Website or Social Media?

Website or Social Media?

I Have Social Media Accounts So That’s All I Need, Right?

Over the years I’ve had only a few potential clients decide not to do a website option instead to just have a social media presence. Working exclusively in Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and now TikTok.

I’m not going to bad mouth social media. I’ve been very involved with it in the past, especially on Twitter, where I’ve grown to over 100,000 followers. It’s gotten me involved with several national brands like Verizon Wireless, Ford Motor Company and Yamaha Music.

But social media took a turn about five years ago. The algorithms changes, the monitoring changed, and the content changed. Instead of arguing over sports teams, mobile phone operating systems and blue/gold dresses, tribes started to form along political lines, then COVID lines, and now masking lines. These tribes has cancelled celebrities, ruined friendships, and inevitably, cost companies customers.

Pros Of Social Media

There are many compelling reasons to lean on social media accounts to interact with your customers. Most are very good reasons, but a few are impressively negative. Here’s some of the positive.

    1. Reach large numbers of subscribers quickly – Depending on your following, you can reach out to dozens, hundreds, thousands, or potentially millions of customers, real and potential, at once.
    2. Sharing is incredibly easy – Content created and shared on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or TikTok can be shared on other platforms with single clicks. Posts can also easily be shared to other users, giving you basically  free leads.
    3. Posted to multiple platforms – Photos, text and some video can be very easily shared on these systems at the same time using the proper tools. Or shared one at a time in very shot order.
    4. Streams can be imported into your website – All of these social platforms can be displayed on websites using some embed code or plugins. This provides new content to the site easily.
    5. Nearly instant interaction with followers – Comments, chats and likes show up in your feed as soon as a visitor initiates the interaction. If available, the account owner can react nearly instantly to the comment, capturing the “hot lead” almost like being there in person.

Cons of Social Media

So I just presented a pretty good argument of why a social media presence is a great way to interact and basically sell to your followers and possible customers.

But now, I want to talk about why relying strictly on social media is a horrible idea, and then why a website solves all of these problems.

    1. They can disappear in moments – Remember MySpace? How about Friendster? Vine? Google+ (or Wave, or Buzz)? Clubhouse is still around, but is it really? Building a following in a particular social media platform is slow, and possibly money and resource intensive. If the platform disolved or falls out of favor, all of the time, money and resources are wasted.
    2. They are senstive to political and social pressure – I’m going to try and keep this an apolitical as possible. Sites like Facebook and Twitter have a track record to responding to media and social pressure, and to supress or encourage content based on that pressure. So while it may be good that some content is muted from Russia in this wartime, what about the GOOD content coming from there we are missing? Content that may be valuable to industry, or products that are desired or maybe critical to business or lives?What happens when content or events coming from your state, or city have been deemed to be punished in the “algo,” pushing it down or even removing it from the feeds? What if your industry isn’t popular for whatever reason or has some negative event? Your content could be seen by few, or even no one, based on the direction of the social media companies.This may seem far-fetches or crying wolf, but brands like Carhartt, Peleton, Starbucks, Disney, and even Dr. Seuss and Mr. Potato Head have all had their time in social media jail. Their marketing and executive teams struggled to get out and fix the problem with various degrees of success.
    3. Algorithms – No one knows exactly how social algorithms work. Basically the more popular something it, the more eyes it gets show to. So as people click or stop to view in on their scroll, it moves the post up in the platform, so more people see it, and more people click or stop to view it… it goes “viral.” But you can’t MAKE something go viral. It has to be the right content at the right time and get shown to the right people. Tougher than it sounds unless you’re a celebrity, have something really entertaining, or can find another angle.And all it takes is something unseen to bury your content. Just a couple of days ago a judge ruled it was OK for airlines and other companies to not enforce mask mandates. Twitter, Facebook and other platforms lit up with photos, videos and other content for and against this decision. You could have had the best post of your life on social media, and it coudl have gone unseen.
    4. See number 5 above – Remember the nearly instant interaction with visitors? Not always a positive. Many of us have been drawn into a Twitter war, or Facebook argument with a number of tweets going back and forth between the two (or more) parties. This can draw out emotion, create a very public record of the dispute, and often allow others to become involved for one reason or another.The term “keyboard warrior” is there for a reason. It’s easy to lob bombs from a distance if all you’re going to get back is words, or at worst a block. Our own social media tribes are often like-minded, and may provide only positive feedback, with the negative feedback users not willing to respond to you if you’re wrong for fear of being unfollowed or tearing a friendship.So interact cautiously. It could escalate very, very quickly.

