In today's market, most small businesses recognize that having a website is imperative for the credibility as a company and a way to share information regarding services and products. However, a distinct difference exists between having a website that simply contains information on your company, versus a website that performs specified business functions. It is important to recognize that having a functional website can be extremely beneficial for your business – whether it be time or cost savings, efficiency, or lead generation.
In this blog post we are going to look at a few examples of informational vs. functional websites. I encourage each of you to take a look at your current website and ask yourself what tasks it is, or could be, accomplishing for your business.
The Typical Informational Website
You probably have seen many informational websites – they may be the most common format for a small business. They often have 5-8 pages of content that contain text and images about the company page, a brief listing of the service offerings, and detailed contact information. Many informational websites will have a call-to-action for the customer to contact the company for more info or to schedule a meeting.
5 Examples of Functional Websites
The following are just a few examples of functional websites. As a heads up, the following sites are ones that we have created for some of our small business clients. We like them...but we might be biased.
- Lead Generation – Blue Ocean Portfolios, a wealth management firm out of St. Louis, MO, uses their website to provide insightful blogs and reports to their current and potential clients. Their site acts as a lead generation platform that organizes interested visitors into their Customer Relationship Management System
- E-commerce - Midwest Flies is an example of a direct-to-consumer e-commerce website. Charlie Stock, who sells his company's flies wholesale to large outlets, now also sells and ships fly fishing accessories direct to consumers via his website. Midwest Flies' website is also capable of processing orders that come in via phone.
- Quote Generation and Customer Support – All Chores No More is a local handyman service in Ashland, MO that allow customers to submit their requests for handyman service online. Their online chore ticket system allows the customers to receive quotes, schedule maintenance, communicate with the company's staff, and track the progress of their chore ticket.
- Communication – Christian Fellowship School is a private Christian school for students Preschool-12th grade in Columbia, MO. Their website serves multiple communication functions including an advanced event calendar with built-in maps for students/parents, allows alumni to update their contact info, captures email addresses of interested parties for newsletter follow up, accepts online donations, and allows families of prospective students to sign up for a tour of the school.
- Online Registration and Mobile Friendly Applications - Billiards on Broadway, a local pool hall and arguably home of Columbia's Best Burger, uses their website to provide a mobile device friendly menu and interactive directions to their location. They also accept event bookings and pool league signups via their online sign-up forms.
Considerations for Building a Functional Website
Now that you've seen examples of both informational and functional websites, you may be able to create new ideas for how your website could become more functional. The following are a few questions you should ask yourself and your staff:
- What IS the goal of the website? Generate leads, automate support functions, etc
- What COULD the website do to simplify or automate our business?
- Who will be using our website and what are their typical needs when visiting the site?
- Are your website's features easy-to-use?
If you are interested in learning more about how your website can serve as a tool for your business, let us know. We would be happy to brainstorm ideas with you on how your website could go from an informational site, to a fully functional resource for your business.