You may be thinking you don’t need a website because your business is too small or you don’t have any products to sell online. The truth is, every business needs a website no matter the size or type of business.
There are an infinite number of reasons your business should have a website. From 24/7 access to you and your business, to staying ahead of your competitors, to showcasing your skills and services. With 81% of shoppers doing their research online before they purchase anything, you need to take advantage of what a website can offer you, even if you don’t sell physical products. You still sell a service and your customers want to be able to get to know you and make an informed decision before hiring you. So, now that you know why you need a website, what type of website do you need? There are three basic types of websites - brochure, ecommerce, and blog. Each type of website has its pros and cons and works well for certain types of businesses.
Brochure Style Website
Also called an informational website, the brochure website acts as a printed brochure would. Generally, a brochure website will have at least four sections or pages:
- The homepage - the first page your customer will land on, this page should be easy to navigate and have a clearly defined call to action.
- The about page - this is the page where you tell your story and let your customers connect with you before they even meet you. Give a brief history of your business as well as some information about yourself.
- The contact page - the number one reason a customer will visit your site is to find out how to contact you. Having a contact page puts all of your contact information on one, easy-to-find page. Always have your company name, phone number, address, and hours of operation. You can also have a contact form and an email newsletter sign-up section.
- The services or products page - the second reason your customers will visit your site is to find out what services you offer and the prices of those services. If you don’t have set prices, be sure to have a big call to action on this page telling your customers to contact you for an estimate.
- The testimonials page - this page is optional, though if you have customers who give you outstanding reviews, ask them to write them down so you can put them on your website. Or, if you have good reviews on Yelp or Google+, be sure to include links to those reviews.
The brochure style website is a good choice for businesses that:
- Offer services like plumbing repair, roof replacement, and electrical wiring rather than products that can be sold online like custom furniture, metal sculptures, or handmade lighting fixtures.
- Have a physical location where customers can stop in and talk to an employee about rates and appointments.
The Ecommerce Site
If you have physical products you want to sell like hand-carved statues or custom dog beds, you need an ecommerce site. One of the great things about an ecommerce site is you don’t have to have a physical storefront. Your website acts as your storefront, which can save you a lot of money. An ecommerce site also allows you to sell your products and wares around the world rather than only in one location. Your ecommerce site should have all of the pages of a brochure style site, though your homepage will most likely also be your products page. Other pages you may want for your ecommerce site would be:
- The shipping page - a list of your shipping rates and legal information about your shipping policies.
- The refund page - a page detailing your refund policy.
The ecommerce website is a good choice for businesses that:
- Have physical products to sell locally, nationwide, or worldwide.
- Don’t have a physical storefront location.
If you have regular sales, discounts, contests, or simply have a passion for writing and want to keep your customers updated, you may want to start a blog for your business. You can use a blog for anything from showcasing your latest projects to giving advice to your customers through tutorials. A blog will have a homepage, about page, and contact page, though you may decide to use the blog instead of your services or products page.
A blog is a good choice if you:
- Are a great writer and love writing.
- Want to keep your customers updated with deals, discounts, and coupons.
- Want to provide your customers with helpful tips and tutorials for DIY projects.
- Are looking for a way to strengthen your brand and your business by giving it a personality and a voice.