Which type of website is right for your small business?

April 04, 2024
Daniel Burt
Web Development Company UK - Web Choice

Websites, as with businesses themselves, vary significantly, and there’s certainly no one-size-fits-all solution that’s right for everyone. We put together this blog to help small businesses such as yours in their decision-making process as they attempt to establish what the right web solution is for their specific offering.

We will examine the five most popular web solutions that are suitable for small businesses to see which category your business falls into, before going into greater depth and answering some common pain points associated with the wider topic of web development.

The Humble Brochure Site

Brochure websites are small in scale and are akin to an ad pamphlet that might drop through your door. Their goal is to brand recognition, showcase their main product or service offerings without going into a huge deal of depth. They often feature social proof, such as testimonials to help give reassurance to a potential customer, but they almost certainly won't feature advanced functions, such as blogs and AI assistants, for example. The small scope of the sites means that they are affordable and to be built on a huge range of different platforms. Some businesses may even choose to go down the route of DIY web building platforms, such as Duda, as a brochure site can be replicated from a templated design.

Brochure sites are ideal for businesses such as

  • Florists
  • Tree surgeons
  • Local Vets
  • Graphic Designer
  • Hair Salon

Online shopping with e-commerce

If you intend to sell products and all services via your website then an e-commerce site is the solution for you. They are a great deal more complex than brochure sites as they have to display products, catalogues and process online payments. There are ways to do this in a more simplified version via PayPal for example, but if you wish to have features such as customer product ratings and inventory tracking, then you might need a more comprehensive e-commerce solution built on a tried and trusted e-commerce platform.

It is likely that you'll need the services of a web design company to help you build an e-commerce site, but there are things you can do to reduce their workload (and costs), such as uploading all the product data yourself.

E-commerce sites are suitable for:

  • Local shops
  • Artisan Jewellers
  • Local takeaways with delivery service
  • Dog day care business
  • An activity centre
In need of an affordable E-commerce site? Get in touch with Web Choice!

The Portfolio Website

Portfolio websites describe sites that focus on the offering itself. This may be case studies of a local architect, for example, or a gallery of work from a local artist. The goal of a portfolio site is to increase the exposure of a brand, business, or individual, and they are ideal for anyone wishing to increase the prestige value of their brand. Portfolio sites can be small in scope, but you may have to pay more than you would for a brochure site because there tends to be a higher focus on aesthetics and design.

Businesses most likely to choose a portfolio site include:

  • A local musician / band
  • An artisan sculptor
  • A day spa
  • A dressmaker
  • A wedding photographer

The Blog Site

The Blog SiteBlogs are a fairly niche solution for the average small business and are mainly aimed at people who wish to share their opinion with a wider audience. Authors may choose to have a blog site with which they can host debates, discuss book reviews, etc. Some businesses may choose later to add a blog function to their existing site as it can be a great way to boost SEO efforts, which should hopefully drive more traffic to their site.

Blog sites might be suitable for:

  • Authors and artists
  • Local councillors
  • Influencers
  • Tradesman FAQs
  • Local interest groups

The Landing Page

Many sites feature a landing page as part of an ad campaign or a specific CTA (call to action), but some sites literally only exist in the form of one landing page. You might choose a landing page site if you have a very simple message to get across and wish to prompt a user into taking a very specific action, for example, clicking to sign up for more information. Use Lani pages with care, however, as some customers will wish to be presented with more information, such as social proof. Choose a landing page site if you wish to:

  • Increase conversion for a specific product or service
  • Have a straightforward proposition
  • Conduct a marketing campaign.
  • Build a hub with external links
  • Plan to build a more detailed site later.

Development of your new site

The right type of website I've listed above will very much be down to your own specific business on your own intended and brochure and portfolio sites, along with learning pages are by far the cheapest options and can easily be added to it at a later date you may even be able to do much of the work on these yourself.

If you intend to sell products or services, then an e-commerce site is your only real option, and you can expect to pay considerably more money for this platform because it will take longer to build. A blog site, on the other hand, is unlikely to be suitable for most businesses, but for some individuals, logs can really help to engage with audiences.

Once you've chosen the perfect solution for your business from the five above, it's now time to approach a web developer and make your new site a reality. The time it takes to build your site can vary from anywhere from perhaps two weeks for a small brochure site to upwards of three or four months for a comprehensive e-commerce website.

You'll need to allocate a budget for marketing and SEO efforts to simply build a new website. Unfortunately, this is not going to be enough to ensure that people find you on the Internet. You can also tie this into social media presence, and social media can be managed in anticipation of a new site by small business owners without the need to spend additional capital on an expert.

Before you build your new site, you'll spend time with the Web development agency going over the specifics of your brand to ensure that it is represented in the way that you want it to be. If you are not sure the best way to represent your brand, what development agency will be able to help you define your ideal customer and market the site accordingly?

Web Development FAQs

How to select the right type of website for your small business

Choosing the right type of site for your business boils down to a few key factors. What you need your site to do and how you'll be interacting with your audience. If you need to sell items, then an e-commerce website is the right choice for you. Whereas if you only really need to engage with people to increase awareness, then a blog site might be the right choice for you.

Should you choose an e-commerce site even if your small business has a limited number of products to sell?

We would recommend using an e-commerce solution, even if you only initially have a small number of products or services to sell. With a fully fledged e-commerce platform, you benefit from increased security and the ability to easily grow your site over time.

Which essential features should your portfolio website have?

An effective portfolio website should display high-quality images, videos, and text content. It should be a showcase of what you do, clearly aimed at your targeted audience. Remember to optimise your text for SCO and include specific keywords, which will help your audience find you. Quality is key when it comes to portfolio sites.

If you choose a blog site, how often should you update it?

Blog sites need to feel alive. Think back to when you last visited a blog, where the most recent post was from months ago, and how that made you feel. You start to question the validity of a site and whether or not it is still relevant if it is not being regularly updated. For this reason, you should regularly update your own blog site, ask questions of your audience, and check back to comment on other users’ posts.

What makes a landing page so effective at increasing conversion rates?

Landing pages have the luxury of being incredibly focused on one core message. They prompt the user to take action clearly and concisely. There is no room for a deep dive into a subject or product; it's all about engagement and interaction. A clear call to action (CTA) can supercharge your ad campaign if used carefully.

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