Defining your digital strategy begins with knowing the purpose of your website.
- How would you describe the type of website you have or want?
- Do you know what the website’s primary purpose is or will be?
This post will cover the seven most common types of websites, provide examples, and encourage you to reflect on your website’s purposes.
Why is it essential to know the purpose of a website?
A website serves as the online face of your business, organization, or brand.
To take a more strategic approach to connect with and convert your target audience, whether you’re a business owner, a nonprofit leader, or an influencer with a website, you need to know your website’s purpose.
Once you have honed in on that purpose, you can ask more detailed questions about what your audience members should do when they visit the website.
Then, you can set goals for your website and measure its success. Knowing your website’s intended purpose will be the first step in defining a clear strategy.
7 Common Website Types
The purpose of a website is usually the starting point of our strategy discussions. To jumpstart the discussion, we’ve compiled this list of seven types of websites.
1. Sales Website: “The purpose of our website is to sell _____”
2. Lead Generation Website: “The purpose of our website is to generate leads for ____”
3. Information Website: “The purpose of our website is to provide information users about _____”
4. Entertainment Website: “The purpose of our website is to entertain our users with ____”
5. Service Website: “The purpose of our website is to service users by providing _____”
6. Presentation Website: “The purpose of our website is to present _____”
7. Connection Website: “The purpose of our website is to connect _____ with _____”
Many businesses and organizations combine more than one of these purposes on their websites.
However, you want to identify one purpose as the primary purpose.
Taking an example from each, let’s examine the following:
- Sales Website / eCommerce website
Ecommerce websites are primarily designed to sell products and services online. Therefore, providing clear communication of the value users will receive from a purchase and a user-friendly checkout and payment process is essential to achieving this primary purpose.
- Lead Generation Website/ Independent Consultant Website
Most businesses use their websites to generate leads or prospects rather than to close sales. Its primary purpose is to attract qualified leads so that the business can contact them to discuss their options based on their information.
A therapist, an attorney, consultant or coach, or a household appliance repair business are just some industries that use this type of website. These businesses will benefit from a website that attracts qualified clients and allows them to submit a contact form or service request. Unlike sales websites, lead generation websites are primarily designed to generate leads for the purpose of selling products or services in person, through email, or by phone.
- Information Website: News websites
A majority of the most prominent websites on the internet primary purpose is to inform or educate their visitors. Most news-focused media organizations’ websites fall into this category (unless they have crossed over into entertainment).
- Entertainment: a video streaming website
The internet has a wide range of popular websites designed to entertain its users. This category includes both free and paid (ad-supported) video streaming sites.
- Service Website / Government or Nonprofits website
This one has some nuance, but it’s still worth highlighting as a separate category. Some websites, such as government or nonprofit organizations, are primarily to deliver a service (not necessarily to sell). For example, consider your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles website or the government agency websites where you access unemployment or housing benefits.
Service is also often a primary objective of nonprofit organization websites, as well as raising funds for supporting the service.
- Presentation / Portfolio website
Some websites’ primary purpose is to present, share, or display information or content. Two examples would be a portfolio website for an artist or a resume website for someone seeking a new position. For example, the website owner may wish to establish an online presence, manage their reputation or brand, or provide an online source for the material they already share offline.
- Connection / Directory website
Lastly, some websites facilitate connections between people. An example would be a website that lists professionals who offer a specific service and provides their contact information so users can reach out to them. Among other examples are social networking sites, dating sites, and websites with a community of users with user profiles.
What's next after identifying a website's purpose?
Establishing the primary purpose of your website is an essential first step in developing a clear digital marketing strategy and improving your website’s performance. It is only possible to assess a website’s strengths and weaknesses by knowing its purpose.
A conversation about a website’s purpose can provide insights into its optimization and marketing strategy, as illustrated by the following example:
We recently worked with a solo business owner who offers consulting services to clients. We began our conversation by exploring the website’s purpose within the business context.
Most business is conducted away from the website: customers make contact via the website, but sales conversations and closings usually occur over the phone or in person. From this simple understanding, the website’s purpose is lead generation: to attract prospects seeking the service offered and encourage them to request a free consultation by submitting the contact form.
Reviewing the website’s purposes, however, we discovered that it also had a couple of important secondary purposes.
- Potential clients often have questions about this business’ service offering, and they seek educational information before deciding whether to request a consultation. The realization that the website needed to inform users led to the decision to create a library of educational articles on the website (which also enhances search engine visibility).
- Additionally, we realized that part of the website’s purpose is also to present the business owner as an expert in her field who is qualified to offer advice in her area of expertise. Observing that the website had the additional purpose of displaying information about the business owner’s credentials and experience, we focused a portion of the time on the site’s “about” page, incorporated links to professional certifications she holds, and developed an enhanced LinkedIn profile for her.
This example illustrates how your website’s purpose serves as an entry point for your target audience to connect with your business or brand, the digital marketing strategy as a whole, and what improvements to prioritize for the best visibility and ROI.
Our team loves having these conversations and discovering what makes your organization tick. For more information about how we can boost the success of your website and online presence, fill out the contact form below or schedule a strategy meeting with us to discuss your goals.
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