Imagine this: You have a Facebook page and you’ve built up a really large following. You have thousands of likes and business is booming. Then, for some reason that you cannot fathom, Facebook suspends your account. What would you do? How would your fans be able to contact you or get news from your business?
There are two things that could happen after Facebook suspends your account, and which category you fall into depends on whether or not you have your own website.
You don’t have your own website, so you lose your major, or potentially only, touch point with your customers. You won’t be able to contact them, and they won’t be able to contact you. As far as your customers are concerned, you just fell off the face of the planet. And they need to go find another company to replace whatever goods or services you were providing to them.
You have your own website that you have been driving people to from Facebook. You are able to put up a blog post or a notice on your homepage, or maybe both, telling your followers what happened. You let them know there’s a problem with your Facebook page and you’re working to get it fixed, but in the mean time they can check in at your website for all of their needs. And even if they don’t know about your website, if they Google you when they wonder “what the heck just happened?” (and you’ve done your homework to make sure you rank alright in the search results) they’ll find your website, and all will be well.
Does Scenario #1 sound scary? Well, it should. I’m not picking on Facebook here, because I could easily have used any social media site in this example. Any time you rely on another service as your only way to get in contact with your customers, you are always at their mercy. They can choose to suspend or terminate your account and there’s usually not much you can do about it. Maybe you can talk with them, find out why, and get the situation resolved, but that’s certainly not a guarantee.
The only way you can make sure that your presence on the internet is in your hands is to have your own website. If you own your own domain name and you control the hosting of your website (or at least, you choose which company is hosting your website and can change it if you want to), you and your customers will not be at the mercy of another company’s policies.
If you don’t have your own website yet, don’t panic! Next week, I’m going to explain why WordPress is a terrific way to set up a website that even a non-techie person can maintain.