There have been a few articles around recently (most notably from Stephen Haines at Facebook, but other social media “gurus” suggesting similar things) claiming that in the future, companies will abandon their corporate websites in favour of a Facebook page only.
Really, Mr Haines?! We think not. And here’s why.
First and foremost, the sheer size of that leap of faith. What company in their right mind would want to trust their whole online presence to a provider they don’t pay, have no contract with, and who’s notorious for making sweeping changes to functionality with no notice. Facebook is a fantastic platform for many things, but putting all of your eggs in that basket is like building your house on a sandcastle. Which is going to end in a sandy, messy omelette. Or something.
Secondly, customisation, and content space, is still really limited. Yes, using the new iframes support, you can create a mini-website within your page – but the whole thing’ll be limited to 520 pixels wide.
Our laptop and PC monitor screens are becoming increasingly widescreen in format, and a good website takes advantage of that. Keeping your company’s design to such a small size, unnecessarily, is unlikely to appeal to most.
Thirdly, you need a hub which helps you to measure and fine tune your online marketing efforts, and for most businesses, that is, and always will be, their website. Facebook provides the Insights function which is great as far as it goes, which is for some basic measurement around one or two aspects of activity on your page. Google analytics it most certainly is not though – crucial elements such as referral sites, bounce rate, time on page and other factors which many businesses use to measure the effectiveness of their website, aren’t available within Facebook. Maybe in due course we’ll see a premium, payable business upgrade to include that kind of thing, but for now it’s not an option.
Finally, there are all sorts of commercial machinations going on between the likes of Google and Facebook, which could mean that the search engine ranking of a facebook-page-based presence goes from astronomical to invisible in the time it takes both companies to have a tiff.
Whereas, a good website with quality content will tend to rank well, despite the minor fluctuations of the Google search algorithm.
Anyone disagree? Are you a small business with just a Facebook page and no website?