There are only 4 types of websites and you MUST know what kind you need, otherwise you will end up wasting money on ineffective design and marketing. Every website can be sorted into one of four types. By knowing what kind you want before making any design or marketing decisions, you can save yourself from a world of hurt and wasted money. Do you know what kind of website you have or want to have? If you answered “No”, fear not, that’s where we come in! This article goes over each kind, looking at their defining factors and sales structure. By figuring out what kind of website you need, you can effectively attract the audience you want. A well-defined marketing plan, coupled with strong design decisions, can lead to more money in your pocket. The Four Types of Website The Authority Website The Authority website serves as an online presence for your business. This is the place potential customers can go to see what work your company has done and how to get in contact with someone about receiving your services. Leads are generated offline. People visiting your site have already heard about your company and are looking for more information. Your website serves as an online placeholder, giving your business more legitimacy in the eyes of your customer. An example of an Authority website would be a construction company website. A construction company will be recommended to customers by other contractors and people in the field. The lead generation happens offline. Sales happen offline as well. Construction companies use contracts to make their sales, which are done in-person versus online. The website aids the company in “getting over the hump” and convincing their leads to become money-generating customers. The Lead-Generation Website As its name suggest, this site is focused on generating leads through its online presence. SEO and targeted marketing strategies play a huge role in bringing in new customers. Sales, however, still occur offline. These websites are found online by people who have “buyer’s intent.” This means the prospective customer is basically ready to spend their money, they just need to be convinced that your business is the perfect place to do this spending! A divorce attorney located in Seattle would use their website as a lead-generation tool by incorporating SEO for those looking for such a service. Their customers are searching online, through search engines, like Google. Successful leads then move offline for the final sale. The Sales Website This site is especially popular, as both leads and sales are all done completely online. These are the sites that sell products or services through e-commerce. If a site has a cart, then it falls into the Sales website category. Easy enough to understand, right? Not quite. A company’s website can still fall into the Sales category if that business utilizes online scheduling and payment, but provides the service in-person. The leads and sales are both still online, but the actual service itself is not. The Utility Website A Utility website functions more like a tool than a standard website. These are the companies whose business and website are one and the same. Airbnb and Facebook examples of Utility websites. They don’t necessarily generate leads or sales online, they just exist in the online space and are accessible to anyone that chooses to use them. Why is it Important to Know What Kind of Site I Have? First and foremost, marketing and advertising for each type of site should not be handled in the same way. Each site has different requirements that need to be met in order to excel in attracting new customers. An authority website needs excellent photography and content that positions the company as an expert in whatever services they offer. A lead-generation site, however, needs tons of SEO done in order to convert prospective customers into paying customers. As for sales websites, they need to ensure that their buying process is as streamlined as possible. What Kind of Website Do I Have? In order to figure out what kind of site you will need, ask yourself the following questions: ● Where am I getting my leads from? ● Where are my sales taking place? Online or in-person? ● What type of website am I looking to create? If you can’t narrow it down to just one type, that’s okay! Websites can fall into more than one category, just ensure you’re meeting the needs of each kind of site in order achieve greatest amount of success.

By Noah Britton on 15 September 2020

There are only four types of websites and you MUST know what kind you need, otherwise, you will end up wasting money on ineffective design and marketing.

The Four Types of Website

The Authority Website

Every website can be sorted into one of four types. By knowing what kind you want before making any design or marketing decisions, you can save yourself from a world of hurt and wasted money.

Do you know what kind of website you have or want to have? If you answered “No,” fear not. That’s where we come in! This article goes over each kind, looking at their defining factors and sales structure.

By figuring out what kind of website you need, you can effectively attract the audience you want. A well-defined marketing plan, coupled with strong design decisions, can lead to more money in your pocket.

The authority website.

The authority website serves as an online presence for your business. This is the place potential customers can go to see what work your company has done and how to get in contact with someone about your services.

Leads are generated offline. People visiting your site have already heard about your company and are looking for more information. Your website serves as an online placeholder, giving your business more legitimacy in the eyes of your customer.

An example of an authority website would be a construction company website. A construction company will be recommended to customers by other contractors and people in the field. The lead generation happens offline.

Sales happen offline as well. Construction companies use contracts to make their sales, which are done in-person versus online. The website aids the company in “getting over the hump” and convincing their leads to become money-generating customers.

See Related: Is Your Website Providing the Information Your Visitors Want?

The lead-generation website.

As its name suggests, this site is focused on generating leads through its online presence. SEO and targeted marketing strategies play a huge role in bringing in new customers. Sales, however, still occur offline.

These websites are found online by people who have “buyer’s intent.” This means the prospective customer is basically ready to spend their money. They just need to be convinced that your business is the perfect place to do this spending!

A divorce attorney located in Seattle would use their website as a lead-generation tool by incorporating SEO targeting those looking for such a service. Their customers are searching online, through search engines, like Google. Successful leads then move offline for the final sale.

The sales website.

The Sales Website

This site is especially popular, as both leads and sales are all done completely online. These are the sites that sell products or services through e-commerce. If a site has a cart function, then it falls into the sales website category.

Easy enough to understand, right? Not quite. A company’s website can still fall into the sales category if that business utilizes online scheduling and payment, but provides the service in-person. The leads and sales are both still online, but the actual service itself is not.

The utility website.

The Utility Website

A utility website functions more like a tool than a standard website. These are the companies whose business and website are one and the same.

Airbnb and Facebook examples of utility websites. They don’t necessarily generate leads or sales online. They just exist in the online space and are accessible to anyone that chooses to use them.

Why is it important to know what kind of site I have?

First and foremost, marketing and advertising for each type of site should not be handled in the same way. Each site has different requirements that need to be met in order to excel in attracting new customers.

An authority website needs excellent photography and content that positions the company as an expert in whatever services they offer. A lead-generation site, however, needs tons of search engine optimization done in order to convert prospective customers into paying customers. As for sales websites, they need to ensure that their buying process is as streamlined as possible.

Bonus Reading: What is the #1 Goal of Your Website?

What kind of website do I have?

In order to figure out what kind of site you will need, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Where am I getting my leads from?
  • Where are my sales taking place? Online or in-person?
  • What type of website am I looking to create?

Final word.

If you can’t narrow it down to just one type, that’s okay! Websites can fall into more than one category. Just ensure you’re meeting the needs of each kind of site in order to achieve the greatest amount of success.

Thrive Design is a customer-centric web design agency and marketing agency from Seattle. Contact us to find out how we can elevate your business online! Find us on Clutch, UpCityLinkedInFacebookTwitterInstagram, and Pinterest.

Noah Britton

Noah Britton is the founder of Thrive with 18 years of experience in the web industry and 10 years with WordPress.