Websites today come in all shapes and sizes. It can be hard to pinpoint which is best for you based on the features you require. These can range from the number of pages, design or layout preference and any other features and benefits that might enhance the user-friendliness of the site. It is often difficult to decide all at one time and to know if you’re making the right decision. This is where the assistance of a quality Digital Design firm can be of great help. Being able to draw on the agency’s history and experience building websites of all shapes and sizes affords you a tremendous value proposition.
In general, a large majority of websites will fall into the “Marketing” type category.
As a small business owner and/or entrepreneur, it is typically most effective to start by using a marketing website. Marketing websites tend to be easier to manage and do not require time or financially intense resources. Marketing websites are typically written in the HTML code language and in some cases are managed with a CMS.
CMS (Content Management Systems) are utilized to manage most modern marketing sites. The popular systems include WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, Shopify, Magento, Woocommerce (a WordPress plugin) and WIX among others. The most commonly used systems are WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal. Today’s CMS systems are quite user friendly with few technical skills required to operate.
E-commerce websites are among the most popular types of interfaces as they typically represent some of the most notable brands, (think Amazon, Apple, Walmart, Nike, H&M, GoDaddy, Samsung, and Expedia.) An e-commerce website is identified by allowing consumers to purchase products and services directly from their checkout page or shopping cart, thus the relevance of the word “commerce” which means: the activity of buying and selling, especially on a large scale, according to the Oxford Dictionary. Characteristics of an e-commerce site may include:
Landing pages are a one-page website that goes by a variety of names and references depending on their effective use. They are also known as a splash page, capture page, squeeze page, lead magnet, opt-in page, gift page or preview call invite page or a free offer page. The primary intent of a landing page is to quickly convert a visitor into a user by capturing their attention and contact information in an instant. Landing pages are an effective form of lead generation as it has been quite beneficial for encouraging target actions of site visitors providing a business rich, qualified information that they can then follow-up on.
Typically landing pages are used to enhance the effectiveness of online advertising by generating new traffic to the site. The design of a landing page, while often simple and convenient, is quite important as it must serve an important purpose of grabbing the attention of the user and resonating enough for them to perform the targeted action. Landing pages that are properly designed are far more effective than those that are end-to-end full of content with the business trying to jam every detail into less than 500 words. The popularity of landing pages lies in its simple targeted action and narrow focus of - a specific product/service for a specific audience. This approach minimizes distractions and all but guarantees a high conversion rate of visitors.
If you’ve ever seen a hardware manufacturer website (and we’re not referring to computer hardware here but actual hardware that you would purchase at a hardware store) where you scroll through pages and pages and endless pages of nails or screws or tools and they list every style in every shape at every price, then you’ve seen a catalog website. Catalog sites contain detailed information on the products and/or services of the business. These sites tend to provide highly detailed descriptions, technical data, requirements, serial numbers and prices of each distinct product. (Catalog websites are usually created for expensive and specialized products that you can’t purchase via the Internet (cars, special equipment, metal, etc.).
This is a website designed to promote a single brand. It usually presents a new product, service, promotion, game or competition. The design of the page plays the main role. It emphasizes high-quality visualization and interactivity. Typically, promotional websites are used to launch a new brand and many times, multiple promotional websites are used at the same time to attract different audiences and based on A/B testing requirements.
We are frequently asked the difference between a blog and a website. It is a valid question with subtle differences. A blog is a type of website. The difference between a blog and a corporate website is that a blog is constantly being updated and refreshed and new posts being added, whereas a website is typically static and only updated occasionally. You’ll find blogs are typically full of opinions and suggestions and recommendations as they are usually the opinion of the writer of the blog. A blogger is usually writing on behalf of themself whereas a corporate blog, for example, is representing the voice of the company. This is why you’ll hear much more conversational tones in blogs than in alternative corporate blogs that are managed by a marketing department.
