Although we live in the age of social media, websites are still the foundation of a digital presence. Why? There is no other medium where you can holistically give information about a business, idea, movement, etc.
As part of the marketing and information process, businesses use social media as a place to attract more customers, as social media provides a platform where people connect around the world. But still for most businesses, social media accounts are — and should be — an extension of their websites. These accounts provide quick bits of information, with the ultimate goal of directing customers to their websites for more details. The website then provides a place for those customers to dig deeper and become more dedicated to the brand.
Benefits of a website
What and how you can post on social media websites can be restricting. Some social media sites limit users on the word count in a post, the resolution or size of photos and sometimes even the content you would want to put there.
Having a static website can benefit a business by providing a foundation of presence on the internet to display information of the business at low cost and maintenance with the ability to develop, grow and stand out amongst the competition.
A website can also give businesses freedom in how they want to present themselves to consumers. With social media, businesses are restricted to the platform’s specific design and the limitation does not encourage creativity for businesses. Businesses can design their websites with their own logos, color scheme, themes and formatting.
With a plethora of information and an appealing design, websites that are set up properly can instill confidence. Having a domain name is official and tying that together with email accounts that have a business’s domain name can go a long way. Once a business registers a domain name, it will not be hard to add an email plan at the same time. Setup is usually a breeze, and most domain hosting companies can assist over the phone to get you up and running no matter the email platform.
Purpose of a website
A website can provide the features of social media and even more. A site can display all types of content and even provide a forum for customers. This kind of platform can give businesses creative freedom and allow them to showcase their services or products in more detail.
Both websites and social media play an essential role in the goal of attracting a customer. Social media is the gateway through which businesses drive traffic and attract visitors to their websites, which houses important information. Its main goal is to push or notify people about updates or promotions from all people and companies.
The purpose of a website (standalone) is to have a place where general and detailed questions that customer may have about this company/idea/passion can be answered factually and quickly. A website acts as the centralized hub that connects all of the information you choose to display digitally.
A website has the flexibility to store static informational pages, or host dynamic content filled with applications that can sign up customers and collect payments. Websites can be accessed with anything that has a web browser — a PC, phone, smart TV, etc. — whereas some social media apps are only available on mobile phones. Essentially, social media brings in clients; websites close the deal.
Key features of a website
The most important thing to keep in mind when building a website is to make sure it is in line with your branding strategy. The website must represent who/what the business is from all angles. A business must take as much note of how the business represents itself on its website as it does in real life.
Having a user interface that is familiar and friendly can encourage your customers to be more engaged with your product or message. A website should be appealing to the eyes and attractive to current and future customers — but it should also be easy to navigate and intuitive. Testing features and links on webpages and making sure information is up to date are incredibly important. As a customer, it is frustrating to browse through a site only to find a business’ contact information is out dated or finding a broken link on a page.
— This is the first in a three-part series. Stay tuned to the next issue of Guam Business Magazine for “Website for businesses — part II: user experience.”