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Deciding to build a website for your business means you are willing to allocate considerable amount of time and money in creating one. Even with the service of a good Web development firm, there are a lot of decisions and careful planning you have to undertake to ensure that your website reflects you or your business effectively.
A very important part of the website development is choosing the best website model to represent your business on the online world. There are numbers of website models available but I will only be talking about the three major types of commercial websites where most medium and small enterprises fall under.
Choosing which one is best for your company might be an overwhelming task given the plethora of options available. You might be tempted to avail the cheapest solution but it might not meet the requirements of your business, or an expensive offer might mislead you with flashy features your target audience might not find useful at all.
To better equip you with your decision making, three important factors should be taken into consideration:
1. Look at it from the perspective of your site visitors
After all, they are the main reason why you are building a website. Everything should revolve around your customers. Talk using their language, look through their eyes. Gather as much feedback as you can by asking them what they want to see in your website. How would they want to interact with you online? How will the website make your customer’s life more convenient, easy and comfortable? The answers to these questions should reflect the design of your website.
2. Consider the goals and objectives of your business or organization
Alignment is key. To maximize the benefits of your company website, your business goals together with your overall marketing strategy should extend to your website. Do you want to increase brand awareness, introduce a new product, collect customer information or answer your customer’s questions or complaints? Do you want to generate online sales or just build an online network? Clearly identifying the role of the website in the fulfillment of your business objective will help you determine what functionality and features you can incorporate.
3. Take into account your own capabilities.
This is important because it is better to not have a website at all than to have one that is consistently out-of-date and thus irrelevant to your target audience. Your website needs to be fresh and updated to keep visitors from coming back. The frequency of update required depends on the complexity of the website. If it is difficult to commit to regular maintenance of the site, then opt for one that doesn’t require frequent changes or outsource the maintenance if you have the budget.
After compiling and analyzing your answers from the three factors above, consult the three major website models below and decide which one best reflect the combined result of your customers needs and preference , your business goals and your commitment.
1. Brochure Website
The main purpose is to help people learn more about your company. It tells prospective customers who you are, what you do, what you offer, where to find you and how to contact you. It can reach millions of people at anytime of the day. This can really enhance your brand image as it gives you more control in putting your company on a more favorable light. It can also provide online support and customer service through FAQ’s, policies and terms of service and contact forms. Business contribution is through encouraging offline sales , building relationships and gathering customer leads. Brochure website is the way to go if your customers still prefer to do business with you personally but wants to receive regular updates (new product or service, a sale or change of contact number) without the need to go to your physical store or wait over the phone. Also, this type of website doesn’t require great amount of maintenance.
2. E-commerce Website
If your goal is to increase your bottom line through online sales, you are looking for an e-commerce website. Its main purpose is to sell products or service directly over the internet. It enables your business to reach the global marketplace, dissolving geographical boundaries and time restrictions. It also cuts down operational costs and saves times by allowing process automation. Two main drawbacks of e-commerce though are the customer’s inability to carefully examine the product first and the hesitation to trust an impersonal online transaction. You will have to work harder to gain your customer’s trust and confidence in disclosing highly personal and private information. Also, e-commerce is more complicated to maintain and requires daily monitoring as online orders are done every day.
3. Intranet and Web Portal
This website model is mostly applicable to manufacturing companies in need of a system to collaborate with resellers and sales agents or a company with several departments. A portal is a platform allowing single point of access to internal information, tools and resources. As a result, seamless collaboration and easier communication from different departments or different users can impact productivity in a positive way. However, depending on the complexity and number of users, the set-up and ongoing maintenance can require significant amount of time, human and financial resources.
If you think it will benefit your business or organization and resources needed are available, you can actually go for a hybrid model. You can integrate any two of the models or even all three of them. Just make sure you go through a careful planning and decision making. Think about all the features or facility you would need in your website. Explore all options available before making any decision. Anyone outside your company, even a competitive Web Development firm, has no in-depth understanding of your business like you do so make sure you are part of the planning process when it comes to deciding what type of business model is best for your company or organization.
Pinoylancers, founded in 2008, is a Philippine-based team of professionals specializing in different IT fields. Recognizing the fact that every client has unique and distinct business needs, Pinoylancers constantly strives to become a one-stop shop that will offer and develop personalized end-to-end web technologies and solutions.
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