Determining the Right Type of Website for Your Small Business

It’s 2020 and time for your small business to plan for the future, you need a website – and a good one at that.

There’s an age-old term in the website design and website development world, in that you get what you pay for. I’ve come to the conclusion that this is not necessarily true. But at the end of the day, you should be paying for what you really need in a website — nothing more and nothing less.

But doesn’t that beg the question, what does your small business really need in a website? And better yet, are there even different types of websites in the first place?

As a matter of fact, there’s quite a variety of websites in the website design and website development world — many of which have their own unique functions, features, and goal-oriented purposes.

Before you invest in the future of your small business website, let’s break down the different types of websites that exist, what their purpose, features, and functions are, and help you determine exactly what your small business needs in a website based on your specific goals.

What do you need your website to do for your business?

Aside from “hey, how’s your day going?” This is typically the first question we ask any of our website design clients, “what is it that you need your website to do?” and admittedly, most people don’t have a crystal clear understanding of what that is – or better yet, the full extent of the power of a good website and the substantial impact that can have on their business.

Fortunately, you’re here and you’re reading this, so you’re already a step ahead.

So, what is it exactly that you need your website to do? Well, why don’t we determine some general things that a website can do?

Increasing website traffic, readership, and audience size

This is probably one of those things that nearly anyone looking to launch a website or create a digital face for their company will answer “yes” to, but it’s a factor to consider. If you don’t have the intention of driving people to your website for some reason or another, you probably shouldn’t have a website (and that’s coming from someone that makes a living building them).

Using your website for educational purposes

Perhaps you want to offer online training, or a simple “how it’s done” type of website in your unique niche. Or, take it one step further, perhaps you want a system that can train your employees, sell online courses and workshops, and much more. 

If any of these sound like they’re in your wheelhouse, an educational website is for you.

Selling online, or more formally, an “eCommerce” website

Online sales, in so many ways, is beginning to dominate the online world. With monstrous retailers, distribution channels, meal delivery, and even boutique mom-and-pop shops adding online to their retail offering, it’s no surprise that one of the biggest requirements for a lot of websites is to sell online through eCommerce. Fortunately, there are a number of platforms, tools, and systems that allow you to sell online very easily (Shopify, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, or even Magento, to name a few).

If you’re looking to sell a physical product online, then an eCommerce website is definitely for you.

Generating new business leads through your website

Whether your small business is focused on B2B (business to business) or B2C (business to consumer), there’s a lot to be said about the need for generating new leads to fill your sales pipeline with. There are many ways a website needs to be structured for optimal conversions that drive more leads and revenue to your business, so if this is a big focus for your business growth plan, this is critical to include as part of your website requirements.

Need more customers and leads in your pipeline? A website optimized for lead-generation is for you.

Increasing registrations and sign-ups on your website

Similar to generating new leads, acquiring more registrations and sign-ups for your events, programs, classes, courses, and everything in between is a critical part of the website design and website development process. Adapting and prioritizing visual content, A/B testing cues, colours, and many other factors help to create the optimal user experience to drive more sign-ups through your business website.

Need more registrations? This one’s for you.

Local resources and online listings

You’ve probably stumbled across directory-type sites at some point in time. Heck, if you’ve ever used Yelp, you’ve used a directory website. Is your business modelled around a central place for providing listings and answers for your users? This can work for things like local restaurant listings, deliveries, and even niches such as Groupon or WagJag.

Is your business listing classifieds? A directory site might be just what you need.

Involving customers and managing accounts from your website

This one can combine many of the types of websites listed above. But from a website development perspective, understanding a two-way interaction between a company and a user account is pivotal to identify the best platform to use, and the best framework to build your site on. If you’re a contractor operating multiple renovation projects at a given time, and you need a system to update your customers, sign-off on changes and other documents, and keep a strong track record of progression, you need the right website system to support your needs.

Need a better way to manage your customers and accounts more clearly? This is something to consider.

A website for fundraising

Alright, we’ve all seen a crazy invention or two. You know, one of those kitty litter boxes that cleans itself, grooms your cat, and takes all the trash to the curb on Monday morning? Maybe that doesn’t exactly exist, but there are a lot of other big ideas that do. And they depend on things like crowdfunding. This can also apply to events, charities, and not-for-profit organizations that are raising money for a greater good.

If your business needs to fundraise, then a crowdfunding website is for you.

Increasing offline foot traffic

Maybe you’re a local boutique retailer, but you’re not ready to sell online yet. That doesn’t mean your business can’t harness the power of digital marketing to grow its offline traffic. This may be through a well-crafted site that clearly reiterates your branding, company message, provides location details so your customers can find you, or showcases testimonials so that prospective visitors have the confidence to visit your physical location. This is typically something that a lot of retailers focus their website on.

We saved it for last because it’s so common, but we’re also confident that this type of website ties into almost any other type of business as well. Something most small, local businesses don’t realize is that their digital marketing efforts can actually be tracked and realized offline as well. Sound crazy? It’s not at all. But that’s a conversation for another time.

Need more traffic to your physical storefront? This is the site for you.