With so many sites competing for attention, your users should be able to figure out the purpose of your site within the first few seconds of their visitation. Here are the 6 main categories of web sites that you can choose from to help clarify their experience.
Otherwise known as web-based sales sites. This website sells products. Its sole purpose is to allow users to browse, select, and purchase products online; self check-out. Be careful and tread lightly in this arena. There is little difference between a brick and mortar store and an online store. Important parts to think about; customer service, shipping, taxes, and inventory. In other words, if you have physical products, you need someone to manage the store. And in some cases it’s a 24 hour job.
Otherwise known as Offline Sales Sites. This site supports your sales team. The sales cycle goes something like this. Sales person meets prospect at networking meeting, sales person leaves behind a business card with web address, prospect checks out web site to learn more about company, website supports what sales person stated and provides additional information so prospect can make an educated decision. Most service-based businesses use a Legitimizer to support their brand and help land new business.
3) Lead Generation
This site’s sole purpose is to get leads. It is typically supported by various marketing efforts, including; email marketing, telemarketing, direct mail campaigns, and social media. This site has multiple portals for contacting, signing up, downloading, and testing products.
4) Market Awareness
This site is usually built by big-brand companies. It is usually marketed using a large budget, leaning on Search Engine Marketing, online advertising, and a social media campaign. Often companies will incorporate custom games, iphone apps, and custom Facebook apps to gain market awareness.
Red Bull Facebook Page
5) Informative and Entertaining
Think of National Geographic, NASA, and The New York Times. It can also be smaller sites like local government, non-profit organizations, and online gaming sites. These sites can sometimes charge a fee for services but most let the user try the site for free and offer a premium membership at a nominal fee.
6) Influential or Persuasive
An example would be a politically motivated organization. This site can range from a soccer mom blogger to an international terrorist group. Ha – pretty crazy range but figure out where you fall in between, and please stay closer to the soccer mom mentality. This site can also fall under the non-profit orgs; someone or some people trying to make a difference in a community.
So now you’ve got a starting point for your new site. Most sites fall under multiple categories but all lean towards one more than the others. Once you have a clear direction of the type of site that fits your organization you’ll be better prepared about what it should do. You can then begin to build your goals. We’ll talk about goals in a later entry.