We’ve all heard the age-old and ambiguous question “how long is a piece of string?” Its non-sensical and of course, there are no definitive answers. Well, the same can be said for the commonly asked question “what type of website is best for my business?” Again, there are no definitive answers. Not until you have sat down with the likes of cliquedmedia.com, the leading web design company in Ireland, undertaken and in-depth analysis and answered a few basic questions.
TAKE A STRATEGIC APPROACH
The type of website that you choose to represent your business, is not a decision that should be taken lightly. Consider the fact that the internet has become the main source of information for shoppers, and more often, the place where they make their purchase.
As a result, websites have quickly become the primary online touchpoint for customers, in their relationship with brands and organization’s.
With this in mind, the process of deciding on what type of website to use, should begin with some in-depth reviewing and planning, much the same process that you would follow in developing your marketing or business strategy.
The process should start with analysing your business, to determine the role that digital marketing (and hence the website), will play in the overall marketing and distribution strategy. Will online be the primary route to market, or will it play a support role to a more traditional strategy? This is important, because it will determine the level of investment required, how sophisticated your site needs to be, and of course, what type of website it will become.
Accurately analysing and describing your target market/s is also a critical decision affecting the type of website required. You cannot design an effective site, without first understanding the specific needs, lifestyles, attitudes, and consumer behavior traits of the target market. Why spend millions on a new website if your customers still prefer to source information elsewhere, or even to purchase in-store, rather than online.
The main question to answer upfront, is how to provide customers with the most positive and hassle-free on-site experience? The answer lies in selecting the appropriate type of website, that will address customer needs as effectively and seamlessly as possible.
Having identified the strategy, you can set meaningful and measurable objectives for your website and move forward with your decisions.
TYPICAL TYPES OF WEBSITE
This is where it can get confusing for the layman. But if you’ve gone through the strategic process, this should have provided more insight to make the right choice. There are literally hundreds of types of websites, and whichever you choose depends on what type of business you are in and what it is that you want to achieve with the site. Some websites can be short-term in nature and others more permanent.
The following are just a few examples of websites to consider, each with its own goals and objectives, and dependent on the type of business involved:
CORPORATE/ BUSINESS WEBSITES
Corporate or business websites are the order of the day for any organisation that wants to compete on an even keel in the online market. It is the flagship for the brand and a focus point for customers. The site must provide information on the company, its products, and services and where to purchase these.
A professionally designed corporate website should reflect the image and identity of the brand or organisation that it represents. Corporate colours and logos should reflect what is experienced in the physical world, and the site must look and feel familiar to customers.
For smaller companies who want to build their own sites, there are tools like WordPress available. As your company grows however, you’ll need the services of a professional web design company to design and build a more sophisticated and responsive website.
If you’ve ever searched the net for a product or service to buy online, then you will have experienced e commerce sites. These sites are proliferating as consumers migrate to online purchasing. They are designed specifically for shoppers to search for products and then to buy them instantaneously 24/7.
e Commerce sites should be designed to entice and to offer seamless purchasing, within a secure environment. Creating perceptions of trust is the key to success. Online security, with credible payment options is paramount, as is a good returns policy.
For small businesses, several options are available online to self-create an e commerce site. However, serious e commerce for bigger companies, is for the professional website designers such as cliquedmedia.com, who have the necessary expertise and abilities.
SOCIAL MEDIA WEBSITES
Being available for customers 24/7 and having the ability to interact with them, is a key strategy for achieving customer loyalty. Neglect customers at your peril.
You’d have to be deaf and blind not to know Facebook or Instagram and the like. Social media websites have blossomed globally. Its where people go to share and catch up on the latest news and gossip. In many cases, social media is a source of the most trusted news and views, where brands can be made and even broken.
Again, there are tools available that allow you to build your own social media site. But with the risks involved, it is best for companies to use professional website designers who will ensure that the site, its contents, and the ongoing interrelationships with users, are managed 24/7.
No matter what it’s purpose, your company definitely needs a strong and credible presence on the internet. A website does not need to be overly expensive or sophisticated, if there is a clear reason for the site and it has good design qualities.
There are horses for courses, so they say, and not every website is designed to achieve sales conversions. Sometimes a company might simply need to promote and to show off their products in an effective manner.
The brochure website may not be as sophisticated as some other sites however it has simpler objectives. Its intent is to highlight products and provide contact details that make it easy for customers to purchase. But if you’re going this route, just ensure that the content and images are of high quality, so that your products and services are professionally represented.
The main goal of a service website is to increase the quantity of sales conversions. The site is designed and optimised to attract users, enable them to search for information, and to persuade them to purchase the service. The measure of success is how often the site turns visitors into actual buyers (Conversion Rate Optimisation).
The design of the site, or architecture, is of such a manner that all contents are aimed at drawing the visitor to a Call to Action, usually being a button which, when clicked, allows the user to make a purchase.
this type of site is technical in nature, and requires the services of professional web designers.
DECIDING ON THE RIGHT CHOICE
The right website is one that achieves its primary goals, whatever they may be, and that satisfies customers while doing so. And while you’ll only discover the level of success in hindsight, if you start the process of web design in a disciplined way, and you understand the target audience upfront, then your choice of website should be clearer.
By providing your website designer with clear goals and objectives, and an in-depth understanding of your customer’s behaviour, you’ll increase the chances of making the right choice of website. Even better, by including the business website designer in the planning and analysis stages, you will clear the path for designing the best solution.
Agencies like Cliqued Media will work closely with your company to design, develop, and manage a website solution that focuses on growing website traffic, increasing customers, improving sales conversion, and achieving a significant ROI in the longer term.