Company Website: What It Is, Advantages And Valid Alternatives
Is a website essential for your company? Let’s see how to achieve it best and what possible alternatives we can adapt. Your website is now essential for any business, from freelancers to large multinationals. Still too often, however, some do not understand its real potential and therefore commission their website simply because ” now everyone has it. “
What Is A Website, And How Does It Work?
A website is a set of related web pages and files, which constitute a hypertextual structure of documents placed on a web server ( hosting ), which the end user can reach through a program (called a browser ), such as Google, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, Microsoft Edge, Yahoo, etc. The browser interprets the code that makes up the various web pages, returning the graphic output or what the end user views and interacts with.
What Is A Website For?
The presence on the web is fundamental for several aspects, each of which is linked to specific purposes. Here are a few.
Be Easily Found On The Web
Looking for the name of a company or, in the case of a freelancer, a person, users expect to find an official source where they can find all the information necessary to understand what kind of products or services your company offers, where you find and how to contact her. Suppose the user already knows your name or that of your brand. In that case, he expects to find it in a few seconds, which immediately gives an excellent first impression, especially if it appears in the first position of the search engine.
A quality website denotes professionalism and authority. Simply put, it inspires confidence. It is, therefore, the first step to building your brand awareness, that is, the knowledge of your brand by users and their ability to remember it and immediately connect it to the products/services offered by your company. With Brand Awareness, therefore, the consumer’s degree of notoriety and knowledge of a brand is measured. This factor can be decisive, for example, in the case of products with low involvement – and therefore, generally purchased on impulse – as the customer will be more inclined to buy those linked to greater brand awareness. Indeed, the buyer may buy a product he has never tried before only on his perceived familiarity with one brand over another.
Protect Your Brand And Your Products From Competitors
Being present on the web with a registered proprietary domain and a well-designed site makes your business more authoritative and protects it from the competition. The site is your voice on the Network, the tool to communicate who you are, what you do, and how you do it. For this, you have to make sure that you are the only one who can use your brand name and speak for it. A competitor can freely buy a domain with your name or a very similar name and block it, thus preventing you from registering it in turn, or use it to redirect your potential customers to his site through a redirect. Similarly, before registering your domain, you will need to ensure that there are not already any on the web with the same name or, in any case, with a similar name because, in this case, you would create confusion among users.
If your company’s name is the same as that of another, you can solve the problem by entering the type of product or service you offer in the domain, for example, www.brandvini name, www.brand automazioni name, etc. Do you think you don’t need a website because maybe you don’t think it’s the right time or that for your business – for example, a small local business – it is better to use social platforms? No problem, but it is highly advisable to register your domain with the main extensions (at least .it and .com) to protect your brand and be ready in case you later decide to have your online showcase.
Be Positioned In Google Keyword Research
Having your website can allow you to work on inbound marketing, a strategy that will enable you to attract, convert and retain the traffic of users – or potential customers – on your company website. In short, you will ensure that people find you just when they need the services or goods you offer or while they are inquiring about them. This allows you to connect even with those who do not know your brand, which can be highly probable when your business does not yet have sufficient awareness (knowledge of your brand) and is not immediately associated with what you offer.
A great way to start making your brand known, for example, is to associate a blog with your site to publish content of public interest beyond the purely commercial scope, answering the questions that people ask themselves and offering suggestions and solutions. But this can also be done through other platforms, for example, by creating video tutorials on YouTube or Instagram or writing technical articles on your LinkedIn profile. This way, you will be able to position yourself thanks to informational queries (the searches people make when they inform themselves), thus intercepting new potential customers.
There are different ways to advertise online, and not all of them necessarily need a site owned, but there is no doubt that having one opens up more possibilities. One of these is undoubtedly the creation of landing pages or pages or sets of pages created specifically to highlight a particular product or service and thus obtain conversions. What is meant by conversion? The transformation of a user from a simple visit to a customer. Once you have created your landing page, you can create campaigns on Google Ads and Facebook and promote it in a targeted way – thanks to the possibility of user profiling offered by the various advertising services – and optimize conversions.
Types Of Corporate Websites And Differences
By now, you should have understood the importance of having a business website. But websites are not all the same. Different typologies emerged during the Network’s evolution, each with its specificities. Let’s try to find out together. When it comes to the website, it means everything and nothing. A website is anything that can be found on the net and aims to give visibility to something. You can find company sites or associations on the Internet, institutional, personal … but some people put their cat’s website online.
Starting from the assumption that over time some realities of the web have evolved while others have practically disappeared (e.g., generalist mega portals, sites based on Flash animation technology, the precursors of social platforms such as MySpace, etc.), let’s say that at the origin of everything there was the so-called static site, that is a site in which communication with the user was one-way and did not provide for any interaction.
This solution requires an infrequent updating of the contents. For each modification, it is necessary to work directly on the HTML code, which requires either competence in the sector or the intervention of specialized external resources. On the other hand, a static site is almost unassailable from the point of view of computer security, does not need to depend on a database, and has speedy page load times, which Google rewards with a better ranking in the results of Research. It can, therefore, be a good solution for a showcase site, that is, a site with the function of presenting the company, a sort of online brochure that does not require updates except sporadically, and where the user can still find all the information he wants and download documentation such as manuals, catalogs, cards techniques, etc.
