Landing pages are the first port of call for anyone interacting with your business online. These one-page websites are great for smaller campaigns or one-off projects such as an event (local fete, air show, funfair, or music festival for example) as they typically have a lot less content on them. The downside of this is that it restricts small businesses on the amount of information they can share and while they do have a visual appeal, one-page websites struggle to achieve high search engine rankings, which are all too important for getting your message to the masses.
A portfolio site is the next step on from a one-page site, and is designed to showcase an array of work from businesses such as photographers, builders, architects or designers. As portfolio sites are an archive of past work they don’t have to change very often, however the business may want to add details of new projects or edit and amend inclusions, so access to the content management system is useful so you don’t need a web company to make small changes. This type of site is mainly designed to provide leads for the business, and should include contact details or a contact page that allows potential customers to send an email direct to the business.
Not all businesses need to sell from their websites. For some, the website has become the company’s online brochure allowing potential customers to find out more about the business and what it can offer in a clear and concise way. It is also intended to raise product awareness and deliver new leads into the business, although it does not (usually) have the functionality for customers to make a purchase. These sites can be extremely powerful if the business is looking for leads to be generated through its website. Information rich sites do well in the Google search results because they can contain a wide range of pages which can rank for terms relevant to the target audience. Popular platform such as WordPress (which, incidentally, was used to create this site) allow the company to continually update its information and integrate other forms of content such as video.
This is the only choice for those wanting to sell online. E-commerce websites let customers search for a product and complete a full purchase transaction without the need for human intervention. It also allows a brand to show off its personality and tell its story (we have sold quantity XYZ of this widget to various ‘named’ multi-national companies this year alone; is an example of this type of showing off). With a growing number of purchases coming through mobile devices, it makes sense for web sites to be dynamically designed so that they recognise the way that a user is accessing the site and present the information accordingly.
An e-commerce website is more complex to build and manage and may require a greater initial investment than a simpler site. In essence, you are building a whole store, including stock, shelving layout, stock management, shipping and payment methods, no mean feat in itself, especially when you consider how complex this is to achieve in a physical location, never mind achieving it on-line. However, the benefits of selling online mean you can generate a steady stream of revenue.
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