Written by: Bob Shurtleff
Before we define the purpose of a small business website, let’s define what a website is: Essentially, it is a digital place on the internet to accomplish the goal of the business and its owner – to ultimately sell products or services, etc. Let us go over this in a bit more detail…
Purpose #1 – To help the business that it represents make money:
In short, the primary purpose of the website is to help the business make money. But how does a website do that? By providing a digital storefront to educate the public on products or services available for sale, and then to drive the website visitor to either: buy the product there on the website, or to direct them to the physical storefront to do so. Or, in the case of a service-based business, the website, after educating the visitor on options, encourages the visitor to contact the business to buy the service.
Purpose #2 – To be found
As the saying goes, if a tree falls in the forest, and no one is around to hear it, did it happen? The same goes for a website. If the website is out there on the internet, but it cannot be found, is it fulfilling its purpose of selling? No, not really. It stands to reason that the website must be found to sell. And so arguably, the initial purpose of a website is to be found so that it can fulfill the primary purpose of selling. A website is only one piece of the online marketing puzzle when it comes to a complete online presence, but the purpose of those other pieces (local listings, industry specific directory listings, social media, “SEO” etc.) is to drive traffic to the website while the purpose of the website is to ultimately drive sales for the business.
Purpose #3 – To build a brand
The website is a marketing piece, same as print marketing (business cards, brochures, signs/banners, etc.), email marketing, digital signs, TV/radio and other online marketing such as social media, etc. All should have the same colors, images, messaging, etc. They should all have the same general look and feel to reinforce a cohesive and consistent message and brand. The website simply helps to reinforce this brand. Which brings me to the next purpose.
Purpose #4 – To build trust & authority
A website, though messaging and branding, can build trust and authority in the subject matter it is trying to sell. Part of what helps with this is reviews. Reviews can be placed on or connected to – the website. Quality information, compelling messaging and supportive reviews help with this building of trust and authority that the company is a subject matter expert and not something less than honest, knowledgeable, reliable and a provider of quality products and services.
Purpose #5 – Other
Outside of being related to a business, websites also simply provide information (like Wikipedia), entertain (like YouTube or Spotify), or simply to educate (like online colleges). Some websites like WordPress.com enable us to write and to blog and sites like Dribble allow us to express creativity and to share it online – again for the possible purpose of being found, but not necessarily to “sell” anything. Websites, like social media, are used to network and connect with others online. In times like these of social distancing, it is important to stay visible and connected to others – personally but even in business. It is important to build trusted relationships with the reader of the website. In doing so, they will be more apt to “buy” what we are trying to sell – whether it be a product, service, information, or our creativity.
With the invention of the internet, a website is a must to be found. Sure, you can post an advertisement in the local paper (print), but a website can expand your target audience past that of a local paper. It provides a visual that a radio ad cannot and is available longer than a television advertisement. Networking is also a good marketing strategy to have where one builds trust in the group to gain referrals. However, like the average person who does not know you yet, they will want to do a little homework on you first before calling you.
That is essentially the purpose of a website, to provide enough information to fulfill the additional purpose – to sell its value. No matter your purpose, a website can help you achieve what you are trying to do.
About the author:
Bob The Website Builder specializes in affordable, small business digital brochure style website design to drive traffic to your service-based business or physical storefront. Give us a call.
Bob The Website Builder
Small Business Website Design as the FOUNDATION of an online marketing strategy.