For the past ten years or so, I have always professed that every business needs a web site.  I could never think of a situation where a business could not benefit from having a web site.  This still holds true. However, what I define as a web site has changed due to the rising importance of social media.

Recently, a prospective client was questioning the need for a traditional web site.  Couldn’t a Facebook or LinkedIn profile do the trick?   At first, I almost reverted to my automated response: you have to have a web site.  Suddenly I recalled some comprehensive Facebook pages. Look at the Burger King or Coca Cola Facebook pages. You will see many tabs, video, and information.  It actually is a “web site.”   Why does Coke or Burger King put so much into a Facebook page? Well, if there are 600+ million fans on Facebook, it makes more sense to come to them instead of trying to get them to come to you.

Having one site, whether it is a traditional web site or a social media site, is the issue.  Businesses need to appear in multiple online places.  Face it (no pun intended), one web site is no longer adequate.   There are a number of reasons, but the top ones I see are findability and engagement. You need to be found and you need to be communicating with your market – in their space.

The best term I have heard to describe the need for multiple web locations is to have a web presence. This translates to being in a number of places.  A blog or forum, a Facebook page, a LinkedIn profile, articles, press releases and other “web spots” all contribute to building a web presence.

Understanding what each application offers, along with its limitations can take time.  It is easy to feel overwhelmed.  The best way to start building a web presence is to know where your market is (where they go to communicate and share) and what they want to know (what are the topical issues and interests).  Once you have this information, you can expand from a web site mentality to a web presence mind set.

Share your thoughts about web presence.  Will social media sites replace web sites as they continue to add more features?