Over 1.1 billion websites are online at this moment according to Internet Live Stats, and their number is growing every second. They serve over 2.9 billion Internet users around the world. These figures only confirm the huge expansion of the global network that in 1991 had only one web site (the one of CERN), and only 10 years ago, in 2005 the number was just over 60 million creators of online space.
Without a doubt the Internet has evolved over the past 20 years: from websites for information exchange and text-only content, through sharing multimedia content and developing the concept of user-generated content to new challenges such as the “Internet of Things”.
From idea to realization
Today, opening a website on the Internet is probably one of the simplest business options, especially for young entrepreneurs, but at the same time it is followed by great dynamism, responsibility and uncertainty. This huge “jungle” may be frightening from a competitive point of view, but what is most important for the digital era is the concept of “networking”, establishing partnerships and building positive feedback, rather than classical competition that was present in the past in classical physical businesses.
For all businesses, whether they offer physical or purely digital products, their online presence is inevitable and crucial in today’s environment. Owning your own web space doesn’t only provide promotion and exposure of your brand to potential new customers, but also new business models and opportunities for generating revenue.
The most important approach when you decide that you need such step is to have a clear picture of the idea, the purpose of existence, and a defined mission and vision. A well-defined concept for your online presence increases the chances of success. It’s an encouraging fact that all the results achieved on the Internet are monitored dynamically and in real time, which provides great space for experimenting and minimizing errors.
Types of websites
Websites can be designed for a wide range of Internet users and needs. The general division is on static websites (only the creator publishes content) and interactive (strives to user-generated content).
In more detail, from an economic point of view, websites can be divided into several groups (according to Digital Marketing from 2012):
Sites for e-trade and transactions
These websites provide electronic sales, regardless of whether it’s about physical or digital products. The goal of these sites (and the main source of income) is products sale.
Service-oriented sites for building a prospective client base (Lead generation)
Sites with information on products that should encourage physical sales and at the same time build partnerships with the prospective customers. Example: Automotive companies’ sites.
A site that should mark the area of a particular online business, even though the products are not usually sold online. They are useful for encouraging brand awareness.
Portals / Information Sites
Creators and generators of all sorts of content and information. Together with social networks, they have the widest opportunities for revenue sources.
Social networks and forums
Sites where the content is generated by users only, today are the most influential when it comes to creating public opinion.
The reasons for owning a web-site
We’ve listed above why it is necessary nowadays to be present on the World Wide Web. Here are few detailed reasons:
Products’ online exposure offers a wider reach to potential consumers.
Adding value to the product
Giving consumers extra benefits online.
Getting closer to consumers
Opportunity to interact and communicate with consumers and receive feedback in real time.
Online promotion and communication is incomparably cheaper regarding other media.
Offering new product’s opportunities online and positioning and increasing confidence among the new generation.
Low entry barriers
It’s relatively easier to start, than in other businesses.
It is available 24/7
Physical businesses have limited working hours, but the website is here for the consumers constantly.
Enables global coverage
Almost half of the world’s population uses the Internet, and websites, independent of their country of origin, are available around the planet.
Easier reach to the desired audience of potential consumers with the help of various Internet tools and possibilities.
Professional e-mail addresses
E-mail branding that leaves a more serious impression on the online audience.
One web site has a wide range of business models for its financing. These are the most used ones:
To access the site’s information, the user is required to subscribe to daily / monthly / annual level.
Pay per view
Subscription for one-time access to a site’s document.
Display advertising / banners
The most used advertising model for portals, advertisers purchase a banner for a given monthly price or for cost per thousand (CPM).
Advertising on a cost-per-click basis (CPC)
Unlike CPM, CPC commercial is not charged according displays, but according the number of clicks.
An advertiser whose activity is related to the content of the website may sponsor it for a certain period of time.
In this model, a site advertises products of another business, whereby it receives a percentage of sales from each sold product that is clicked through that site.
In accordance with the consumers, they can receive various promotional e-mails.
Internet research among installed user bases is also one of the most popular online business models.
When a product is available for free online, but its premium version is paid.
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