Today there are a myriad of blogs, mommy blogs, tech blogs, shopping blogs, thought-leadership blogs, how-to blogs (how to generate leads, how to build a fireplace, etc.) A blog is a webpage where the content is presented in reverse chronological order (newer content appears first). Blogs are typically run by an individual or a small group of people to present information in a conversational style. A popular feature of today’s blogs is their comment sections that allow readers to give feedback. Blogs have also become a great source of revenue for those who have substantiated themselves as influencers and are either paid cash for their write-ups or run affiliate links through their editorial or both. Blogs have become a great promotional tool for brands.
An info page is similar to a digital business card as it includes one simple page with only the most basic information about a business. The purpose is to present the name of the principal and organization on the internet as a means for others to contact them.
It may contain:
This type of website provides detailed information on a specific topic. Knowledge portals allow users to sign-up for newsletters, search for information, and communicate with each other on a forum or in a chat where they have a level of interest in common. These portals enable the sharing of questions and answers by asking the community for feedback. Knowledge portals allow anyone to get an answer to his/her question on a specific topic using information from the website or by asking other users.
The most common example of a knowledge portal is a city information portal containing local news, city offices, and services, libraries and post offices, weather, schedules of public transportation, key representations and city hall meetings schedules, a bulletin board of local events or need to know forums, links to the local chamber of commerce, police and fire stations, and other important information and resources for which a visitor may be looking.
This is the most popular type of all portals, most typically known by the likes of Yahoo, Google, Bing, etc. This type of portal provides a wide variety of services including email, news, weather, search, chat rooms, and a host of other potentially useful internet services that are quite popular with a broad audience such as celebrity news and gossip. The intent is to provide as much relevant interest in one place creating a virtual one-stop-shop to make the eyeballs viewing the site a large audience by which they can charge huge advertising rates to brands looking for exposure in front of those eyeballs. Web portals are public, for use by anyone, usually anywhere.
Corporate portals can be for both internal and external use. A public website for a company usually tells the corporate story for a company separate and distinct from its products or services. For example, if you visit Apple.com or Amazon.com you will arrive at the e-commerce portal. However, if you scroll to the bottom you will typically find a link to something called “investor relations” or “company information.” Corporate portals typically include sections for their management teams and board of directors, news, if they are a publicly-traded company, their stock price and SEC filings, news and, of course, an outline or overview of its operations.
Corporate portals may also come in the form of an internal portal, not for public consumption, but rather to be used as a communications vehicle for a company to reach their employees. It may be a human resource channel for payroll statements or tax forms, it might have a career section where new jobs are posted from various departments, company policies and/or relevant employee news. Large conglomerates that own a variety of brands or operate in a variety of industry segments may very well host a public corporate portal with an employee login section to the private and confidential information from the same site.
Corporate portals are important for tracking key events whether that’s the release of a new product or release of quarterly earnings. As such, while corporate portals aren’t typically revenue generators, in an indirect way they are.
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all description for a corporate portal as every company has a different preference. What might work for one company will most certainly not for the next. In addition to detailed company information, a corporate website may include the following elements:
Thus, rather than being solely informational, a corporate site provides a solution for:
The corporate website should be a representative example of the company’s primary brand identity.
A Customer Relationship Management interface includes a system of tools that allow users to manage their website, database, customer data, analytics, and combine segmented business tools under a single umbrella. These tools could include services for collecting customer data, transaction management for analysis, management control services, and forecasting. CRM’s can be automated for routine processes, accelerate the process of analyzing key criteria to help with decisions and the automated functionality helps to significantly eliminate errors.
Apps continue to grow in popularity, particularly in regions of the world where technology underpinnings are less established then in first world countries such as the US. As such, apps have become among the most popular types of digital interfaces due to their application on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. Mobile apps tend to solve users’ immediate impulses for a want or need. This could apply to a weather report, daily meeting calendar, mobile shopping, mobile banking and payouts, GPS services and millions of other applications.