The best website business model for a Web entrepreneur, or for an existing brick-and-mortar business expanding to the Web, is tailored to the type of product or service being sold, the experience of the business owner and the longer-term goals for the site. Product-focused businesses normally choose a sales site model, which can be limited to one item or offer an array of products. Content-oriented models typically are the best choice for those wanting to leverage the power of search engines to drive traffic to sites and profit from online advertising and customer referral programs.
Many existing businesses or Web startups already have a product to sell. For these business owners, the best website business model will likely come from the variety of sales sites commonly in use. A one-product sales site is a typical starting place for entrepreneurs new to the Web. Existing businesses with an array of products can benefit from multiple product sites that many retailers use. In each case, it is vital for the website business model to accommodate the standard tools that enhance the customer experience, including easy payment method, timely shipping and a feedback mechanism — repeat customers and word-of-mouth referrals are major sources of online sales.
A website business model designed to create income without selling a specific product focuses on creating and posting relevant content online, drawing viewers through search engines and placing click-through advertising next to the content. The ads placed typically are selected by the advertisers to relate to the content, and the owner of the content site receives income when viewers click on ads. This type of business model is a fit for those who can research the words Web users are searching and develop interesting, useful content that will attract viewers.
It is important as well that the business model be chosen to reflect the long-term goals of the business owner. Using a generic website design can be inexpensive and effective for a small startup, but if the goal is to build a larger Web presence, the business owner should consider investing in a custom-designed website from the beginning that offers the capability for easy, cost-effective expansion as new products are offered. If the long-term goal is to develop new lines of business, a website business model that includes creating multiple, independent sites that target potential customers for each new business line may be best.