When Tom and I first started Simpleweb our mission was to create “process driven websites” that retained quality, accessibility and value. We feel that we succeeded. Our own CMS was easy to use for users and simple to administer.
Three years later and things have moved on; a lot. WordPress is almost the universal CMS for small websites. With more and more business’s seeing the need for keeping their users up to-date. WordPress is making big inroads into SME websites as well, even the government is getting in on the action.
Smaller business’s though have had a notoriously hard time since the beginning of the web boom. They usually can’t afford a “proper” web designer/developer or digital agency, so either settle for a site through a student web designer; which can be great aesthetically, but usually there’s no support or updates and they become hugely frustrating. Even worse than this is the dreaded “site in a box”. Usually £199 for everything that you need for your online business or for giving you a migraine… Arrrggghh!
Is their a solution? We think so. Pretty much everybody knows how to use Facebook. Over half a billion users and growing, with anyone being able to set a up a “fan page”; a website inside of Facebook.
Setting up a fan page is easy and it gives you a way to post articles, events, quick updates, photo’s and videos. More importantly it lets you tap into an existing audience and grow a community around you and your business. It’s an online “neighborhood” if you like!
The downside to a fan page is that it’s inside Facebook. What we really need is visibility of this content outside of Facebook while keeping all of the benefits of a familiar system. No more learning bespoke or clunky technology. We already know how to use Facebook.
What’s needed then is a website that sits outside of Facebook, somehow connected to the one inside of Facebook. Recently Facebook has released an API called Open Graph. It lets web developers connect directly into the inner workings of Facebook so that we can pull and push information and data. All of which means building a website outside of Facebook populated with all of your daily content such as news and photos is now a viable option. You don’t ever need to worry about keeping your website up to date again.
By creating the best of both worlds, we have a website that has a nice web address, looks good, is easy to find by Google and a piece of cake to update.
For a single product or service based business we can’t think of a better alternative for providing businesses with a professional way to advertise online and create traffic, community and sales. Larger business’s are already tapping into this by creating microsites, small spinoffs from their larger websites.
These “connected” websites can also have Youtube, Flickr, Google maps and other existing services, creating a true socially connected website that can do so much more than traditional websites.
We’ve recently built some of our own:
Image credit: howtostartablogonline.net