“I need a website!”
If you want a website, it is important to figure out what you want to do with it. Understanding what you want to accomplish, and how your website fits into your, or your organization’s goals is key to a successful website.
Here are some key questions you should ask yourself when you want a website: What do you want your website visitors to learn? How do you want your website visitors to feel? What do you want your website visitors to do?
So, as a brainstorming exercise, I wrote a huge list of what I have seen websites do, or try to do. Then when analyzing the list, it came to me that there were broad commonalities to many of these features that you might want on a website. A little bit of sorting, and I came up with the lengthy list below. Just a word of warning, when you try to do too much, your site’s main purpose becomes diluted, and visitors might be confused.
So, When you boil it down . . .
There Are Only Five Things You Can Do With A Website, Legitimately
- Transactional (E-Commerce)
- Social Interaction
Note: These are very broad categories, with lots of overlap, so let us dive a little deeper:
INFORMATION – What do you want your website visitors to learn?
* Reference – encyclopedias, Wikipedia, dictionary, manuals, reports
* Company presentation, i.e. About Us
* Educate your customers about a product, service, or idea.
* About us page
* Contact us page with your correct NAP, (Name, Address, Phone Number)
* File sharing/download/transfer
* Provide fast and effective customer-service: Save time with answers to answer frequently asked questions online
* Host instructional videos, or audio lectures
* Job sites
* Blogging: WordPress, Blogger
* Classified ads
* Maintain archives of information
* Online document creation and sharing
PERSUASION/PROMOTIONAL – What do you want your website visitors to do?
* Press release
* Make you look faster/better/cheaper/more . . .
* Tell your story on a blog
* Improve your image
* Send out information about yourself: branding
* Support your current (offline) ad campaign
* Generate qualified leads
* Showcase your work or portfolio
* Product catalog (display)
* Reduce printing and mailing costs by having sales material online
* Direct your visitors to take action,
* Save your customer time/money/pain by buying our . . .
ENTERTAINMENT – How do you want your website visitors to feel?
* Online games
* Online gambling
TRANSACTIONAL – E-Commerce: What do you want your website visitors to buy?
* Selling a product/service/download
* Accepting online payments: Credit card, PayPal, Square, Dwolla, Bitcoin
* Classified ads
* Online gambling
* To earn advertising revenue from visits
* AdWords and AdSense
SOCIAL INTERACTION – building a community – What do you want your website visitors to share?
* web 2.0
* Social Networking: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest
* Building trust by always being available
* Listen to feedback from your customers
* Get referrals
* Gather contact information
* Change followers into fans
* Email and chat
* Bookmark and link sharing
* Online forum
* Online dating
Several of these categories blend into one another. A blog, for example, fits into at least four categories, since it is a very versatile format for adding content to your website. Where is the distinct difference between information and persuasion? If you are a business, you want to teach or inform your website visitors about something, and then getting them to act upon what they now know.
If I have missed anything that a website can do, please add them in the comments section below.
With all of the above examples, probably the hardest part is narrowing down all the ideas you have as to what is most effective for your business. Talk to us at SunAnt, we are here to help. We build awesome, award-winning websites like these. Maybe we can make one for you?