Sometimes it’s a good idea to return to basics, especially if you’ve ever wondered about the why of a website’s existence, not just the when or how it’s going to be built. Each website we build for our clients is unique, but ultimately it must serve some purpose—one that we ourselves insist you make clear of, otherwise it’s only going to be the equivalent of white noise.
With that in mind, let’s go over some basics together, shall we? These are the five real purposes almost every website has, and why your business should ultimately have a website.
- To inform.
Think of the last time that you pulled out an encyclopedia to learn something new or understand something for class at school. It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Nowadays we all use our computers or phones to find the information we need. That’s why we ourselves have a blog! We keep it regularly updated and filled with new information whether it’s about marketing or web design.
Many businesses nowadays need to have a lot of information to help their customers understand just how and why they’re a business worth considering in the first place. To not have that information means someone else will (i.e. your competition).
- To sell.
It’s been reported that 18.5 million Canadians have embraced ecommerce websites, and it’s estimated that another 5.21 million people will be doing their shopping online in 2021. That’s a fact, and it’s not one many retail businesses can ignore any longer no matter how big or small they are.
Whether you’re a mom and pop shop or are growing steadily, there’s no denying the power of an ecommerce website. How you market your products and who your target audience is will also determine whether you stand out above the crowd, or sink with the rest of the Amazon.com copycats. Many things need to be accomplished for these websites so the sink scenario doesn’t happen, such as making checkout smooth and easy, making the website both attractive and fast to run and load, reducing online cart abandonment, incentivizing shoppers, nurturing past shoppers to come back, remarketing to people who haven’t shopped before, and on, and on. It’s a lot of work to create a successful ecommerce site, but the end results are well worth it.
- To serve.
Many B2B businesses provide a service to their customers rather than sell a product. This service can related to cleaning, repairing, advising, taking photographs, and so on. The one thing all of these businesses need in common is a website; otherwise, it’ll be really hard for customers to determine the difference between business A and business B down the street. That’s because more often than not they will preview the business’s website before deciding to call their phone number.
They will attempt to find out how high their expertise is, whether the service will fit their certain needs, the quality of the work given and received, whether the company has a good reputation, and how long the company has been in business for. Websites designed to serve can accommodate these visitors by providing them with both articles and information that demonstrate your knowledge, customer testimonials, a portfolio of your work, and so on.
If the website doesn’t serve a customer either—it could be too slow due to oversized images, or it looks and even feels like a relic website from the 1990s and Angelfire era—then it’s technically considered to be a waste of time to the customer, and a waste of space on the Internet.
- To entertain.
Lots and lots of websites are designed to provide visitors a chance to relax and play games, or catch up on the latest celebrity news, fashion, and other trends. These website usually provide more than one form of content to entertain its visitors such as videos, slideshows, podcasts, etc.
While most business websites can’t really provide games, they can provide a way to be entertaining regardless. For example, there could be videos or humourously written blog posts told from your unique perspective on standpoints. Podcasts, too, make for great sources of content that’s both entertaining and informative. So long as the humour within the content is good-natured and not mean-spirited or harmful to others, there are plenty of ways to both entertain and educate your business’s target audience—you just need a website to make it work, and you need to be consistent with the content you release.
- To connect.
There’s a big reason why social media is not going anywhere right now in terms of usage (and why we constantly talk about the need to use it for your business). Social media networks enable people to connect and reconnect with old and new friends, form new relationships, go out on dates, or even discover a new job and career with like-minded people. They can stay in touch and share things such as photos, stories, interests, and so on.
Websites can and should provide a means for people to connect to each other, both for personal and commercial purposes. By directly connecting with their customers via social networks, businesses can receive feedback on how they’re performing in terms of their service or the quality of their products, as well as discover their customers’ true needs and wants.
Now that you understand the purposes each website can have, think about your business’s current website, or the one you want to have for your new business. Do you have a clear purpose in mind? Or do you feel uncertain it’s fulfilling its purpose? Whatever the case, if your website is not fulfilling its purpose, it may be time to start from scratch…or, if you want a new site entirely, starting from scratch can ensure its purpose is fulfilled! If that sounds like what you want to see happen, then give us a call at V3 Media. If you want to discuss your business’s website and its purpose overall, there’s nothing better than hashing over the details in a one-on-one consultation. You make the call, and we’ll come to you.