Websites divide broadly into 3 different types:
Knowing your type of site can help with planning your current and future needs.
Most business sites fall into this category. A brochure site showcases the business. For many people it is what they see first. This is your front of house.
Brochure sites come is in sizes and shapes. They can be a very simple single page extension of your business card or a more complex build with blogs and newsletters.
Simple, single page brochure sites are the easiest and cheapest to do. They do enable you business to be found online. They do have a drawback. If they don't get updated, they start to go stale and will slowly sink in search engine rankings. I'd recommend a single page, static brochure site as a starter but it would be wide to plan to expand.
The next step up is a larger version with several pages and perhaps a contact form. These have the same dangers as the single page site. They can end up unloved, sitting in the corner, forgotten.
Many SEO gurus would recommend adding a blog to a website. This is because of the way Googlebot works. It will index a site. Then it comes back. If there are no changes, then it will wait longer before coming back. Google is constantly changing its algorithms. They want quality. Adding fresh, quality product also is a way of showing your audience what you are about. The more fresh , high quality content, the higher the rankings.
Aim to write fresh content for your site. Keep it relevant.
The main aim of a brochure site is to let the world know who you are. A good brochure site should generate leads. No matter what the size, give users a clear call to action. This could be filling out a contact form, subscribing to a newsletter or click on a phone number to make a call.
As the name suggests, this is where money changes hands. The most common commerce site is the shop that sells good and services.
Ecommerce continues to grow as buyers move online. This provides a lot of opportunities for businesses. Small players can compete along side the larger ones.
Research shows the 2 most important considerations for an ecommerce site are:
- Be upfront about pricing, especially delivery
- Site speed
Try to make your site fast as you can. Be upfront with users. This helps to build trust and give them the reason to stick with you
An application site generally has one over arching purpose. Examples of application sites include Xero.com for accounting, dating site tinder.com, customer relationship manager insightly.com and business messaging application slack.com.
Usually it involves a lot of bespoke code. They quite often, but not always also have a mobile phone app associated with them.
Generally, there is no out of the box solution for these. The software needs to be coded and tested. That makes application sites expensive to make.
E, all of the above
Very few sites fit completely into one of the above categories. Normally they are a mixture. For example the online shop will have a landing page designed for new visitors. This is the brochure part. It tells the visitor what you are about. Maybe even directs to some specials as its call to action. Returning visitors will have a login page where they can check the status of orders, previous orders and update preferences. This is designing for difference audience needs. That is a topic for a future blog post.