#Sponsored by Verisign

By Rieva Lesonsky

Social media can do a lot for a small business owner. It gives you a window into what your customers are saying about your business. It helps you keep a finger on the pulse of the latest trends that affect your business. A social media presence also tells customers your business is current with the times.

But no matter how strong your company’s social media presence is, there are some things social media probably just can’t do in the same way a website can.

Here are three business goals a professional website can help you reach:

Goal 1: Help build stronger brand awareness. What overall impression do prospects get when they visit your business’s social channels or see your social posts? Unfortunately, even if your business’s logo and brand colors are orange and green, the main thing visitors will likely see is a sea of the social platform’s branding.

Your business website is 100% your own online environment. You control it, you make the decisions, and you can showcase your brand exactly the way you want. Bonus: You’ll reach customers who aren’t on social media.

Goal 2: Help generate more leads. Sure, you can share a little bit about your products and services on social media — there just may not be enough room to tell the whole story!

Do you sell a complex product or service and need to educate prospects about your offerings before they buy? Having your own website gives you the flexibility to share everything from testimonial videos and webinars to downloads and spec sheets (plus your leads form, of course). Are you a retailer? Then use your website to show off your products from every possible angle (plus zoom capability and maybe even video). You’ve also got plenty of room to include all the descriptive details that customers need to make a decision.

Goal 3: Help streamline your payment processes. Can you sell directly on social media? The answer is “it depends.” Different social media platforms have different rules and collecting payment for a sale on social media pages can be complex.

No matter what industry you’re in, having your own website gives you more flexibility in closing sales. With a website, you’ll have control over your online sales and payment collection processes and might even save yourself commissions and fees.

Social + Website: Better Together

Social media is an important element in a small business owner’s marketing toolkit—but it’s not an end in itself. Instead use social media to drive users to your business website, where they can learn more about your business, reach out to you and make a purchase in your own business environment.

Take the first step in building your website: Register a domain name (that is, a web address). It’s easy to do (search for domain names here), and it gives you a head start on helping build your brand.

Website stock photo by Andrey Suslov/Shutterstock