With Facebook Pages – Who needs a Website?

I was talking to a small business owner last night. They are in the middle of a very costly redesign of their B2C website and I couldn’t help but ask if they had plans to set up on Facebook as well.

Right now, I have Facebook on the brain. As you may recall I am in the middle of writing a book called Facebook Marketing for Dummies (Wiley) due out at the end of the summer. This book is in collaboration with long time friend Rich Krueger who is the CEO of AboutFaceDigital – an agency devoted to helping companies setup and optimize their marketing efforts on Facebook. Something they call – Facebook Marketing Optimization.

Anyway I found myself thinking – why does any business need a website any more?

With Facebook Fan pages you can build your own website on the Facebook “Platform”. A website that is totally FREE of hosting and server costs, public and indexable on all search engines, with unique URL’s for individual landing pages that you can tune based on if they are Fans or Non Fans, where you can host all your video (so long as it is under 10mb) and upload your product catalog with detailed descriptions (and get feedback from Fans), where you can throw an event or show presentations on a Slideshare ap, run a contest or a survey, host your blog or retweet your status updates (or better yet – just use Facebook instead of Twitter). Oh don’t forget send emails to your Fans for FREE and if you want to buy targeted ads you can do that too.

With all that in your favor – Why would any business need a website anymore?

24 comments to With Facebook Pages – Who needs a Website?

  • Tracey

    You could also set up a free website on WordPress. I believe WordPress has a few advantages over Facebook in this case. You could easily transition the existing site to your own domain when you’re ready (they have a downloadable software). They have a ton of totally customizable themes, or you could do your own HTML, so you’re not stuck in a particular template. I believe Facebook is pretty restrictive, but correct me if I’m wrong. Also, people who are not on Facebook might be more comfortable with a WordPress website since you don’t need to be a member to comment. That said, Facebook is probably simpler to get set up. My main concern as a business owner would be the ability to keep and transition all my website content. (Can you do that with Facebook sites now)?

  • Paul Dunay

    @ Tracey

    no you would have to scrape every pages of its content – put it in a word doc to back it up

    yeah its not perfect – but it certainly sounds like they are moving in a direction that could make it a major platform play

  • Meg

    Hey Paul,

    Facebook is only one way of driving traffic but I would still have a decent business website to build a list. You don’t own the traffic on facebook but you do own your own list and website. Blogging as Tracey suggested is another method of driving traffic but you still need a main lead capture page.

    One can get lost in all the ways of social media. Pick 2-3 to start with and then outsource the rest as you build your business.

  • Meg

    Facebook is only one way of driving traffic but I would still have a decent business website to build a list. You don’t own the traffic on facebook but you do own your own list and website.

    Blogging as Tracey suggested is another method of driving traffic but you still need a main page to capture leads.

    One can get lost in all the ways of social media. Pick 2-3 to start with and then outsource the rest as you build your business.

    If you don’t get Facebook or like it, outsource it to someone who loves it and loves your business or works for your business.

    I mean, if you had an employee who loved facebook and you added to his job description to be on facebook for the company, I’m sure he’d get excited! The trick would be to lay out definite parameters and guidelines!

  • Juliemarg

    Everyone needs a website – Facebook & other social media sites are blocked at work for many workplaces. Do you want to miss out on people who may want to call you from their desk while on the bosses dime?

  • Ian Gallardo

    You wouldn’t go into war with only your infantry, would you?

    Social Media and Web Sites are all components of a marketing strategy; cohesively implement all of them to reach your targeted audience and your competitors don’t even stand a chance. It might be a gamble to think that one presence can pick up the slack for the lack of others.

    On a side note, having facebook be THE place for your online presence isn’t too far a stretch for the imagination.

  • Kene

    FB is restricted to what you can do with it. The notion that it would replace websites is quite far fetched. I think they complement each other. How much of a brand can you build on FB? How much control over interaction do you have on FB? It is still ways out to think of it as a replacement. If you are tracking hits and conversion, or want to optimize your conversion, do you have access to the FB platform? NO..

  • Nigel D

    Who needs a website? Anybody who’s serious about building their company and brand. What kind of Mickey Mouse company would use Facebook as their only web presence? IMO that’s like having a Geocities or Google Pages website and using mybiz@aol.com for your email address. Ultimately a website gives you total control, from top to bottom, of your company’s online interface. And the best websites today do things, they’re not just online brochures. Facebook is a great option to exploit but it’s a mistake to make it your only option.

  • Paul Dunay

    @ Nigel & Kene

    thanks for commenting – and you are right – a professional company (not a Mickey Mouse company) would want a full website for the reasons you suggest

    I was thinking more Local Business (restaurant, dry cleaner, music teacher, tutoring etc) – dont forget the "long tail" of business

  • Krishna De

    Paul – I recently worked with a client where we have established their new business presence online through Facebook and LinkedIn as initial steps so that they could start connecting with people confident that information about their services and products could be found online without having to wait for their website to be built.

    This was especially important for them as they were focusing on online education and were setting up a business having left a very large corporate due to restructuring in the current economy. So for them it is imperative to get up and running fast.

    We also purchased a domain name and then mapped it over to one of the tabs on their Facebook page so this URL could be used on their business card.

    Personally I would never recommend that we build our presence online on a hosted service – all too often I have seen services change, delete accounts and even close down.

    However the opportunity that Facebook pages presents us is terrific both from connecting to a huge yet targeted community if we are smart about how we use them and the opportunity to be found online through the pages being ranked well in search engines.

    I look forward to reading your new book.

  • Paul Dunay

    @ Krishna

    Excellent story – thank you for sharing with the group!

  • H

    Facebook is indeed a valuable tool and I believe that it is important to understand its functions and capabilities. While I wish the author success with his book, I don’t think that Facebook pages meet the needs of all companies. There is just a lack of professionalism if Facebook is your sole representation on the Internet. On the other hand, having both a Facebook page and a website can enhance your credibility because you show that your company is accessible to all types of consumers, be they Facebook users or just web surfers. “Facebook Marketing Optimization” is definitely worth looking into, but I do not believe it will ever fully replace traditional advertising and marketing strategies.

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