5 main site formats: how to choose the right one?

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Creating an effective website is never an accident. It can often be difficult to succeed in this area. And the problem is not that you are bad at writing text or building a commercial proposal incorrectly. It’s all about the fact that you are using the wrong format for the site. But how do you know which format is right for you?

1. Business card website

Many companies create sites of this format because they do not want to sell anything on the Internet. They just want to help people find their store, cafe or beauty salon.

A business card site is a kind of flashback in those days when the Internet just entered our daily life. Then it was believed that it was enough to simply declare yourself online. Therefore, sites of this format usually simply contain the basic information, benefits, contacts and location of the company. This is a win-win if you only need a basic online presence, Massey said.

A business card site must:

  • Have a high-quality design to increase brand awareness;
  • Contain a clear value proposition;
  • Include contact information that the user can easily find.

2. Blog

This type of site functions like traditional media, providing users with original and useful content. The website builder earns income from subscriptions, advertising, or even voluntary donations.

Such a resource usually contains:

  • Carefully thought-out navigation and search function to make it easy for the user to find what interests him;
  • Comment blog and social media buttons so users can share an interesting post with others.
  • Email subscription function.

3. Online store

Online stores can vary in size and structure. An online store may exist solely to sell products, offering hundreds or even thousands of items, or it may only have one product to sell. 

What should be on the website of an online store:

  • Effective sales-optimized landing pages;
  • Convenient shopping cart;
  • Customer reviews that will inspire trust among visitors.

Also, when building an online store website, you need to focus on solving customer problems rather than selling.

4. Advisory site

This format is most often chosen by B2B companies with a long sales cycle.

Research has shown that roughly 60% of the B2B sales process is completed before the buyer starts talking to the seller. People these days go to a website for information and support to help them decide if they want to engage with you.

With this in mind, advisory sites often provide presentations, white papers, case studies, and other sales material that attract and grow potential customers.

What should be on sites of this format:

  • Content that helps people understand their problem and appreciate the solution you offer them.
  • Useful thematic content that you can subscribe to.
  • Subscribe to the email newsletter to further develop relationships and build trust.

5. Online service

An online service can be accounting software, cloud storage, or an email distribution service. It could even be a dating service. Many online service sites use the site’s home page as a landing page. There are clear and concise answers to all user questions.

In addition, a site of this format needs:

  • Well-written sales copy that will convince people to try your product.
  • Effective email marketing to convert visitors into repeat users.
  • Customer support to help people get the most out of your product so they can buy and recommend it to their friends.

How to choose a suitable site format?

How to choose the site format that will effectively sell in your case? It’s easy if your business fits neatly into one of the formats above. If not, you may need to do a little research to determine which one best suits your business model or sales funnel.

First, you need to determine which site format (or a combination of them) you are currently using. Then you need to figure out if it suits your business model. Does it help you achieve your business goals? Does it attract potential customers? Does the site convert well?

Below are three reasons why you might want to try a different site format:

  1. Perhaps you are using a site format that is not suitable for your business.
  2. The format you are using does not resonate with your customers – they want your site to have a different structure.
  3. Your business model or marketing plan allows for different models – for example, an online store that simultaneously serves as an online service. In this case, you can use a combination of the two formats.

Still not sure which site format you should use?

You might want to use a combination of several formats. Let’s say you sell software to corporate clients, but your main advantage is that you offer a turnkey service. You provide a hassle-free solution by taking care of installation, training and reporting. Each client is assigned a manager who works closely with him so that the product works as efficiently as possible. But since you have a long sales cycle (this is an expensive solution), you publish a lot of white papers and case studies on your website and run a reputable industry blog to gain credibility. Then, to add another source of income, you also publish how-to books that help small businesses apply your techniques to their own website.

It follows from this example that the company is both an online store, an online service, and a blog. It is in this case that a combination of three site formats at once is suitable. You might also want to try a similar solution. Then make sure your new site has:

  • Pages that talk about the problems your potential customers are facing and clearly explain your solutions.
  • Clear navigation and search bar to help newbies find your content or products.
  • Landing pages describing your products – both ready-made enterprise software for you and how-to books.
  • A shopping cart where people can add books they like.
  • Subscription forms to collect information about people when they download reports or buy books.
  • A strong social media presence that draws visitors to your site to read your content and makes you an influencer in your field.
  • An effective email marketing strategy that keeps your brand in the spotlight before buying and supports customers afterwards.

The main idea is to combine the components of each format to create an effective combination, tailored specifically for your business and helping to increase sales.