Whether you just consider starting online-presence for your business, rebuilding an old website that failed to bear expected results, or enhancing your current online tools, it’s important to know what matters for a right decision.
Both development of a single web page and of a most complex portal start with your business goals and needs. Think about the actions you want customers to perform on your website. Is it signing up for something, making a purchase, or joining an RSS-feed? Next, identify user objectives, the desires they need to satisfy. Once you are clear about both your own and users’ goals, you can choose a website development strategy and create design flows that address them best. You are likely to opt for one of the following website types:
1. Informational Website
No matter if you are a start-up introducing your business to the global online community for the first time, a successful brick-and-mortar retailer with no intent to sell online, or a non-profit in search of better info coverage and support, this is a classic way to start. The objectives and scope of your business will define your website’s size and level of complexity, but two features best web developers agree to be must-haves:
Mobile device usage passed PC use in 2014 for the first time in history. Brands are now adjusting their content for smaller screens and shorter than ever attention spans. Localization and location-based search terms reaching is now of special importance.
The era of static brochureware websites is long gone. It’s mauvie ton at best and a waist of your business money with no results at worst. The content that is technically complicated to update (which is the case with static websites) eventually gets stagnant and brings no value to your customers. Fresh content, in contrast, brings people back to the site and helps to get noticed by the search engines.
At present, there are numerous online platforms that offer a variety of templates for development of a basic website. SquareSpace and Wix focus on creating functionally simple and aesthetically impressive websites without requiring you to go deep into programming itself.
However, if you are serious enough about your business online presence, getting assistance from professional web development company is recommended. Successful website design leverages several distinct disciplines, including UX and UI design, marketing, programming and project management skills, and these are not likely to be found in one person.
Make a requirements document, describing what type of website you want, what pages you need (Company profile, Contact, Products, etc.), expected functionality, as well as your business goals. This will help you to compare proposals of candidate web developers and choose a partner that best understands your business needs.
If you plan to rely on content heavily to promote your products or services, it might make sense to incorporate a blog into your website. A blog is a sure-fire solution for those concerned not only with bottom line, but also wishing to take their business one step further by creating and strengthening the brand. It brings added value to clients by providing useful and relevant information, sharing expertise and soliciting feedback. Proper content management and timely regular updates are needed to turn your business into a recognizable brand with a unique voice and personality. What’s more, an active blog helps to essentially increase website traffic and maximize conversions.
WordPress is probably one of the best choices if you decide to build a blog single-handedly, as it utilizes a user-friendly platform which provides a variety of customization tools, giving you complete control over all areas of your design. If a blog is not a stand-alone solution, but rather a section in an existing corporate website, your web site developer will build it using your current CMS (Content Management System), be it WordPress, Joomla, or Drupal, or any other.
3. Landing pages
To create marketing campaigns, capture leads and drive visitors to perform a certain action, a landing page is the best choice. A good landing page targets one specific objective and is in no way a substitute for a company website. It’s important to build a unique landing page for each of the offers you create.
A well designed landing page immediately answers 4 main questions: what is being offered, benefits to the viewer, reasons to take immediate action and the call-to-action itself.
As a general rule of thumb, to build a brand, it’s important to integrate landing pages into the general website and its overall navigation.
At present, there are a lot of tools that offer fully automated landing web page development solutions, among which are Unbounce, Optimizely, Instapage, Launchrock and Hubspot. Opt for one of those or stick with your current web developer for a more professional output.
4. eCommerce Website
If selling goods online is not the primary goal you pursue by building online presence, but rather a good-to-have option, then a plugin to add ecommerce functionality to your existing dynamic website might be enough. For serious efficient online trade, ecommerce website is the solution. The main thing to consider is for your website to accept the forms of payment that you need it to and that you will need a security certificate (SSL) to provide secure transactions for your customers. These can easily be bought and are available at differing levels of security.
Magento and Shopify offer a variety of platforms that businesses can download and build a basic custom ecommerce website by themselves. Professional web development companies will help you come up with a better solution, tailored to your business objectives.
5. Social Websites
Sometimes you want a website to be more of a social hub than a selling area. High-end forums, dating sites, social networks and community portals are all examples of socially-centered websites. This can be achieved via various free or paid forums software, or additional plugins.
To unify large amounts of data from diverse sources, a portal is the most comprehensive and technically sophisticated solution. A good web portal can provide various services including, but not limited to e-mail, stock updates, news and entertainment content. Portals help enterprises and big organizations have a consistent web experience, by combining various applications and databases, which otherwise would have been stand-alone web entities scattered across the web. Access to data can be restricted to internal corporate usage, as well as external one, or be a hybrid of both, providing targeted access to information for specified audiences.
This is a brief guide as to which solutions can help you leverage your online presence. Focus on your business objectives, as well as scope and industry-specific aspects to make the best decision. Partner with a reliable web site developer to achieve best results. Measure what works best for you and always keep an eye on new web trends to make sure your online presence works.