What is the purpose of a website?
This is a question you’ll find yourself asking whenever you’re faced with the task of building a website. Or truly, when you find yourself on the precipice of digital marketing and you’re faced with the possibilities of a website.
But what exactly is the purpose of a website? Whatever industry you’re in, you can’t deny that a website has its merits. What’s more, in today’s market, a website is an absolute necessity. Gone are the days of reliance on brick and mortar establishments.
Nearly everyone relies on the internet for information. So, will you flail and sink in the pool of information? Or will you rise to the top of the waves and ride it?
In today’s article, I’m not here to convince you to build a website. What I am here to do, is to convince you to give your website as much thought as possible.
And the first step in doing so is determining a website’s purpose.
What is the purpose of a website?
The purpose of your website needs to be something personal. And often enough, it varies on the needs of your business. No two websites should be exactly the same if you want to see results.
In fact, the most effective way to make sure your website is visible and successful is to make it as unique to your business as possible.
That can only mean one thing: there are different purposes to a website. Contrary to popular belief, having a website for your business does not always mean it’s for making money or even to make sales.
Although this is an objective many businesses often share, some websites are built simply for education. No matter what your purpose of creating a website is, there is one thing that remains true: it dictates the way your design will look and feel.
For web designers, the purpose of website design is simple: the objective is to deliver the needs of the client. Be it sales, a blog website, or a website dedicated solely for advertising certain services, your website’s design will rely heavily on your brand and how you want your audience to react to your content.
What are the different purposes of a website for a business?
As I have said, a website’s purpose varies from owner to owner. Below, we’ll take a quick look at what each of those purposes are and discuss them in-depth to help you better understand what type of website would be right for your business.
To make sales or generate revenue
As with any business, the most common excuse owners have of owning a website is to make money or to earn revenue. Whether you’re accepting payments directly on your site or are redirecting people elsewhere, it can’t be denied that a website helps you generate traffic that often leads to sales.
With the whole world turning to online sales, it’s the perfect opportunity to make your business more digitally accessible. The digital market is a resource that is limitless. You have access to nearly every audience from all walks of life at your fingertips.
If you’re looking for more opportunities for your business, building a website to help generate revenue is ideal. Online sales are booming and are only projected to grow even more in the future. Any business that refuses to have at least some form of online presence will certainly be left behind.
There are two ways to generate sales or earn revenue. You could sell products or services. Of course, this would depend on your needs and the type of business you own.
Let’s break it down:
Selling products can easily be put into two categories: selling your own products or affiliate marketing. Before we go into detail on these two categories, let’s discuss one of the most common ways you can sell products online: through an online store.
Owning an online storefront helps you sell your products directly to your digital audience. This also helps you reach potential customers from all over the world (if it applies to your business). Whether you’re selling physical or digital goods, an online site that directly processes payments and orders for you will make your business available to leads 24/7.
Selling your own products - selling your own products is self-explanatory. This is basically your own personal brand or you selling products that earn you direct revenue whenever you make a sale. Usually, this happens when you list certain products and customers are able to go through a checkout process to purchase them from you.
Affiliate marketing - on the other hand, affiliate marketing is a bit different. Think of affiliate marketers as online salespeople. Except they aren’t limited to earning a commission from just one brand. Oftentimes you’ll find affiliate marketers posting content that convinces you to purchase from a different website. This usually involves using their unique code or purchasing through a specific link so they’ll earn a passive income.
Don't forget to check my article: Best Affiliate Programs With Recurring Commissions
Selling your services is entirely different from selling a product. And oftentimes, the layout of a website that offers services is different from your usual product-based site. For one, you might see a booking option instead of a buy now option.
Most of the time, service-based websites require a longer process to confirm your order. This is mainly because most services are custom-tailored to your needs.
In some cases, service-based websites will not allow you to make an online payment. Instead, you will be asked to contact them to discuss the services you need further.
To save money
Despite what others may tell you, owning a website doesn’t have to be expensive. I, myself started out with a website that ran my business for only $10 a month its first year. Now, if you’re not immediately generating revenue, it may seem like a hopeless cause.
