Why you need a website even if you’re selling on social media

A website is essential for your online business

If you are planning to sell online, it is tempting to center your entire business around social media channels. Many popular social media sites are becoming the port of call for aspiring entrepreneurs to start their business. Some are even using it to run side businesses! Setting up a Facebook Page or Instagram account is just a few clicks, after all. Hence, it’s easy to focus all your initial efforts to selling on social media channels, especially if you’re starting out. The ease of setup is a reason that led to an explosion of social businesses in the market!

Do you still need a website if your business is on social media?

While building an online presence is an integral part of business strategy, you would probably ask yourself these questions. Website vs social media: which is more important? Can I just build my business on social media platforms?

Having a website is still essential and crucial especially if you’re running an e-commerce business, advertising products or services. As a business owner, you would want your business to stand out amongst the massive competition online.

When you sell only on social media such as Instagram or Facebook, competition reigns high. Your brand is one of millions on popular social media sites today. On top of that, loads of new businesses are being added on a daily basis. Popular platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, LINE and local social media platforms are abuzz with people trying to build their online business. For example, more than one billion people use Instagram each month, and about 90% of them follow at least one business.

Of course, not every business sells products. Still, even if you’re just casually listing your products on Facebook marketplace or taking orders via Direct Message, tracking inventory becomes a challenge as your business grows. If you’re selling already on Instagram Shop or Facebook Shop, there are often fees, clauses or stipulations involved.

A website that you own and control content on should always be part of your bigger business strategy, though it might be enticing to skip this step. There is a lot of Here are the reasons you should prioritize building your website, especially if you’re trying to promote or sell your brand.

1. A website boosts your brand’s credibility. 

Setting up a social media account indeed takes no time these days. But this also means that just about anyone can do it. Having a business website is an important step to legitimize your business, while curating your content. Considering that 81% of shoppers do online research before making a purchase, you’ll want to have something credible available for the potential customer who stumbles upon your social media account. These people would usually then do an online search to verify if your brand is legit. (Unfortunately, most growing businesses might not have at their disposal business websites that they can utilize!)

Building a website now is as simple as setting up a social media account. You can build a professional looking website with sleek aesthetic in a few hours, with thousands of templates to choose from and the ability to customize pages by dragging and dropping. You can even personalize using your brand colors.

The GoDaddy E-Store for example, makes it possible to launch a website in minutes, using built-in tools and templates.

2. Take control of your brand: your website is the center of it

Open Laptop Screen With Words Brand Personality

 

In addition to selling products, your website is a place to gather all your brand details and information. From customer testimonials to blogs that add to your wealth of branded content, think of your company’s website as the center of your brand universe.

On the other hand, you can only control your own feed on Instagram. Comments and interactions are harder to regulate — all it takes is one unreasonable review to disrupt the equilibrium of your curated site. Instagram is also designed specifically to encourage jumping from IG profile to IG profile. If you are only selling on social media, it is challenging to grow your brand reputation and acquire followers organically.

Your website is where necessary and relevant information that your potential customers need, i.e. contact details, hours, brand story, etc, can live, without the space limitations contained in a social media profile.

 

On top of that, having your own website allows you the creative freedom to design it in the way you wish. Think of it as your own real estate, where you are able to customize it for your users. Most social media platforms offer a “feed”-like structure in showing content. This means that content that has appeared earlier will be “pushed” further down your social media feed. With your own website, you are able to curate your content and products in any way you wish. This certainly triumphs a Facebook Page, or any form of social media accounts for that matter.

3. Be easily discoverable online

Unless you are a well-known brand name with significant following, having your business only on social media limits your discoverability. You will find that you need to mostly rely on word-of-mouth (via user sharing) to get the word out. Given the limited control you have over your accounts on social media platforms, it will be challenging to scale your business.