How Can a Website Help?

I’ve told you why, and why not to rely strictly on your social media accounts for your business or organizations. Now I’m going to say why you still NEED a website.

    1. Domain lends credibility – Every try to find a website for a company or organization you saw on Facebook only to be either redirected back to social media, or just nothing? Having your own website and domain name proves you area real, much like a toll free number a decade ago.
    2. Design based on your brand – Does your business have certain colors, images, and fonts? Your website can be designed using all of this, not just a header image and link color. Websites allow all sorts of design options.
    3. Central property to drive social media traffic – Want to disappear? Let your potential customer stay in social media. By driving them off Facebook and to your website you can capture them more easily instead of being scrolled off the screen by the next dance video.
    4. Easily controlled conversations – Forms can help capture the right messages from visitors, or even subdue negative or spammy comments. Research has been done that by asking for more info will only get forms completed by people who are interested in your products or services.
    5. Track where your content is coming from – It’s a good bet that virtually all of your Twitter traffic is coming from Twitter. Sames with TikTok, Facebook, etc. But if you drive traffic from those sites to your website, a simple look at Google Analytics can reveal what social sites are pushing visitors to your website. So you can determine if a social platform is working.
    6. Insulate your presence from social pressure – There are only a couple of things that can take a website down. Technical issues, your domain registrar, and your host. Technical issues happen and are usualy easily fixed with responsive experts and backups. Domain registrars like GoDaddy and Namecheap are very hesitant to respond to social and political pressure, so the odds of a domain being taken down unless it’s very inflamatory is virtually none.The host is a bit of a weak spot. Many websites and organizions have been cancelled by their hosts. But they are usually very provocative brands like Alex Jones or the like. And even they can find people and companies willing to host their websites with enough money and willingness to host offshore.The bottom line is you can keep a website up with very little to worry about, but a social media account can be cancelled for a variety of reasons.

Again, I’m not saying there’s no value in having social media accounts for your business. But, relying strictly on those accounts and not having a central website to drive all of that traffic to is limiting your capabilities and potentially putting your acquired community at risk.

A website, even a very simple site, provides a place for SEO to find you, organic searches to find you, and a valid place for social media interests to land.

Here’s the sales pitch – if you need some help with designing, developing or even just hosting your website, contact BeBizzy Consulting today!

Google Cancels Mobile First Indexing Indefinitely

Google Cancels Mobile First Indexing Indefinitely

Google Was Targeting March 2021 for Mobile Indexing

Way back in the middle of the year of our Lord, 2020, Google announced is was going to launch mobile first indexing in March 2021.

What that meant was, sites that were mobile friendly, responsive or mobile designed were going to give preference over desktop only sites. Google would look index the websites, keywords, and other ranking factors.

But the target date kept pushing further and further into 2021, and recently Google announced it was cancelling… not postponing,.. mobile first indexing.

DEFINITIONS

Mobile-First Index : Mobile-first indexing means Google predominantly uses the mobile version of the content for indexing and ranking.

 

Why Cancel Mobile First Indexing?

There are many suspected reasons, but Google wrote “after analyzing the sites that are not yet indexed mobile-first, we’ve determined that some of these sites are still not ready to be shifted over due to various, unexpected challenges that they’re facing. Because of these difficulties, we’ve decided to leave the timeline open for the last steps of mobile-first indexing.”Your content goes here. Edit or remove this text inline or in the module Content settings. You can also style every aspect of this content in the module Design settings and even apply custom CSS to this text in the module Advanced settings.

Google has been hinting at mobile first indexing for about five years, so it’s mind-blowing it’s not done. But when you look at the scope of the project, currently slightly less than 2 billion websites, I guess it’s not completely out of the question. But there has to be a deeper reason that some one-page hand built websites are dragging their feet.

Why I Suspect The Project Was Cancelled

I have two reasons why I think Google canceled their mobile first indexing project.

