Here’s my response: it will ultimately depend on what your online goals are. If you’re involved in a hobby and have no real intent to conduct any sort of business, then a social media page might be all you need. However, if you want to be able to offer your own products/services, be taken seriously, have your own online space, and achieve long term success for you and your business, then you will need your own website.
Pros of Social Media
At first glance, it looks like setting up a social media page is a quick and easy way to establish your online presence. After all,
- it’s free to set up a social media page
- you need very little (if any) technical expertise to set one up
- someone else takes care of the online updates and maintenance (if a major glitch were to happen on Facebook for instance, they have their own team to take care of it)
- since Facebook and several other platforms are so popular and have so much shared content, they are optimized for search engines
- most social media platforms have built in marketing tools to enable you to get your name out to as many people as possible
Cons of Social Media
The above benefits might seem great on the surface. However, you also have to consider:
- you are basically on “rented land”
- if they don’t like what you’re posting or what you’re doing, then they could “kick you out” and disable your account
- you have to play by their rules; they can also change their rules anytime (consider how Facebook continually changes their algorithms)
- if a certain platform were to shut down, then you would lose all your content and start from scratch elsewhere (consider the case of MySpace or Squidoo)
- you’re not really able to customize your personal online space; you have to stick with the confines of your platform
Pros of Your Own Website
If you’re serious about the long term success of you and your business, you’ll want your own website. More specificially, I strongly recommend getting your own WordPress website because:
- you’ll have your very own space online (instead of setting up shop in someone else’s shop, you have your very own shop and call your own shots)
- having your own domain (www.mybiz.com) will make you look more professional and contribute to your credibility
- you’ll be able to offer your own products/services, run ads, and conduct your own business
- you own all the content on your website (since it’s your online space, there’s nobody to tell you what you can or cannot put on your own website)
- you don’t need any special coding or programming skills to create or update a WordPress website
- search engines also love WordPress websites
Cons of Your Own Website
Although I recommend getting your own WordPress website over your own social media page anytime, this has its own cons. For instance,
- you have to invest in your own domain (~$10 – $15 per year) and hosting (~$10 – $20 per month)
- you are responsible for your own website maintenance (ensuring the latest version of WordPress is installed, keeping the theme files and plugin files updated, etc.)
- it can take time and energy building your website
- depending on what kind of website you’re building, there might be some technical expertise needed (such as setting up an SSL certificate to encrypt your website and make it safe to accept credit card payments on your website)
- if a major bug or glitch happens on your website, you are responsible for the damage (though there are plenty of cybersecurity plugins to prevents bugs and keep hackers away)
What’s the Verdict?
With all factors considered, what is the best course of action?
Is getting your own WordPress website worth the time, energy, and maintenance?
Are you better off going to “rented land” and setting up a Facebook, Instagram, or other page for yourself?
Here’s my verdict: make the most of both! I would encourage you to consider having both your own WordPress website AND at least one social media page. Since Facebook is currently the largest social media platform, I would start with Facebook.
Let’s suppose you’re a shop owner. Would it be better to display items just in your shop alone, or display items in your shop and also rent space from someone else’s store for displaying items? If this other person’s store went out of business, you would still have your shop in place.
In a similar manner, you could have your own website and Facebook page (or other social media page) where you display what you do. You could use Facebook marketing to drive people to your offers and your website. If someway somehow you got banned from Facebook, you would still have your website intact.
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