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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. 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?

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Footnote: Cheap Web Design — The Most Basic Website Mistake

“Basic web design” is also some­times code for “cheap web design”. That’s abso­lutely fine 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.

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

How­ever, when “basic” or “cheap” means “cut-price, at all costs,” you’re plan­ning to fail. Under-invest­ing in mar­ket­ing sys­tems increases your risk of fail­ure — and 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. So, too much cost cut­ting is a false eco­nomy that can cost you your entire busi­ness.

Don’t under­mine your own goals by mis­take. 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.