you can use a website to build relationships, effectively reaching your target audience at any stage: awareness, consideration, or buying.
Note: YouTube is an exception. It’s not a newsfeed-based platform. And when used well, it’s effective for attracting people to think about what your business offers.
Now that we’ve seen how social media and privately owned websites differ, let’s dive into a more detailed comparison.
Facebook Business Page: Pros and Cons
It’s quick, easy, and free to set up a Facebook Business Page. With almost 3 billion active users worldwide, it’s easy to get the idea that by being on Facebook, your business will get lots of new customers.
To reach those prospects, you’ll need to create engaging content.
And you’ll naturally want your Facebook posts to appear in your followers’ newsfeeds.
But here’s where you’ll run into a problem.
Facebook Reach: Trending to Zero
Facebook will block your business posts from appearing in most of your followers’ newsfeeds.
What percentage of your followers will see your posts in their newsfeeds?
- For years, marketers estimated that reach at 2% – 6%.
- New research indicates it may be as low as 1%.
That means around 94% – 99% of your Facebook Business page followers won’t see your posts in their newsfeeds.
Unless you pay.
And that’s where Facebook Ads come in.
If you want more followers to see your posts, you’ll need to buy Facebook ads.
Ads will boost your reach and engagement. And you’ll gain more followers. That means you’ll need to increase your ad spending to maintain your relative reach.
For businesses, Facebook is mainly an advertising platform with social aspects. Given the enormous amount of data Facebook has on users, it’s a powerful ad platform.
But you’ll still need to deal with the fact that it’s an environment optimized for people who, when using the platform, typically have no buying intent.
Also, measuring increased brand awareness can be tricky, especially for digital marketing novices.
Advertising is a big part of Facebook’s algorithms. But throttling organic reach is done for other reasons too.
- Many people “like” and follow Pages on Facebook.
- “Natural born clickers” wind up following hundreds of Facebook Pages.
- If posts from these pages always appeared in followers’ newsfeeds, they’d soon see nothing but business messages.
Now, how does Facebook fare in Google search results?
Facebook vs. Website in Google Search
Facebook is a high-ranking domain, so your page may rank well in Google results.
However, Google typically only displays one search snippet for your Facebook page.
By contrast, a business can optimize a website to display several pages in one search.
A search for “krav maga boston” (above) shows 6 page links at the top of Google for the business website of Krav Maga Yashir Boston.
This business has also set up a Google Business Profile. So the right side of (desktop) search results features a prominent display of that profile, with even more links.
Because they’ve filled their Google Business Profile out completely, it spans all of page 1 of Google search results. You’d have to scroll down to see the entire profile.
All in all, this small business has over a dozen links displayed at the top of Google search results for the query “krav maga boston.”
“Organic search traffic” refers to traffic obtained for free from search engine results pages.
Only Facebook Users Get Full Access
Another negative of using Facebook only is that prospects need to be Facebook users to get full access to your business page.
For example, they won’t be able to use Facebook Messenger to reach you or comment on a post unless they create a Facebook account.
By contrast, when searchers discover your website or Google Business Profile in search results, there’s no barrier to contacting you.
On Facebook, every business page looks the same. Of course, you can add your logo, a cover photo, and posts.
But Facebook blue is the prominent brand color. And the layout of your page is specified by Facebook.
Control: Rent vs. Own
Marketers call Facebook, and all social media, “rented” platforms.
What they mean is: you don’t own your page or your data, and you don’t have the same control you would have over a website.
With Facebook, your digital presence is on someone else’s property. And they can change the rules (terms and conditions or algorithms) as they like.
As we’ve increasingly seen, they may also choose to attach warning labels to content. These fact-checks, typically outsourced to specialty businesses, have attracted some controversy.
More importantly, as discussed below, websites offer endless ways to capture leads, boost conversions, and increase sales.
Business Website: Pros and Cons
Most businesses will benefit from establishing their online presence on rented (social media) and owned (website) platforms.
But between these two, the latter is the most important.
Websites: Easy or Hard to Create?
You can quickly create a site with popular platforms like WordPress and Drupal.
The hard work is figuring out your website goals and implementing those on your site.
If the new site replaces an old one, you’ll undoubtedly have a list of improvements that need to be made.
You’ll need to create the structure and content along with product pages, calls-to-action, and an easy-to-use checkout system.
Creating and collecting the content for the pages, including descriptions, testimonials, and images, can take more time than expected.
But there’s no need to hire a developer to build a site from scratch. Small businesses can save by buying a pre-made website design, called a “theme.”
If you’re creating a company website featuring multiple physical locations, you’ll want to look at creating individual landing pages for each.
Above: SeedProd offers an easy way to create professional-looking websites and landing pages. You can integrate your SeedProd site with WooCommerce and payment systems like Stripe.
All in One SEO (AIOSEO): Making SEO Easy
The good news is website platforms like WordPress make optimizing your site for SEO easy.
This is where a plugin like All in One SEO (AIOSEO) comes in.
Designed to be easy for beginners, AIOSEO makes technical SEO tasks as simple as clicking buttons and filling out forms.
AIOSEO provides recommendations for improving your SEO. You’ll see these recommendations right inside the WordPress editor.
You can also use the plugin to add schema markup to your web pages. All it takes is a few button clicks and you’ll fill out some form fields. No coding knowledge is needed. Then your content can be displayed as a rich snippet in search results.
Rich snippets are visually prominent search displays, like those below.
