Many small businesses know the importance of having an online presence, but are not ready to build and support a website for their business. Instead, a trend we have seen growing in the last couple of years is companies redirecting their social media or e-commerce site to a domain name. That way, when they are ready to build a company website, they can easily leverage their existing domain name and all of the marketing assets they have no doubt included it on, like advertisements, business cards, letterhead, t-shirts, etc.
Looking specifically at Facebook, in March 2013, we saw a total of 78,664 businesses redirecting to their Facebook pages from a .com domain name, an increase of about 25 percent year-over-year and an almost 40 percent increase from the year-and-a-half prior. That’s pretty impressive growth, indicative both of the popularity of Facebook and also that these companies recognize that a domain is the center of every business’ online presence because no matter their online location – Facebook today, social site du jour tomorrow – a domain name can move and scale with the business.
A social media presence, like a Facebook page, or a hosted e-commerce site, like Etsy, are great options for an online presence for those small businesses that don’t have the time or the funds to develop a website. It’s important to keep in mind though, that if you take this route, you are subject to the terms and conditions of the hosting site, which means they can change your online presence at any point and there’s really nothing you can do about it. For this reason, owning your online presence through a website is always optimal because it allows you to control your brand and image online.
However, if you elect to build your online presence through a hosted site, like Facebook, many registrars provide easy instructions for setting this up when you register your domain name. That way, you will have a single address on the Web no matter which social network you use—even if you change networks or move to your own fully featured company website eventually. You will also get the benefit of an easily-remembered domain name address to use for marketing, as well as a company-branded email through the domain name.
*Facebook and Etsy are trademarks of Facebook, Inc, and Etsy, Inc. respectively.