But trust me, a website - when managed properly, will only save you money and time in the long run. What exactly am I talking about?
Even when you’re not directly selling your services or products on your website, a website serves as a 24/7 resource to potential clients. This helps them have somewhere to head to when they need to reach you, have inquiries, or would just generally like to learn a thing or two about your business.
This leads to two things:
To build your online authority
Have you ever heard of the phrase “pics or it didn’t happen”? The same logic applies to business. Generally, most consumers prefer to search for a business online prior to making a purchase or proceeding with a service.
If you’re not visible online, then you’re losing a huge chunk of the market. Even if you don’t plan to sell anything online yet, having a presence online helps establish trust with your potential clients.
Think of it this way: when was the last time you ever trusted a business that didn’t have a website? Unless it’s a sidewalk food cart, I don’t think you have.
Seriously, even your local plumber has a website. Do you know why? Because it helps them reach more clients. It helps them establish a presence online that asserts the fact that their business is important to them.
If you’re still not visualizing it, imagine a storefront. Would you rather purchase from a clearly marked storefront that is easy to find or try to navigate sketchy alleys only to find a store that looks boarded up and closed?
A website will serve as your online storefront. It will help potential customers find you and decide whether your business is of value to them.
Establish your branding
No matter what kind of business you’re running, a website will help you further assert your brand. Since a website heavily relies on the personality of your business, a website will help your brand identity stand out.
It would help your business become more recognizable to your potential clients and to help them understand what your vision for your brand is. Furthermore, it helps you connect with your audience and helps you share testimonials, behind the scenes, and other creative content that could help your business become more memorable.
In the digital world, authority and trust is everything. It takes more than just a bit of confidence to convince your audience that you’re worth their time. You need proof. And there’s no better way to collect social proof than to display them proudly on a website.
One of the many things you can do with a website is to display customer testimonials, actual photos of your products, show product reviews, and share ways your services and products can provide value to your audience.
But what is social proof?
Basically, the goal is to provide your audience with a clear track record of what your business has accomplished. This will put them at ease and convince them that your brand is one they can trust.
Digital marketing has changed the way businesses reach their audience. Gone are the days where you have to patiently plan out print, radio, and television ads. Digital marketing on social media and search engines have made it possible to reach a wider market for a cheaper price.
Generating leads is only possible if you have a website to redirect your potential customers to. Imagine running an ad and only redirecting them to a Facebook page. That wouldn’t be very helpful, now would it?
One of the best ways a website is used is to nurture sales. A website can automatically nurture sales for you through the use of sales funnels and campaigns that you can set.
This removes the need to personally convince individual customers to make a purchase or conversion on your website. Basically, the whole point is not only to convince new leads to make a purchase, but to convince your returning audience to complete a purchase as well.
One of the most important aspects of conversion is customer retention. It’s important to make sure your website is well optimized, convenient, and conducive to a high-conversion environment to nurture your leads.
Pro tip: here you can check out my guide - The Best Free Landing Page Builder
What are the other purposes of a website?
Strictly speaking, a website is not dedicated solely to businesses. Yes, eventually there are monetary benefits to running any type of website. However, that does not mean that the main objective of a website is reserved for business.
Below, we’ll take a look at the different purposes of a website outside of doing business.
To provide information
With the whole world migrating to the digital world for information, informational sites have grown in popularity. These are mainly what you call news sites. But there are also other types of websites that cater to specific niches.
Entertainment sites like 9gag have become increasingly popular. One thing you’ll notice is that most entertainment sites have resorted to shorter content. The average attention span of customers is quite short nowadays due to the abundance of information and entertainment is no longer reserved to months-long telenovelas.
Nearly the whole world is on social media. One way or another, you’re most likely to encounter the whole world’s population on any one of the most popular social media platforms. This is mainly why digital marketing has steadily grown in popularity in recent years.
Pro tip: Use a tool to automate and schedule all your social media posts in advance. There are plenty of options but SocialBee is a great one. I'm also using it.
Blogs are another form of informational websites. They allow you to share your thoughts and other valuable information to a wide audience of your choosing.
