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The Help Desk: Does my company still need a website?

Every month, we’ll be tackling a question from a reader and getting advice from the right experts in a variety of fields to help you answer it

Jan 25, 2013

by Alberta Venture Staff

Whether you’re trying to find the right employee, hook your business up with the latest technology or tweak your marketing strategy, we’re here to lend a hand. How can we help you?

Q: Social media is becoming a bigger and bigger deal. My company now has Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest accounts, and we’re getting a lot of traction. Do we still need a traditional website?

A: In a word, yes. When you’re spending more time on social media, it’s tempting to think you could cut costs by pulling the plug on your old website. But the “traditional” website is still an essential part of your online identity, and there’s no easy way to replace it. We at the Help Desk chatted with Sean Campbell, the online engagement manager at Calgary’s Twist Marketing, to find out why. He says a lot of it comes down to social media’s limitations. “A website is a place where you control both the medium and the message,” he says. That differentiates it from platforms like Facebook and Twitter, where you have to put up with 140-character limits or static profiles.

There’s also the slight problem of search. Google’s not particularly friendly when it comes to social media services besides Google+, which means your Facebook page, Twitter feed and Pinterest boards don’t rank very highly (if at all) in search results. According to Campbell, “You need to have a website, whether you’re business-to-business or business-to-consumer, because that’s ultimately where people will find you.”

That brings up another point, which is that your website and your social media accounts serve different purposes. Social media is an indispensible tool for communicating with your existing customers, people who already know and love your business, who want to keep up with promotions and events. But when it comes to attracting new customers, the website is king. That’s where people who haven’t heard of your business are going to find out who you are, what you do and why they should care, information that’s not immediately obvious on your Twitter account, no matter how many followers you have.

If anything, what you should be doing right now is giving your website a little love. If you’ve been letting it collect dust while focused on your social media efforts, now’s the time to give it an update. Your website is a great way to tie all your accounts together, so make sure you’ve got links to all your social sites front and centre. If you’re currently using a static, landing-page style website, you might want to consider upgrading to a content management system (think WordPress) so your website has the same level of dynamic and engaging content you’re putting out over social media. You are putting out dynamic and  engaging content over social media, right? We thought so.

Have a question for the Help Desk? Email us at helpdesk@albertaventure.com

Next Month: Developing the perfect pitch, whether you’re financing a new startup, angling for a raise or promoting your existing business

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