Website or Blog, Pinterest or Facebook Page or….The Problem of Plenty For Start-Ups

9 Jan

My friend Shoma launched a new recipe/ food related web-site today . My other friend Sumanya on the other hand started with a facebook page for her nameplate making business which she runs out of home. I want to release a portal for moms – not a new idea, but sorely needed (i think) in the avatar i envisage it. The question is – should i create a website/ or will a facebook page suffice. Or maybe, because i do want this to be contributory/ interactive, i shd just make it a blog!

Sounds familiar? I’m sure a lot of small scale enterprises, attracted by the ubiquitousness of social media and the ease of marketing their business using these channels face these problems. 

So what is the answer? While i do have my own point of view here, i started by what a start-up would do – “Just Google It”. And came upon many “definitional” differences between blogs, websites and facebook pages. (no advice mind you :)).

Just so you understand,

A blog IS a kind of a website – (infact, its name comes from weB-LOG). THe only difference is that generally, a website has content that is fairly core to your business and so “static” i.e., it doesnt change/ get refreshed every once so often. In contrast, a blog is MEANT to have new content every day/ week/ hour/ minute — and the whole aspect is designed to show the changes in chronological order. Due to this, a website is typically informative about the company, and very often directed towards purchase (think e-commerce). A blog is more thought leadership-ish. Jeff Korhan has a nifty take on this – he says a Website is a digital storefront while a blog is a digital magazine.

A facebook page obviously, being a later avatar of all things digital, tries to combine the best of both. Having said that, the essential difference is that in a website – you wait for your audience/ customer/ reader to COME to YOU – i.e., you have to attract her to your destination. Once done, however, the audience is in a non competitive scenario – as she is consuming only your content. On the other hand, in a facebook page, your content is GOING to WHERE your customer IS – i.e., her newsfeed! Which means, that your content has to be compelling enough to even attract attention as the reader is scrolling through her newsfeed! This is the reason why facebook is often used as one of the media to draw traffic to websites (when both exist – as they often do). Per Jeff Bullas, facebook is not killing the web-site, in fact they co-exist.

Add to this the fact that all lines between different channels are blurring anyway! Web-sites now have blogs, they also have facebook pages. Blog platforms like wordpress and blogger now give you templates where your blog can be turned into a website. And facebook now has monetization options a la e-commerce. This convergence means, that there is no true form now.

Confusing, isn’t it? i’m sure you’re saying – OK, OK, i get the differences, so which one should I start with?

I have 2 pieces of advice here:

a) Think about WHAT you are trying to do with your business and with the digital marketing of it – Sumanya just wanted to spread awareness amongst a “manageable” circle. She views her business as a one man operation which will satisfy her creative urges, keep her busy as well as get her some recognition and pocket money. She is not into scaling it. It makes sense for her to use her circle of facebook friends who will spread the word to their facebook friends and so on – enabling creative appreciation via “likes” (see my other post on likes) and a steady stream of incoming requests. Shoma on the other hand, having been an entrepreneur, does want to keep herself open to the possibility of scaling her business (to eventually sell off). Hence she used the web-site format. She also, incidentally, has a blog embedded – that satisfies her creative writing urge just as the web-site itself satisfies her creative cooking one. She also “marketed” her web-site through her facebook page…See the possibilities?

b) But most importantly, and honestly, my BIGGEST piece of advice to you is – start with whichever one you know, are comfortable with, and can manage easily yourself! The main objective is to GET UP there on the web, it doesn’t at this stage matter too much – HOW!

As we all know, in the garage mode, we entrepreneurs have so much to do – and the biggest lesson we learn in this, is focus – on the core competence. Its very easy to get distracted by the myriad things we have to do. But after all, it IS necessary to get some kind of marketing done – and a digital presence is the easiest. Given the fact that all forms have all others embedded in them anyways, i would say – till you grow large enough to warrant specialised marketing and/ or can hire these folks who can market for you, just get started! You can refine/ add/ migrate whatever when the need arises.

So, ladies and gents, choose your poison – but just DO it…..err, on my idea? so, maybe i shd do facebook….no, – blog….no, website….ok, all three……

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5 Responses to “Website or Blog, Pinterest or Facebook Page or….The Problem of Plenty For Start-Ups”

  1. Avinash January 9, 2013 at 6:10 am #

    Nicely written and Interesting…. I would just add that any scalable business needs a website for telling the world who it is and what is does. In addition, it would help to have a FB page to engage and like a real time MR tool almost, and then a blog for its thought leaders to communicate with the world. There is also the concept of a FB Group distinct from a FB page. And that is what I have created for my travel concept to engage like minded people!

    • joshsang January 9, 2013 at 10:42 am #

      true. i also didnt add on the post that this is relevant primarily to B2C businesses. IN the B2B world, the options as well as final choice will be very different..

  2. Shoma January 9, 2013 at 7:25 am #

    Hey, very nice write-up and much needed in this age of ever evolving media channels! Although I started my website just for fun a couple of days back primarily to build a community of cooking enthusiasts and satisfy my creative urges, I am already seeing possibilities of taking it to the next level and monetizing it if I really want to – and your write up seems to validate that :). Should this be our next venture :)??

    • joshsang January 9, 2013 at 10:41 am #

      sounds like a good idea 🙂

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