Blogging is also an effective form of marketing for many businesses. Reaching out to bloggers or influencers with a decent reach or a cult following have proven fruitful for many businesses.
Should I build a website?
Before I continue to ramble on, let me ask you a few things:
If you answer no to all three of these questions, then I highly urge you NOT to build a website. Otherwise, why wouldn’t you? Whether you’re planning to build a blog, put out content for leisure, or sell your services and products, a website will only prove beneficial in the long run.
Of course, there are many hurdles you’d come across. That’s only normal for any venture. However, what reason do you really have to not build a website?
What if I can’t afford it?
To be honest with you, there’s no reason finances should come between you and building a website. There are several free resources out there that will allow you to build a website free of charge. Yes, that includes web hosting.
In fact, some platforms like Builderall even offer a “free for life” plan that allows you to sell on their platform directly without a monthly fee. In fact, even more popular sites like WordPress and Wix offer free plans.
Moreover, if you’re adamant about using your own domain name, there are plenty of cheap resources for web hosting. As I said, my first website ran for only about $10 a month on its first year.
If you’re worried about the costs of building a website, many platforms feature drag and drop builders that even newbies and business owners without any technical expertise can utilize. So really, there’s no need to shell out hundreds or even thousands of dollars to have a fully functioning and visible website.
What if I have no programming experience?
Programming experience is no longer a hindrance to building an effective website. There are several platforms that offer various pricing plans to help you build and run your own website.
In fact, the most recent trend in the industry is seen with platforms that offer noob-friendly websites, sales funnel, and campaign builders. There are several resources for search engine optimization and even easy guides for building an effective website available at your disposal.
If you’re adamant about getting the best help there is, there are several sites that offer free trials like ClickFunnels. I suggest you look into that and utilize the free trial to take advantage of their webinars. ClickFunnels is one of the best resources out there when it comes to digital marketing and it’s no secret that you’ll learn more than a thing or two on the platform.
But there are too many choices. How can I make the right choice?
That’s what reviews and free trials are for! If you really want to make your website work - and I’m assuming you do, take the time to learn about each platform. Read reviews and do research to see which platforms would be the best fit for your business.
When you’ve managed to narrow it down, take advantage of their free trials. The trial periods allow you to better determine which platform would be the best choice for the type of website you’re trying to build.
Simply put, there are several reasons why you should build a website. And only less than a handful of reasons why you shouldn’t. So really, what’s stopping you? Your resources are limitless and building a website on your own is now easier than ever.
Trust me, it may seem like a lot of work, but if you’re dedicated to something, you’ll reap the rewards for your business.
What platforms do you recommend for building a website?
As I said, there are several platforms to choose from out there. Let’s start with some of the most popular choices out there:
To tell you the truth, there are more platforms I could list on here, but it would take us forever to finish. I guess my main point is this: make sure you’re making the right choice. Do your research and make sure you ask yourself: “what is the purpose of my website?”
The bottom line
While a website can be used for many things, one thing is for sure: a website will help you reach a demographic you never even knew existed.
What I’m trying to say is this: build a website for your business. Heck, build a website for your leisure!
Building a website is crucial if you have something you want to put out into the world. It’s crucial if you want to build authority. If you want your voice to be heard and if you want to be taken seriously.
Sure, websites are often built to help a business earn revenue. But it doesn’t have to be limited to that. Websites are there to enrich the lives of consumers. That’s why consumers tend to gravitate towards businesses with a digital storefront.
Now, I know it may be difficult to commit to building a website. I know you may have second thoughts. But think about this: are the results not worth your efforts? Think about the long run. Your business only stands to gain from having a website.
And besides, if the only things holding you back from building a website are your finances or your lack of experience building a website, then I’m sorry to rain on your parade but platforms that solve those problems have been around for a very long time.
So there’s really no reason for you not to even try.
Ultimately, the purpose of your website varies. It depends on your business and what you want your consumers to feel when they visit your site. Whether you’re building a website to sell products or to build an online presence, there’s not denying that the time to invest in a website is now. And that there’s no reason not to.