The advent of Web 2.0 marked the epochal transition from the concept of static to that of dynamic, thus opening the doors to new forms of communication that are increasingly direct and interconnected, thus allowing ever more significant interaction between the brand and the final user. Dynamic sites have further evolved thanks to the advent of CMS ( Content Management System ), which allows you to update or insert content intuitively, thanks to an administration panel that enables the site to have almost total autonomy without specific programming skills.
Therefore, a dynamic site’s strength is the ability to update the content frequently. However, this involves a slightly lower degree of security than a static site, the presence of a database, and a more complex structure and, as such, more “heavy” in terms of hosting. A dynamic site must be followed consistently. Otherwise, it makes no sense to exist. It is perfect as a portfolio site to present new clients and new jobs, thus demonstrating how active the company is and “on the track,”
as a news site in real-time or to create a blog, thanks to the possibility of organizing the content according to different logics that allow you to create different headings or thematic areas, in which the articles are cataloged in chronological order, and grouped into categories and through tags. A blog can be either an entity in its own right, thus representing the author’s voice and dealing with specific topics, or it can be an integral part of a company website. Its primary function is to convey informative content that can offer added value to users, who will find detailed information on topics they are interested in.
Another example of integration between a dynamic site and CMS is the e-commerce site, which in recent years has seen an ever-increasing development, thanks to the birth of dedicated CMS and the ever wider possibilities of integration with other platforms. An e-commerce site is an online store that sells goods and services via the Internet. You can go from small online shops inserted in a company website (for example, the shop of the products of a farmhouse) to real electronic warehouses of big brands (e.g., Leroy-Merlin, Bonprix, Sephora…).
In the most straightforward cases, once the sale has been made, the seller will personally take care of inventory management, shipping, billing, and so on. In contrast, in the more complex cases, the entire process will be carried out by integrated software and applications capable of automatically controlling and managing the whole supply chain. In perhaps somewhat simplistic terms, we can say that today almost all types of websites arise from the integration between dynamic sites and CMS and are therefore distinguished not based on their technology but their purpose.
Alternatives To The Corporate Website.
Social media, local directories, forums, marketplaces, and sector portals, today, the web has a lot to offer even to those who cannot afford the expense and commitment of creating a new site. A corporate website is essential for most business activities; however, there may be alternatives (even free) in some cases. Let’s see some possibilities.
Social networks are now an integral part of our daily life and have evolved to respond increasingly to the needs of professionals and companies. Activities related to catering or entertainment, for example, as well as small local commercial realities, find in platforms such as Instagram and Facebook essential tools for promoting their business. Facebook also makes its Marketplace available free of charge, which allows you to present your products on the platform, put supply and demand in contact, and then conclude the economic transaction according to the agreements that the seller and buyer establish from time to time.
Needless to say, how attractive such a solution can be for activities such as flea markets, small shops, artisans, etc. Consultants, freelancers, and freelancers experts in specific sectors will be able to find a helpful resource on LinkedIn, publish posts and write factual articles on topics that are interesting for their target, thus demonstrating their skills and increasing their branding.
Once upon a time, there was the telephone directory … Local directories are websites that offer a geographically organized directory of companies and professionals. The presence in these directories is generally accessible. Accessing them and filling in the form that includes company data (name, address, sector, description, photo …) is sufficient. It allows you to be easily traced by those who do not know the name of the professional or the company but are looking for that kind of product or service in their area. There are many local directories, so it will be necessary to subscribe to more than one, favoring those that appear more authoritative. Among the parameters to keep an eye on when evaluating a local directory we can mention:
- historicity (how long it has been on the web)
- authority (graphic accuracy, ease of navigation, positioning …)
- presence of competitors within it (if they are there, you must be there too)
- specificity (generalist or specific to a specific market niche)
Google My Business
Evolution of Google Places is the free Google service offering Research, selection, promotion, information, and review of professional, commercial, and public activities. Closely connected to Google Maps and the most used search engine in the world, Google My Business allows you to update, monitor, and optimize your brand and associated information (days/opening/closing times, contacts, locations, etc.), and to publish customizable posts with start and end date and call-to-action button (to be chosen from Book, Order online, Buy, More information, Registration, Go to offer). In addition, Google My Business allows the creation of small websites with the business. Site extension for free. This means you can create and maintain an online space dedicated to your company with the address www.nome company.business.site.
A marketplace is an online brokerage platform for the purchase and sale of a good or service, and which groups the products of different sellers or different websites. If an e-commerce site is a single online store, we can say that a marketplace is a large shopping center with several stores. Generally, the seller is asked for a commission on the sale, but in the face of advantages such as the total management of transactions, different forms of guarantee, and the possibility of presenting their products to a vast audience. We mention Amazon, eBay, Zalando, ePrice, Spartoo, and Etsy among the best-known marketplaces.
Then there are the thematic portals, accurate aggregators of information and news on specific sectors (e.g., Building portal, Archiproducts for architecture and design …) in which – generally for a fee – you can enter your company and publish editorials and product presentations, case histories, awards and more.
Online Multichannel Strategy
In reality, these solutions should be complementary to the company website rather than as alternatives, thus allowing to make the most of the multichannel offered by the Internet. In this sense, discussion forums (sites based on discussion through question and answer exchange) should also be mentioned as helpful for increasing brand awareness in a particular target and which can be used (albeit very carefully, under the penalty of a ban). For comment marketing strategies (marketing that systematically uses the comments left on the leading online platforms), thus directing users to their website.