There are several types of websites that you can build for your small business.
Depending on who you talk to you may be offered a specific type and it may or may not meet your needs. Some naughty web designers just want to sell you the maximum ‘bells and whistles’ package they can, but sometimes, you really don’t need all that.
I firmly believe you only need a website for your current stage of business. More importantly, your website needs to be flexible so you can develop it as your business grows.
If you start off with a simple but hard or expensive to modify website, you will quickly outgrow it and feel the need to completely redesign your website every time you need new functionality. This is time consuming and costly.
If you start with an overly complicated website that you don’t really need, this will also be costly and time consuming. You will also have the added side effect of tech overwhelm and frustration because the ‘beast’ feels too big for you to handle.
In this blog post I want to explain the different types of websites you can have and what stage of business they are applicable to so you can make the best decision about what website you need.
One page website
This is the simplest type of website of all. You may hear people say ‘You only need a landing page’. What they are really saying is you only need a one page website.
A landing page is one page where there is only one action to take so al the content is focused on convincing the visitor to take that one action. So in theory, yes you can call a one page website a landing page if you are only looking for one action to be taken.
The issue I have here is that you may feel like creating a website for your one page is overkill. This is also where you may be encouraged to pay for a third party tool like LeadPages or ClickFunnels to create your one page website or landing page.
I am telling you not to buy these tools. They have a monthly fee that ends up being more expensive than building your own website.
I wrote a blog post about how to set up a one page website here.
The goal of a one page website is to start to raise awareness of your business especially when you don’t have much to say about your business just yet.
You can use it as ‘coming soon’ page while you continue to build out the next level of your website.
When you build a one page website in WordPress it is really easy to move the second type of website when you are ready.
A brochure website
A brochure website is a very simple website. It consists of a few standard pages and maybe the beginnings of a blog.
A brochure website is good for local businesses who get most of their business through referrals, word of mouth or networking.
The main goal of a brochure website is to support your marketing material and encourage people to get in touch with you.
For example, potential clients will just want to verify you are a professional capable of providing the service they have been told about.
They are likely to want to see prices, testimonials and to find out a little more about you before getting in touch.
You may want to start a blog too. There are so many good reasons to start a blog but in the early days it can feel overwhelming. You can get going with a very simple blog on a brochure site.
You know you are ready for this level of website when you have more to say that will reasonable fit on a one page website or you want to start a blog.
On one of my workshops I teach how to set up a simple brochure site. A workshop can speed up the learning curve and prepare you for the next type of website.
A lead generating website
As your website gets more visible you will want to make the most of all the visitors. Not everyone will be ready to contact you, so this potentially leaves you will a lot of wasted traffic.
To make the most of each visitor, you should consider starting to build an email list. You should offer an incentive for visitors to join your list so it’s easier for them to sign up.
Then you can follow up with them via email.
This really increases the number of leads from your website.
If you ever start thinking your website is useless, it’s because you are not building a list.
If you only rely on your contact form as a way to generate leads then you won’t get many leads at all.
Building a list is the way forward.
Once you have a website strategy, a ‘lead magnet’ and email marketing tools in place then you are ready for the next type of website.
A marketing website
A marketing website is a website that makes your business visible without you having to manually promote your business (i.e networking events).
A marketing website has a traffic plan. That plan can be SEO, social media, email marketing or paid traffic. There are many ways to get traffic to your site. But before your website is ready for more traffic there are changes that need to happen to make your website ready.
You need to…
- Strengthen your marketing message
- Monitor your traffic with analytics
- Create landing pages
- Improve the technical performance of your website
- Improve or add more lead generation tactics
You know you need a marketing website when you want to scale your business. You may be wanting to sell courses or you have a team that allows you to bring on more clients. Whatever the reason, you are looking for a way to get your business in front of a lot more people.
Whatever traffic tactic you use it is likely to cost you money. You will probably hire an assistant or expert to help you. Or you will invest time and money in doing yourself.
However you choose to scale your visibility, if you try to drive more traffic without strengthening these areas your effort and money will be wasted and you wont see the results you want.
You may also want to sell courses or guides on your website.
It is fairly straight forward to set up WooCommerce on WordPress, a free shopping cart.
You can start selling products from your website really quickly without adding extra costs to your website.
Membership site or training platform
It is also possible to create membership sites and training platforms where you can sell access to courses.
This can get quite technical but is perfectly possible with the right support.
I hope I have made you see that your website should be evolving with your business as your marketing evolves. As you grow and build your business you should be looking to increase your online visibility. As your visibility grows you need to be converting more of your traffic to leads, clients and sales.
But all this takes time. See it is a marathon not a sprint.
That is why I really believe you (or your assistant) should be capable of updating your website with new pages and features. If you keep relying on web designers it can cost you a lot of money and the time it takes can really hold you back. You can do it with a little support from me if you need the support. If you would like WordPress coaching then speak to me about my workshops and 1 to 1 support that I offer for small business who want to build their own website.
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