In the old days, businesses created websites that simply displayed static information: the services they offer, an “about us” description, and their contact information.
These days, website visitors expect more. We’ve become accustomed to using sites like Amazon to buy anything and everything. We go online to make our haircut appointments. We book entire vacations on Expedia.
People use websites to actually get things done.
And they’ve grown to expect this type of dynamic experience from big players and small businesses alike.
Thanks to Ontraport’s Dynamic Content Management System (CMS) and others like it, creating a dynamic, personalized web experience (also known as a web app) is no longer out of reach for small businesses.
Here are five reasons why upgrading your static website to a dynamic website will give your customers a better experience and help you grow faster:
1. More personalized customer experience
When customers interact with your business online, they’re looking for personal attention.
Why do you suppose we repeatedly buy from online sellers like Amazon? It’s likely not because of the products they offer — it’s the shopping experience. As soon as you open Amazon, it’s like they’ve read your mind: You see tempting offers for your go-to shampoo that’s getting low, your dog’s favorite treats and a pair of shoes you were eyeballing the other day. You can find what you need with minimal effort. Not only is this convenient, but it also shows you that Amazon is in tune with what you want. You feel seen.
This is how you want your customers to feel when they interact with your business: understood, cared for, and treated like a familiar friend.
Static websites can offer some surface-level personalization like one-click upsells, on-page recommendations and displaying the visitor’s name, but to create a fully interactive experience, you’ll need a dynamic website. Dynamic websites change for each visitor based on their actions.
For example, say you run a membership site where you share courses and content about cooking and meal planning. Three subscribers log in to your site: a busy parent who needs meal planning tips, a college student trying to eat healthy on a budget, and a vegetarian who loves your meat-free recipes.
With your courses built on a dynamic website, you can offer recommendations personally tailored to each member. You can promote a “Quick and Painless Meal Planning Guide” for the busy parent, a “Healthy Recipes on a Budget” ebook for the college student, and a “Meatless Masterclass” for the vegetarian — all from the same dynamic page.
Your customers will find what they need quickly and know you understand their interests, while you’ll get more opportunities to build lasting relationships.
2. Added convenience for customers through self-serve portals
We love getting things done online because it’s convenient. Why call a salon if you can book your haircut in seconds online? Why wait on hold with a local restaurant if you can make reservations from their site? Accomplishing those little tasks online is faster and easier — and your customers feel the same way.
So how do you deliver that convenience in your own business? With a dynamic website, it’s easy — you’ll be able to add all kinds of self-service elements to your online experience, without coding or developers.
You can tailor a self-serve customer portal for whatever needs are most important to you and your customers.
For example, you might launch a payment center for customers to see past purchases, pay bills and update their credit card details. You can also give them the freedom to manage their own account by offering a space to update passwords, email addresses and other details. Or you can allow them to make appointments, check notes from your consultation and send you messages.
By making these tasks easily accessible, it’s more convenient for your customers, and it takes these items off your team’s plate.
3. Better customization to reach your business goals
Say you offer classes or courses that fill up quickly, and you want to show customers how many spots are left for each one. Or you sell physical products and want to remove sold-out listings so you don’t confuse potential buyers. Or maybe you offer a range of different services, and you’d love to help your clients find what they need with a personalized survey.
These kinds of custom experiences make it easy for customers to do business with you because everything is smooth, simple and specific to their needs. The result? More clients who buy from you and stick around.
You likely already have some ideas about how you’d like to customize your site, customer journey, internal workflows and more — but to put those ideas into action in the past, you would have needed to hire a developer and buy various pieces of technology.
With Ontraport’s web app capabilities, you can easily create these experiences to fit your vision, without any code. You aren’t limited to a predetermined set of features: You can customize your web app to make it as unique as your business, without sacrificing your time or outsourcing a developer to do it for you.
Want to try out Ontraport’s Dynamic Content Management System (CMS) for yourself? Sign up for a free, 14-day trial — there’s no commitment or credit card required.
4. Stronger competitive edge to win over more customers
Many small businesses already do offer some of these interactive, convenient experiences, but not through their own web app — through a third-party app instead. For example, if you run a yoga studio, you might use something like MindBody for class registrations. Or if you own a sushi bar, you may use GrubHub for online orders.
These platforms have been a go-to for small businesses because it was previously nearly impossible (and very expensive) to create these experiences on their own site.
But there’s a downside: These apps make it a lot harder to stand out from the crowd. They’re designed to promote thousands of different businesses at once, which makes it easy to get lost in the shuffle.
You could offer all that convenience and engagement without being listed right next to your competition and paying extra fees. Clients could book your yoga classes right from your site, or your sushi bar could have its own takeout portal. With a dynamic website, that’s all realistic — and it’s all under your control.
You won’t have to pay extra fees for middleman platforms like MindBody, GrubHub or Amazon, you won’t be restricted by the constantly changing rules in outside apps, and you won’t be relying on a third-party site to give your customers a great experience. And the best part? You won’t be pitted up against the competing yoga studio across the street.
5. Less maintenance, more time for things that matter
Maintaining a static website takes a lot of manual work.
For example, say you’re running your blog with a static page builder. When you want to post a new article, you add the headline, content and images to a template, then voila! You’ve got a new post. Seems simple enough, right?
Except your work doesn’t stop there. You might want to add your new article to a list of recent posts. Or include it in the author’s “about” page, add it to your newsletter, or promote it on your homepage. If you want your new content to show up anywhere else on your site, you’ll need to either add it manually to each page or deal with tags, plugins or custom code. Not so simple.
With a dynamic website, the process of launching and maintaining your content is much more streamlined. You only have to fill in your headline, copy, images and other details in your database once. After that, your content will automatically populate on dynamic web pages across your site where you want it. So if you want to add your new blog article to your list of recent posts, your homepage and the author’s profile all at once, you can do it with a single click.
This convenience doesn’t just apply to blogs. It works for all kinds of content and simplifies web maintenance across the board. For instance, let’s say you’re hosting a webinar and one of your speakers just dropped out. In a static website, you’d have to track down every page that mentions that speaker and manually make adjustments. But with a dynamic website, you can update your database just once — and that speaker will automatically be removed everywhere on your site.
When you aren’t slowed down by tedious web maintenance tasks, you’ll have more freedom to build your business. You’ll open up more time for your most important projects, and you’ll be able to implement ideas faster.
Your static website has served you well — but if you want to show customers you care, stand out from the crowd and create one-of-a-kind online experiences that set you up to scale, a dynamic website is the way to go.
Already thinking of all the different ways you can use a dynamic website in your business? Sign up for a free, 14-day trial of Ontraport to start getting your ideas up and running in no time (without coding!).