Facebook Page or Website? Which Should Come First?
If you’re establishing an online presence you need to be noticed, and there are many ways of attracting attention to your business. The most obvious is to start by building your own website, but some recommend establishing a Facebook page first because it’s a free way to reach millions of potential customers.
It does not need to be either/or, and in fact both a good website and a Facebook page are important to build your list of contacts and get your business noticed. You will need both, but it is best to begin with your website, and then link to it via a Facebook fan page. In other words, your website is like your store front, but Facebook is a free way of advertising your existence and spreading the word in an informal and creative way.
Build Your Website First
Facebook is free, but building a website does not have to be expensive, and you can even create a free website. The problem with free sites is you don’t get your own domain name (such as YourBusiness.com) and there will be forced ads, and neither creates a good impression. Registering your own domain costs a little each year, but it allows you to have an Internet address (URL) that suits your business, and one your customers will remember.
Having your own domain name gives you ownership and control of your site, and as your business grows your website will grow with you. You can design it as you like and make it reflect your own business, and your own style.
Disadvantages of Facebook
Facebook gives your business great exposure but it is not under your control, has its own style, and like the free websites, doesn’t give you a professional-looking URL for your business. Like any other business, Facebook could change its policies, lose your data, or even disappear altogether one day.
Facebook also has the disadvantage of reaching only a certain proportion of Internet users, since people have to join the site, and not everyone who uses the Internet is interested in social networking. If you were to create a Facebook site first, you would miss many people who would be interested in what your business has to offer.
According to http://www.checkfacebook.com, most Facebook users are young Americans. There are more females than males, and the vast majority of users are under 34. So, if this is the demographic your business is aiming for, then a Facebook fan page should be a high priority once you have a website to send fans to, but if it isn’t, Facebook may not offer a great advantage and can be a low priority.
Advantages of Facebook
The advantages of having a Facebook fan page are that the page is free and public, and you can use links to send people to your website. You can also send updates to your fans to alert them to new products, special offers, and any changes to your website, for example. This gives you a quick and easy way to build a list of potential customers and keep in touch with them.
A Facebook fan page also spreads your web because any time someone joins, the fact is broadcast via their News feed, so all their friends can see they’ve joined.
Build a Firm Foundation
Your website is the virtual store front for your business, and as such should always form a firm foundation for your online presence. It doesn’t need to be expensive, as many website hosting and domain registration companies will also give you a basic website and allow you to build 1-3 pages free when you register your domain. Some hosting companies give you free hosting if you register your domain name with them, and almost all include free email addresses that include your domain name.
Your own domain and a good website should always come first to give your business a professional look, and professional email addresses. Only when you have this in place should you look to social networking sites like Facebook, or Twitter to build your following.