Facebook has very rapidly become an essential part of our everyday lives. We use it to share our personal affairs, and now your business can join the club too with the creation of Facebook Business Pages. At the beginning of 2016 there were an estimated 50 million live Facebook Business pages. This already seems like a lot, but what is even more staggering is that 10 million of these were created in less than half a year!

The popularity of these (free) Facebook pages has made people question the importance of having a dedicated website for their business. Is it not time then to get rid of these websites that cost time and money, especially if you can make a Facebook page for free?

The short answer to this in most cases is simply no. The notion that a Facebook Business Page can replace an actual business website is faulty for a number of reasons.

So, shall we take a look at some of these?

FACEBOOK VISIBILITY

The only people who are able to see your profile on Facebook are people who use Facebook. As it currently stands about 60% of Europe and the UK does not use Facebook (and many people who do use Facebook use it only intermittently). This cuts you off from quite a large group of potential clients. Also, it is highly possible potential clients need to register and log in before seeing your profile if they’re not using their personal computer or phone. Given the choice between a competitor’s easy access webpage and having to log in to see yours, most visitors will choose the easiest way.

NOT ALL POSTS REACH YOUR ‘FANS’

A Facebook Business Page gets more popular by visitors pressing the ‘Like ‘button. The idea is that pressing this button subscribes you to the page so you can see its posts. . Sadly this is no longer so due to a change in the Facebook algorithm . A study has shown that the chance of People seeing your post has declined to 6%. The only way to move this percentage up is (surprise surprise) by paying Facebook to boost your content through advertising. Otherwise only 6 out of every 100 fans you have will even get a glimpse of your post. The more you pay, the more broadly it’s shown. This of course still doesn’t mean it will be read.

VISIBILITY BY SEARCH IS VERY LIMITED

If my boiler is broken and I use an online search engine to find a local plumber, I’ll type in a description like ‘plumber boiler repair local’ for instance. I’m not going to type in a local plumbers name unless I already know the company and only want that specific one. The results of a search like this illustrate the problem with Facebook’s limited search visibility. If you search for a company using the company name, it’s Facebook page will come up (somewhere) in the search results. If you search descriptively it will not show up at all. So if you want to be found by more than just the people that already know you, Facebook won’t be much help.

And while we’re on the subject of Search Engines, a regular website is much better suited for indexing than a one-page Facebook page. Your homepage works as an introductory landing page, which is being backed up by your subpages. This creates a much richer environment for search engines to index. The clearer your website is in explaining what it’s all about, the better your website will do with search engines.

IT DOESN’T LOOK VERY PROFESSIONAL

It’s a simple fact that not having your own website or domain name is seen as amateurish. These days this kind of online presence is seen as an essential part to being a professional. Customisation options within Facebook are very limited. It’s difficult to make a Facebook Business Page look like your own. The brand that mostly seeps through on every Facebook Business Page is that of Facebook itself. The reaction you want people to have is one of brand recognition, not “Hey, maybe I should get one of these Facebook pages for myself.”

YOU’RE ON THE SIDE-LINE

You have no influence on Facebook policy, and that should not be ok with you if you care about the way your business is seen online. If you want to upload something to your page, you’re bound to what Facebook finds acceptable. If Facebook decides to change its guidelines, then that’s just something you’ll have to accept. When running a business, what is shown and the way it is presented to your potential customers should be in your hands.

So, in conclusion it is our opinion that a Facebook Business Page is not something you should depend on to . For this it simply lacks the options needed for you to reach your market audience and present a professional business. It is however a very effective and powerful tool. An essential addition to any business website.