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Basic Websites

Basic websitesMany small busi­nesses want a “basic” website. That’s fine, but what does “basic” mean? You may be sur­prised how much defin­i­tions of basic web­sites vary.

Some people include sites with a blog or news section (i.e. simple “Pro sites”) in their defin­ition of “basic” — or even e-com­merce web­sites. True, they’re popular, and simpler than bespoke web applic­a­tions or com­munity sites, but they aren’t that basic, either. Those types of website tend to do a lot better in search engines, too, so if that’s what you need, just click one of the links above.

Strictly though, true basic web­sites (aka “static” sites) have a fixed number of pages and aren’t easily editable. Those used to be the norm, and still have their uses (out­lined below), but only in limited cir­cum­stances. Oth­erwise, the most “basic” website that can really benefit a small business is an editable, expandable “bro­chure” site.

True Basic Websites — Static Sites

Non-editable, or “static” web­sites struggle to compete in search engines, but can still work for some indus­tries. These truly basic web­sites can be useful when:

  • You just need a simple site to list on offline advert­ising, like print and broadcast media or vehicles
  • You’re too busy to edit your own site, or just not keen to do so

Offline advert­ising, dir­ectory links and paid ads on the search engines can make up for poor search engine pos­i­tioning. Whilst on-site SEO options may be limited, an effective, affordable digital mar­keting plan can still make a big dif­ference. Static sites can then act as effective contact points, presenting a pro­fes­sional image and vital inform­ation to your potential cus­tomers.

Being simpler than editable sites, static sites are less prone to hacking and so require less main­tenance. I build static web­sites on my Basic Hosting Plus package.

Editable Brochure Websites

Bro­chure sites are simple web­sites con­sisting of several pages of inform­ation — like a company bro­chure — and a contact form to gather leads and feedback. Some manage with just three pages — the home page, contact page and an “about us” page. However, most add extra pages for each main product or service offered, and often a gallery or testi­mo­nials page, too. So, most bro­chure web­sites have at least five pages — and often ten or more.

In fact, the more content you have, the better. Why?

Well, suc­cessful web­sites are built for their target audience. They must be easy to find, easy to nav­igate, and contain the inform­ation your audience is looking for — or at least enough to per­suade them to contact you. The more effort you put into deliv­ering value to your target audience, the more they’ll feel appre­ciated. That builds trust — and trust drives sales.

So, whilst static sites can work as bro­chure web­sites, being able to add more pages easily as your business grows can be a big help. Also, vis­itors gen­erally want up-to-date inform­ation. So, search engines promote reg­u­larly-updated sites. Being able to do those updates yourself offers another big advantage.

That’s also why “Pro sites” make it easier to compete. Having a blog or news page makes it easier to add engaging, rel­evant content reg­u­larly, without clut­tering up your main site menu.

Still, editable web­sites need more main­tenance to stay secure, so I build these on my Pro Hosting Plus package.

Special Cases: One-Page Sites & Landing Pages

One-Page Sites have a nav­ig­ation menu that scrolls down to display screens of content instead of loading new pages. They present a limited amount of inform­ation, typ­ically ending with a simple contact form. Single-page web­sites are really just small bro­chure sites presented in a novel way.

Landing Pages are highly-focused one-page sites with no nav­ig­ation menu. They present a spe­cific offer with a single, clear “Call To Action”. Most offer freebies as “lead magnets”, in return for news­letter sign-ups.

Need a Basic Website?

Contact me today

Footnote: Cheap Web Design — How To Avoid A Basic Website Mistake

“Basic web design” is often code for “cheap web design”. That’s abso­lutely fine in two out of three cases:

Cost-effective Websites

When “cheap” just means “cost-effective” — that’s just plain business sense. Suc­cessful firms invest in cost-effective, pro­fes­sional mar­keting systems and advice because they know that’s what really drives sales. Good mar­keting pays for itself many times over. So I aim to provide cost-effective web­sites and mar­keting ser­vices as standard.

Affordable Websites

A limited budget is under­standable too. Talk to me. Just please be up-front about what that limit is, so we can try to plan the best solution that meets it.

There are limits to what’s feasible, but they vary depending on your exact require­ments. Common require­ments are more likely to have cost-effective, pre-built solu­tions.

So, until we talk, the best advice I can offer is to con­sider what return on investment (ROI) you’re hoping for. High returns (10x your budget or more) are pos­sible, but risks tend to increase with the returns sought. Reducing those risks takes more skill, exper­ience and effort — which tends to require a bigger budget.

Think of your site as a mar­keting vehicle and salesman com­bined. Vis­iting clients in a Ferrari or Tesla can boost sales far more than a Robin Reliant. Still, some­thing in between may be more affordable to start with. We can only pick the right solution if you’re clear about your require­ments and budget range.

The Hidden Cost of Cost-cutting

When “basic” or “cheap” means “cut-price, at all costs,” you’re planning to fail. Under-investing in mar­keting increases your risk of failure. Pro­fes­sional work is not sus­tainable at amateur rates. So, if you invest too little to get the job done effect­ively, you turn your “investment” into a pure cost — an expense that will never pay for itself. That’s a false economy that can cost you your entire business.

Don’t undermine your own goals. Invest in the most cost-effective website solu­tions you can afford. They may not be the cheapest to start with, but they’ll pay for them­selves and cost you far less in the long run.