By Brian Blum
If you’re one of the millions of Facebook users who have tried to set up a business page on the leading social network, you know that the basic offering is pretty much that – basic. And if you also have a website, you have to maintain it separately.
) aims to change that. The Israeli company’s free tools allow businesses and individuals to transform their standalone websites into Facebook business pages easily. MyWebees does this by re-sizing and re-ordering a non-Facebook site so that it fits into Facebook, either as its own business page or a pop-up from the user’s personal Facebook Timeline.
“We can fit most sites into about 30 percent of the original while still keeping them usable in terms of the user interface,” says Ziv Koren, MyWebees founder and CEO.
The process has taken off. Since its April 2011 alpha launch, MyWebees went from zero to 27,000 users (by June 2012) creating their own Facebook business pages. It’s mostly micro-businesses: people who work from home, photographers, real estate agents, yoga teachers, architects.
Koren came up with the idea for MyWebees after his architect brother-in-law complained to him that his shiny new website, into which he’d invested a lot of money, was getting no traffic. Koren – who spent 10 years managing a computer unit in the Israeli Air Force, followed by a stint at the Israeli company Amdocs – took on his brother-in-law’s all-too-common plight as a personal challenge. MyWebees was born with $700,000 from the Israeli Chief Scientist’s incubator program and several private investors.
MyWebees is not the only player in the build-a-better-business-page space. Companies like Pagemodu and TabSites help you create a business page by adding functionality to the page itself. Koren says that can be complicated for novice users. MyWebees is unique in the way it brings an external website into Facebook (the company has applied for a patent on the implementation).
MyWebees also can take your Facebook data and turn it into a five-page mobile-optimized website with all your critical information – the About Us and Products pages, for example – so that when people search for your site on an Android or iPhone, they won’t receive your regular site that requires pinching and squeezing.
In the coming months, the company will be releasing an additional product that reverses the original process entirely and generates a fully functional website from the data on your Facebook page.
Yes, you can do that on your own without MyWebees, but, Koren says, “Adding these sorts of things is not something the average business can do on its own, nor is it something it wants to. Sometimes just updating pictures on a site requires you to go back to the person who created it. On the other hand, everyone knows how to upload images to Facebook or a video to YouTube.”
Go play in traffic
And all this is for free – not a bad deal for the consumer, but presumably not so great for MyWebees.
However, Koren and his company up the ante by enticing their substantial user base with an array of paid options designed to attract even more traffic. These $5 and $15 options include add-on apps, from social sharing buttons and coupons to Facebook “badges” (virtual awards you can send to your fans) to enhanced picture galleries. The more you pay, the more functionality you receive. Both packages remove the ads that are included in the free version.
While paid users are still a fraction of the total, they’re growing steadily – in April 2012 the base increased 2.6% compared to only 1.4% in February.
MyWebees has some other goodies that set it apart from the competition. Users can network simply by friending each other on Facebook. Then your site appears in their toolbar and theirs in yours.
If you then agree to post one status update a day to your Facebook Timeline from your new business partner’s site, your alliance partner will do the same for you. The result is that your site will be seen by a much larger number of friends and fans.
“If I have 200 followers of my page and you have 300, your posts will now be exposed to a combined total of 500 fans from both sites, and vice versa,” Koren explains. “If you can’t get the traffic to your website, then let’s get the website to where the traffic is.”
With 900 million users and climbing, and a successful IPO behind it, there’s no question that Facebook is where the traffic can be found. MyWebees plans to accompany you all the way to your own “exit” into the fast lane.