These are just a few of the features of All in One SEO. You’ll also have plenty of beginner-level tutorials to follow and a world-class support team.
Search engine optimization is one of the most potent forms of online marketing. With the advent of plugins, it’s never been easier to learn and do.
When it comes to e-commerce, credibility comes before transactions.
A website can also provide the information buyers typically look for when vetting a business. That may include:
- A sense of professionalism.
- Who’s behind the company? (Missing information can be a red flag.)
- License numbers and links to LLC information or chamber of commerce membership directories).
Conversions and Sales
Websites are ideal for driving conversions and sales.
- How-tos: Publishing content that shows searchers how to use your product to solve a problem they have, is a proven money-maker.
- Product comparisons: Searchers with commercial intent want to compare products or services. Publishing comparison pages is a winning tactic for driving sales.
- Transaction information: Prospects close to buying want information on guarantees, discounts, shipping, support, or refunds. It’s easy to display this information on websites.
One of the most exciting things about having a website is you can create content to match search terms relevant to your business. In this way, you can grow conversions and sales with relatively little traffic.
Other Marketing Options
There are endless marketing possibilities for websites. For example,
- Exit Pop-Ups: These popups are designed to appear when people are leaving your site. And they’re proven to increase sales and conversions. (Use the low-cost OptinMonster plugin to make this easy.)
- Social Proof: Tools like TrustPulse show visitors that people are buying your products. This social proof is an effective tactic for attracting new customers.
- Testimonials: Highlighting testimonials and reviews on your website is another way to persuade prospects that your offer is valuable.
- Forms: When coupled with a lead magnet, online forms are effective conversion tools.
- Email: Your website provides the ideal platform for collecting email addresses. And email marketing is a significant sales driver with an average ROI of $36 for every $1 spent.
Small Business Budgets
Every small business needs a digital presence. But most need to stay within a tight budget while attracting potential customers.
If you’re concerned about website costs, you can save using a DIY approach.
Here’s a rundown of related website expenditures.
- Website designs: High-performing WordPress themes can be purchased for under $75.
- Domain name: There are different pricing plans for purchasing domain names. You can pay for a year upfront or more.
- Web hosting: Plans typically offer annual or per-month pricing. And the latter may be as low as $3/month. We recommend SiteGround and WPEngine.
- Plugins: Using WordPress? Plugins expand the functionality of your site. And they’re great deals. You’ll pay one annual fee and get access to professional support staff. Premium plugins commonly range from $50 up to $300 or more. (The latter are typically for multi-business corporations that run many sites.)
- Call to Action: You can use hyperlinked text or a button as a call to action. These are free. Or choose a low-cost plugin like OptinMonster to boost conversions.
What we’ve covered so far are principles, not rules. There are always exceptions.
Some businesses may only need a social media page. For example, food trucks that use X (Twitter) to let their fans know which street corner they’ll be at that day.
An X account may suffice for these businesses unless they expand into catering.
But most businesses will benefit from having a website and a Google Business Profile.
Summary: Facebook vs. Website
Small businesses that use social media often expect it to grow their sales and revenue.
However, many find that newsfeed-based social media is primarily helpful for building brand awareness through paid ads or capturing leads for free services designed to result in later sales. And there’s a relative lack of control.
Only 20% of small businesses make it to their 5th year. So it’s essential to give yourself every advantage.
Keep in mind that over-investing in social media can result in higher customer acquisition costs (CAC).
And an SEO-optimized website plus a Google Business Profile are critical success factors for most small businesses.
By targeting relevant search terms, you can rank higher and get qualified traffic from organic search results.
Bonus Tips for Small Businesses
- Have a service-based business but no website? You can use Google’s Local Services Ads to get leads while setting up your site.
- Find out how to improve your SEO with business listings.
- Learn how to optimize your Google Business Profile.
- Find out how easy it is to use Google Reviews to improve your SEO and attract more prospects.
- Want to run marketing campaigns using Meta products like Facebook or Instagram? Check out their academy here.
Q&As on Facebook and Website SEO
What’s the easiest way to get started with Facebook Ads?
Perhaps the easiest way to get started with Facebook Ads is to choose the “Boost Post” option. You can start with a low ad budget of $20-$50 to see your results.
Learning how to create custom audiences for your Facebook Ads will lead to better results though. Take advantage of Facebook’s free how-to resources.
Is it hard to do SEO for a website?
Thanks to new software tools like All in One SEO (AIOSEO), optimizing your site for SEO has never been easier. No coding or technical knowledge is required. Almost everything is reduced to clicking buttons and filling out form fields.
What software tools can’t do is create content for you that your target audience finds valuable. But it’s not hard to learn the basics of keyword research and creating helpful content.
Resources on Social Media and SEO
- SEO vs. Social Media: How Do Their Roles Differ in Digital Marketing?
- 3 Social Media Hacks to Bring You More Traffic
- How to Integrate Social Media Into Your Website
- How to Use All in One SEO (AIOSEO) to Optimize Your Posts for X (Twitter)
- How to Set Up a Facebook and X (Twitter) Author for Your WordPress Content
- How to Set Up Facebook Integration in All in One SEO (AIOSEO)
- How to Fix Wrong Facebook Thumbnail in WordPress
- 7 SEO Secrets Used by Pros to Grow Revenue
We hope this post helped you understand the Facebook vs. website debate and make the best decision for your small business.
Social networks can be effective when used well. But websites can do so much more.