  • The pandemic shifted our device use for searching Google.

    In 2019 and back, many of us were sitting at our desks during the day on company-owned computers, and used our mobile devices to search for personal items or personal business. When COVID-19 forced many people to work remotely, we started searching from our personal laptops or company provided computers from our home networks, which meant there was a bit more leniency on non-work related searches. Because of this maYour content goes here. Edit or remove this text inline or in the module Content settings. You can also style every aspect of this content in the module Design settings and even apply custom CSS to this text in the module Advanced settings.ny websites started to see a reduction in mobile traffic.Below is a comment I posted on a Tweet from Lily Ray (@lilyraynyc), a respected SEO expert.

  • Government and Financial Website Were Not Ready

    Google said they canceled the move because some websites just weren’t ready. While there is no hard evidence, my guess is that some government websites, along with some financial and banking systems just hadn’t been made mobile ready and prepared for the search. The only organizations with enough pull to stop Google from doing anything would most likely be ones of this sort.Your content goes here. Edit or remove this text inline or in the module Content settings. You can also style every aspect of this content in the module Design settings and even apply custom CSS to this text in the module Advanced settings.

    Both of these organization types are very slow to adapt new technology, both for the size of the organizations, and security. In fact, some of the only websites that work better on Internet Explorer are government websites, and until recently they were some of the few still using Flash, along with some news sites. So it makes sense that these would be the types of websites holding up the project, with enough weight to slow down or stop it.

Do I Need To Build or Move My Website To Mobile First?

Well, the answer is technically, no. As long as it’s usable on mobile devices, or you just don’t get that much traffic from phones or tablets, your SEO meta data is set up correctly, you have good content and the page structure is good, you should still see good results from Google searches.

However, a majority of websites are currently seeing their organic traffic is coming from phones, iPads and other mobile devices. Consumer-facing sites and some B2B sites are seeing traffic over 50% mobile. If that’s the case, or you’re building a new website, I suggest building a responsive website to better serve that traffic, or to get ahead before Google attempts to launch mobile first indexing again.

If you need help making your website responsive,some help with search engine optimization,  or need a new site, feel free to contact BeBizzy Consulting.

What are your thoughts on why Google canceled the mobile first indexing project? Send them to me @BeBizzy on Twitter!

Getting Inspiration For Your Website Redesign

Getting Inspiration For Your Website Redesign

Where Do You Start On A Redesign

One of the critical parts of website research is what you do, and maybe more importantly, what you do NOT like on how a website looks and works. Often clients refer to competitors when they point out these likes and dislikes, which is OK, but can force these clients into a corner.

But I would encourage you to look outside your competitors, and even your business classification for inspiration. Find a look that is user friendly, modern and gets your business and culture across to your clients.

Getting Inspiration For Your Website Redesign

by BeBizzy Consulting | BeBizzy Break Podcast

Sites To Inspire

Apart from just surfing the web looking for inspiration there are places dedicated to inspire design. Here we’re going to list five sites that can provide some layouts, functions and tones for your potential redesign.

Again, it’s important to look past the content and to see the design, the layout and even some of the plugins that can be implemented into your site when it’s time to discuss a redesign or initial launch. This can save DOZENS of hours of redesigning and tweaking layouts in the long run. Don’t forget to look at and discuss fonts, heading and text sizes, colors, image sizes, social media feeds, calendars and anything else you think you need.

#WPWednesday – WordPress 5.4 

WordPress 5.4 scheduled for launch 3/31/2020 with several “block editor” improvements. Not sure an update during these turbulent times is a good idea, but the updates include :  

  • Several “block editor” improvements
  • Social Icons block – allows easy insertion of social media profiles (FB, TW, IG)
  • Buttons block – allow adding more than one button per line
  • Better background color options for blocks
  • Drag & drop an image to the Featured Image section. Great for social sharing and blog images.
  • Select text in a block and change its color instead of changing the entire block
  • Fixed mobile toolbar on mobile

As always, run backups and take other precautions before you run the update. Good luck!

What are your favorite ways to be inspired on a website redesign? Leave them below, or send them to me @BeBizzy on Twitter!

Getting Inspiration For Your Website Redesign

by BeBizzy Consulting | BeBizzy Break Podcast