What Kind of Website
“I have a website because it’s an interesting tool, very – and quite unexpectedly – useful for my work. It’s become an archive and a fairly complete on-line portfolio, as well as offering an opportunity to write a little.” – John Howe
Your business has to have a website, right? It’s become an assumption in the modern world that if you’re in business and you’re serious, you’ll have a website.
So most businesses accept they need a website … but what kind of website? Elsewhere on the Yorkshire Powerhouse, we’ve published a guide to deciding whether you should design your own site (normally using a templated system) or whether you should employ a professional designer / developer. But an essential decision to also make is what ‘kind’ of website should you use.
The decision is normally quite simple and should be based on what’s right for your client (not what’s right for you!). Your client is using the internet for two reasons … to make a purchase or to research possible suppliers of a product or service. As such, you need to make sure your website is providing the right kind of information.
Here’s the Yorkshire Powerhouse guide to the different kinds of website and why you might consider them:
Download our marketing plan template for more help:
This is the most obvious kind of site. If you’re selling ‘things’ that can be dispatched in the post and there’s a demand for them, you might as well sell them on the internet (as well as any other route that’s right for you!). Here at the Yorkshire Powerhouse, we’ve seen all kinds of things sold on e-commerce sites, from baby grows to spectrometer servicing kits (!!!) and the consistent thing here is that the site is making it easy for the customer to purchase what they want.
Clearly the two dominant sites for e-commerce are Ebay and Amazon. These are highly established platforms that offer advantages and disadvantages depending on what you’re selling, its profit margins, etc, etc. The main advantage they have is mass market appeal. But they’ll put you up against a lot of other competitors selling similar things and it simply becomes a price war!
Owning your own e-commerce website can be a complicated affair and we’ve prepared a guide to the implications of this – click here to read more.
Page driven / brochure website:
This is the ‘normal’ approach to website design. The website is essentially an online brochure for your business, products and services. You have a series of pages that provide customers with all the information they need and a contact page to allow them to get in touch and make contact with you.
This kind of site is perfect for a ‘head office’. It allows them to present themselves as a highly professional, credible organisation. Perhaps of most use where they are being checked out by potential future clients or being assessed for a tender.
Most template based systems are geared around this ‘page driven’ approach. That doesn’t mean it’s the best for your business. Read on to find out more!
Blog / article websites:
You’re looking at one! The Yorkshire Powerhouse is a site based around sharing high quality information. Its purpose is to make the information helpful and easy to access. It is funded by advertising revenue and is effective so long as the content is genuinely of interest to the reader – you can be the judge!
Lead generating website:
When you’re thinking about what kind of website you need, you’ve probably never heard of a lead generating website!
The ‘problem’ with a traditional page based website is that it doesn’t actually generate many enquiries or leads. Most website visitors are ‘just looking’ and are not yet ready to engage with you. As the website owner, this can be quite frustrating as you see hundreds of visitors to your site and not that many enquiries.
A lead generating website generally uses ‘squeeze’ pages. These try to encourage the user to swap a little bit of personal information (say an email address) in exchange for a download containing information that might be of interest. Doing this, and assuming your site allows for it in its privacy settings, you can then send follow up emails to the person, gently nurturing them towards your business.
Personal brand website:
If you are a sole trader or consultant type business then its normal that your message is more ‘personal’ than ‘corporate’. This is not to say unprofessional, but more that the reason someone will deal with you is because of you and your personal skills and knowledge rather than some corporate message.
As such, a website that presents you to the world with some of your personality and charisma is more appropriate. A personal brand site being a combination of a blog / article website and a personal profile (such as a Linked In profile page).
A series of personal brand sites is also a powerful mechanism for a larger business. The business itself would have a more traditional ‘corporate’ website (page driven or lead generating type) and the customer facing staff could also have their own websites allowing them to improve their ‘authority’ on the internet and their individual expertise.
Take expert advice on website strategy. Your website should be the cornerstone of your business marketing but it should integrate into all your marketing and have a consistent message and style. Speak to a marketing strategist who understands the internet to make sure you get the right balance.