Your business may or may not already have a website but do you know what kind of website your business is using? While there are several types of websites consider what your business is and what you are trying to accomplish, typically most small business websites fall into the following categories:
- While informational in nature these sites typically offer dynamic components or activities to build brand and drive visitor participation.
- These types of sites sell directly to their visitors whether they sell physical or digital products. They typically employ a shopping cart or third-party service to process and place orders.
- Most websites fall into this category in some way but we also call these types of sites ‘brochure’ sites as they contain details about a business but do not sell anything directly to their visitors nor offer any dynamic interaction.
You should consider what your business needs are and what type of website might serve you best. While an Informational website may be a good start you could end up wanting to sell products down the road, this is why considering your design and development platform is important as being agile to future business needs can reduce cost and increase revenue by reducing difficulties down the road. Ultimately a business decides what type of site they want to have but you should consider a consultation at the very least to know all your options.
Have an idea of what you want your website to be but be prepared for growth or change later.
What would your website cost you?
A website has both upfront and continuing costs. Your upfront costs include development while continuing costs include hosting and maintenance. If you seek an outside developer you should be able to get an upfront cost for development so long as you provide a list of needs and wants for your website, but be aware if you change or alter your desires this could impact your overall development costs. Your type of site can also effect the overall continuing cost by changing the type of hosting environment needs that are required. Make sure you consider all of the cost elements upfront so you won’t be surprised, some fees you may not consider at first could include purchase of an SSL certificate for e-commerce activities, license cost of images for your use, purchase of additional domains for SEO optimization, depending on your platform for development licensing for plugins, themes, optimization and so on. You may also have increase cost if you select an inappropriate hosting platform and over use your bandwidth or storage space so it is important to plan accordingly.
If you already have a website that has been developed what does it cost you monthly? Annually? If you need updates do you pay a regular maintenance fee or by the incident for them? As with any resource you need to way the cost with the benefit to determine what your business can comfortably afford. Typically a clean and appealing informational site can be very cost effective solution for most small businesses, planned properly they can be expanded into other efforts as well with little additional cost such as complete re-development.
Your website can be expensive if you don’t know what to look out for but it doesn’t have to be.
What would a website do for me?
Your website is your first foothold into an online presence for your business. Depending on the type of website you use it can be used to generate sales leads, locate new clients, generate dialog, sell items, enable brand expansion, or even just answer common questions your business audience have. What your website does is entirely up to you and your business needs. Typically a good informational website can at the very least by used as a very inexpensive piece of marketing but if leveraged properly can be a great tool for communication to your business audience.
No matter what type of website you have it is merely a gateway to an audience of people that are not limited by any single demographic. This allows you to provide information or goods to a wide selection of people giving you a chance to build the type of relationship you wish with them and your business.
Your website is not limited to a center demographic like most marketing it is only limited by what your business actually does.
With millions of internet users your website is placing your business out there for a non-demographic specific audience. Which depending on the type of website you decide your business could use could generate revenue merely from sharing your location, contact details, offered services, or selling goods directly. A business shouldn’t ask if they need a website but rather what type of website would work best for them.
Your website is your swiss army knife of your business.