Site Types: The Look, The Feel, The Function

Web sites generally fall into one or a combination of the following site 'types'. Depending on the nature of your business, and how you want to use the internet to communicate with your customers, one or more of these types will be useful in determining how complex your website solution will be.

Brochure Site

A brochure site is the equivilent of the glossy printed brochure that you may already have for your business. It's purpose is to provide visibility for your business, communicate your core values, products and services to your potential customer base, and provide a mechanism for those customers to make contact.

Brochure sites are usually the simplest form of site to construct. A template is created to provide the look and feel of your business (logo, colour schemes, etc.), and then the template is populated with content to communicate your ideas. These sites typically run to no more than a dozen or so pages , as beyond that, long term content management can become difficult, although this is partly dependant on the frequency of changes that you think may be necessary.

To keep costs down, a standard page template can be used that has generic design features, colour schemes etc. If you have a particular requirement for the page layout, colours, etc., then these templates can be custom developed.

Dynamic Content

As a site grows in size, dynamic content often becomes a part of the requirements. As the number of pages increases, its often useful to employ a Content Management System (CMS) to aid with the addition and amendment of pages. This also has the benefit of allowing the content to be displayed in different ways depending on how the visitor is accessing the site. For example, the same content can be optimised for mobile, laptop or desktop PC users to suit their connection speed and screen size. This has the advantage of widening the audience for your business, and extending its reach.

Dynamic content sites may also draw information from a seperate database resource, such as a product database, news library, or other online source. This can be achieved through data integration and can be done in real time if required.

E-Commerce

Selling products and services through the internet is now a well-established and trust-worthy environment, allowing you to reach further afield and find new customer bases, beyond those that you can service with a physical presence. Provided its is appropriate for your products and services, you now have easy access to a world market.

E-Commerce sites provide the facility to sell your products directly to the end-user or trade. Billing systems can be provided to assemble a customer order, calculate appropriate taxes and shipping costs, request payment through credit/debit cards and other online payment methods, and in the case of electronic media and information, provide immediate fulfillment of the customers need.

Community

The internet is enabling a new form of community interaction that was previous almost impossible. Online forums, messaging and chat services are providing new ways for people to interact, regardless of their geographic location and time zone.

Community driven features may be an important motivator for people to access your site, to interact with other users for self help, and to help drive your own product and service development.