Often the best type of website for you to launch for your business depends on the on the nature of your business, your corporate goals, the stage of development of your business and the resources you have at your disposal. Here are some types of websites to give you an idea of what you might consider looking for.
Static Websites – Brochureware
Most small businesses start out with a small, “static” website.
In order for the business to update their static website, they will have to contact their website development company and request that the changes be made. It is for this reason that they are not updated very often and remain “static” for a long period of time.
A static website can, however, feed off dynamic content from other websites by syndicating content. Such content often includes the latest weather, news headlines, exchange rates, etc.
A static website mainly serves to provide a business with basic online presence.
Dynamic, Database-Driven Websites
Today, most successful websites are dynamic, meaning the content changes regularly without necessarily feeding content from other bigger websites (as in the case of many static websites). Dynamic websites are usually maintained by members of the business using a Content Management System – a web-based software application that allows them to update their content without having to learn anything about web programming.
Corporate Style Websites
This is the next step up from a static website, where the business can update the website content themselves without having to get hold of the web design company.
It is not necessarily more expensive to launch a dynamic website than a static website. In the long-run it will in fact be cheaper if you intend to update regularly (which in itself is a good Internet Marketing habit)
Many businesses publish press releases, photo galleries, project portfolios and other things more relevant to the nature of their business. Online enquiries can also be stored in their back-end as a post to being sent to their email address. Many mainstream dynamic websites are a mixed hybrid of the following types of websites:
E-Tailers or E-Commerce Websites
E-Retailers or E-Tailers are websites that allow visitors to purchase products online.
The website owner uses a back-end to add or remove products and their properties, process orders, analyse sales and more.
These kinds of websites have become more popular in recent years as the online shopping industry has grown quite considerably (Internationally, at least).
In South Africa, however, many businesses are hesitant to implement online transactions into their website strategy as it can be expensive to implement the necessary security measures. This often discourages businesses as they are uncertain on whether or not they will see significant returns.
An alternative to a Shopping Cart System is to implement a Quotation System. This means the visitor adds all the items they are interested in to a “quotation basket” and once done, they submit it to the company and are contacted by a sales representative to complete the transaction.
Information Driven Websites
Eg. Website directories, article directories, a Short-Story/Poetry submission website, etc.
These websites mainly derive revenue from selling advertising space on their website. The information is generated by people that visit the website and submit content – the website is self-generating and the content follows current trends and interests.
Although the owners of the website do not have to produce the focus-content, they do need to be able to control the type of content that is submitted – they need to implement measure that will prevent spammers from flooding their website with unwanted content. They also need people to moderate the content that is generated on the website.
Eg. Job Search Websites, Online Dating websites, Discussion Boards, Special-Interest Portals
These websites usually cater for certain types of Internet users. Their main source of revenue may be advertising or offering different levels of memberships with different benefits (e. g “Gold Membership”)
The website almost becomes type of social being in itself by interacting with the member on a very personal level. For example, after submitting a post to a discussion board, the website will email the member to inform them when they have received a reply. The website and the member, in a sense, form a virtual relationship.
The membership registration process is usually automated allowing the website owner to concentrate on selling advertising space and monitoring performance.
They do however need to moderate what members do on the website in the case of chat rooms and forums (eg. To stop users from swearing, advertising for free, promoting hate speech, etc)
Remember that the best type of website for you to launch for your business depends on the on the nature of your business, your corporate goals, the stage of development of your business and the resources you have at your disposal.
By John Simms of Eiledon Solutions Web Design & Development