It happens quite frequently that I talk to small business owners and the topic of website vs. social medium comes up. Quite often someone explains that they have chosen not to have a website for their business, and have a Facebook page or LinkedIn profile instead.

There are a number of reasons they give for not having a website; budget, too difficult to make, not enough time to maintain, etc. etc. Alternatively, they think having a Facebook page or LinkedIn profile is sufficient for an online presence.

Let me say that I believe that some types of businesses can be quite successful without having an online presence. A local business with a local clientele where word of mouth is key in generating new business, can do very well without ever having an online presence. Or, placing an ad for that matter.

However, if you elect to have an online presence it should be a website. Not just any website, but a website with a domain that you own. There is a big difference between that and a social medium. With the first, you own the URL, with social media you do not.

Some social media are free. For some you pay a premium to receive additional services, but even with payment, you do not own the URL. This makes it risky to build your online platform on a social medium like Facebook or one of its competitors. The company may cease to exist at some point, or develop its features in such a way that it is not what you want it to be (even if it is free). Or, you may break some rule you were unaware off and they cancel your account. Just read the following story and weep. Another possibility is that someone has registered their business name as a brand and their name happens to be the same as your business name. Bye bye fabulous Facebook URL!

Of course, there are some other reasons why a website is preferred over a social medium, but it all comes back to having control. As an entrepreneur, you should want that control.