One way to be discovered online is via search engines. With your own website, you are able to do search engine optimization (SEO) based on your product type, geographical location – the list goes on! Having an SEO optimized page will definitely help you be found more easily on search engines. People might be searching for products and services using keywords specific to your product offering within their locale. Having a website allows you to be discovered in such instances on search engines, thereby increasing traffic and potentially business!

Editor’s Note: There is a whole lot of possibilities you can achieve on your website with search engine optimisation! Check out our guide to get started on optimising your website for SEO.

4. Learn about your customers and stay connected

With a website, you can gain insights into your customers. From how they are finding you to what their interests are, these insights can help you create more effective marketing campaigns.

Free tools like​​ Google Analytics and Search Console track data like SEO metrics, CTR, bounce rate, keyword rankings, backlinks and more. You can use Google Analytics to track conversions. Some ways to do this directly on your website are when customers:

  • Make a purchase
  • Sign up for any email newsletter or offer you provide on the site
  • Submit forms or inquiries
  • Leave feedback

Having your own e-commerce website allows you to integrate all your customer data in one platform.

This allows you to track all user activities, including more understanding of your Monthly Active Users. Monthly Active Users is a commonly used metric to count the number of unique users who visit a site within the past month. This is an important indicator of potential profitability of your website, hence a lot of businesses would aim to have a lot of active users.

When you sell on social media, you may not have access to the same data, making it difficult to learn about your customers. This can affect your company’s growth and how you connect with customers.

Instagram Screen On Cellphone

5. Avoid potential selling fees or other restrictions. 

Instagram and Facebook recently launched Instagram Shop and Facebook Shop, respectively. At the moment, you can only set up an Instagram shop for physical goods, meaning that if you’re offering digital or consulting services, you can’t sell via their platform. 

Even if you are selling on social media platforms, you’ll still need to have a website domain to link your accounts to. It’s ideal to sell through both social media and your own website. Platforms like Instagram or Facebook charge a fee for each product sold. The fee on Facebook is 5% per shipment, or a flat fee of US$0.40 for shipments of $8.00 or less. 

Your Instagram must also be registered in a market that is open to use this feature. At the moment, Instagram Shop is available in these APAC areas: Australia, Bangladesh, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Laos, Philippines, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar Nepal, New Zealand, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, with Instagram Shopping available for managed clients in India. If you’re located outside of an available market, you lose the ability to tag products. 

6. It’s easy to integrate your social media with your website. 

Worried about maintaining the content on your website? We have good news for you. You can seamlessly integrate your social media content onto your website! There’s a plethora of templates and built-in tools to carry your social feed to your site. Using GoDaddy E-Store not only allows you to sell products through your own website, but on all major platforms. You can publish products to Facebook and synchronize inventory information. With integrated social media tools, you will be able to recruit customers easily. 

Considering the benefits a website does for your brand’s credibility and the wealth of info a curated hub can store, there’s never been a better time to start a website. It’s cheap and easy these days, with no design or coding experience needed. When you have a website that holds all your crucial business info in one place, you can focus on growing your business. To start, all you do need is to have some content ready and a template for your site.

Having a website is essential for building an online business

Despite the ease of selling on social media, there are immense benefits in having your own business website. From scalability to discoverability, your website is like a real estate that will allow you more creative control and eventually generate more income for you. Hence,  you should cater time and resources to create your website. If you are looking for a quick start, GoDaddy is a one-stop shop that has all the help and tools you need to go online! With GoDaddy E-Store, you can build and launch a website in minutes using our powerful templates and built-in tools.

If you are ready to get started, visit our website today!

Editor’s note: Got questions about putting your idea online? Get instant answers on GoDaddy Asia Facebook Messenger now.

Hannah Leung is a digital strategist from the U.S. who is currently based in Hong Kong. She has created branded content for Cathay Pacific, Forbes and Fossil, and was previously a lifestyle editor at a newspaper in Beijing. Hannah is an avid pop culture consumer and enjoys browsing grocery stores around the world. Connect with her on Twitter.