Website ModelFind The Best Fit
Not every Website is built on the same business model. What are the basic Website models?
I have to note now that these models are business models; the one you select should parallel the basic business model you have identified in your business plan.
Additionally, these models do not depend on the technical form used to create the Website. In other words, you can have your site built using custom designed code, commercial portals, or an open source CMS regardless of the model you select.
“Tell the World We’re Here & We Do Stuff!”
Your Website can be the ultimate brochure for your enterprise and nothing more. Usually, brochure sites are composed of a set of static Web pages, each of which describes some different aspect of your organization. The material presented changes rarely, so it is fairly high-level, or generic, in nature. Visitors who read this content will get a reasonably good idea of what your enterprise is about.
Brochure sites are brochures. They tell the Web world: “We’re here! This is US!” That’s about it. The only interactivity is usually provided by e-mail (“Contact Us”) links and by polls, if used. This type of site works well with enterprises where interaction is not needed and that which you offer visitors rarely changes. If your content changes frequently or you need greater interactivity between your enterprise and those who visit your site, the brochure site is probably not your best bet.
“We Sell Stuff You Can Buy!”
E-commerce sites sell something—anything (anything legal, that is). E-commerce sites can be built around a Business-to-Business (B2B) or Business-to-Consumer (B2C) model, or they can be hybrids. They can be set up to restrict sales to predetermined, qualified, clients or they can sell to the unrestricted public, including other businesses and individuals. E-commerce Web sites typically include any or all of these elements:
- Instant, or private, messaging
- Marketing newsletters
- Customer Relationship Management
- Shopping carts & order tracking
- Payment systems
- Shipping modules & shipment tracking
- Ticketing or reservation system
I have built and maintain e-commerce sites for clients using the Joomla! content management system and VirtueMart, an open-source e-commerce component. I can also build for you a site that uses the comprehensive Magento e-commerce platform.
Social Networking site
“Join Our Community!”
Applications or Website components that offer visitors to bond electronically into a virtual network are involved with social networking. Website owners who provide these capabilities are interested in developing a mature customer base who are loyal to the enterprise. Frequently, customer-produced content can be used to perfect products and services, including the functions of the Web site.
There are some legal and social issues to consider, of course. Some people will post anything that comes to their minds (and fingers); the site has to be managed so that slander and libel are not allowed to be published. Others are convinced that foul language is acceptable (well, they accept it; why shouldn’t everyone?). The First Amendment applies only to government; not all recognize that, however. So, management of social networking functions involves additional responsibilities.
Social networking elements that can be implemented on a Website include:
- Comments systems
- Personal blogs & photo galleries
- Ratings of content & products
- Privacy & data security or integrity
Almost every Website I create and maintain offers some social networking services to registered site members. Unregistered site visitors are rarely accorded the ability to contribute content to any of these sites.