Web Portal vs Website: The Nuances You Need to Know Before Investing

In this web portal vs website article, we are going to talk about small yet considerable differences that’ll help you choose the right one for different stages of your customer interaction. The main difference between the web portal and website lies with the access your customers have. Website is open for all and it fetches traffic from a lot of different sources, whereas a web portal is limited to your customers or your prospects or people who decide to create their personal accounts with you. Generally, your website is the gateway to enter into your web portal. Essentially, it’s not about portal vs website or the differences between them, it’s about creating a synergy around them to get the best of both of them.

What we are trying to say is that you need both of them.

But why do you need both of them? How will having different points of interaction help you acquire and retain your customers? Read ahead...

The amount of interaction we have with the companies that make the products we use every day is staggering. And growing. With the existence of multiple social media platforms, our need to talk, express, complain, and collaborate has increased. The pros and cons of that are a matter for another day. But there’s constant interaction with multiple people for a number of reasons or without any.

Writing a letter to the company that makes your body wash, and accidentally used a slightly oily bottle once, was tedious. But 140 character tweets can now hold them accountable.

No matter what your business is, and who your customers are, they want you to be accountable for what you do and how you do it. With this need for accountability, comes the need for transparency. Transparency, within and outside the company.

So there is the concept of a website. Whether you sell on it or not, you had a website. Now, of course, the website itself has evolved. It’s a shop, a business card, a face to the world, a marketing requirement, a place to flaunt your skills and accolades, everything.

If we were to differentiate between website and web portal, a website and a web portal are two sides of a coin. While the website does all that, a web portal catches the business/interaction that the website attracts.

A successful customer journey begins at the website and ends with a purchase that happens inside the portal. But let’s go into details and explore the functionality of each separately.

What is a website and how can it help your business?

In technical terms, a website is a collection of web pages with a common domain name published on a single server, according to Wikipedia. But majorly, it is the face of your brand, your first impression as mentioned above. And here’s what a website can do for your brand:

- First and foremost, it acts like a business card and a portfolio rolled in one. Customers or fellow businesses can reach you, know about your products and services, and see your past work. If you browse around this website here, you will see these things labeled under Contact Us, About Us, Portfolio &/ Case Studies.

- It is a store: CRMJetty also has a store component. From there, you can purchase our products. Similarly, you can browse online stores via their websites. A number of them have a comparison feature so you can easily make a purchasing decision.
- Marketing tool: Once you have a website, you can use it to its maximum potential for marketing. Each component has dedicated marketing value and it is even designed to get attention. The first fold of any website, even if it has 7 words or no words, is given a lot of thought. It will decide what the customer does next. Each button is used to extract interaction, while not trying to look too hard. Website design is tight rope and we all walk it.

- Knowledge base or blog: this part is a display of the company’s knowledge, skills, and interests.

A website must be found when searching for things it provides. The better it is designed, and put together, the more are its chances of discovery.

Now that we have a clear understanding of a website, let’s dig deeper into what a web portal is.

What is a web portal and how can it help your business?

Your web portal takes care of the business aspect of things and enables you to take action on what your website presents of you. For example, you’ve listed out all your products on your website, but when your visitor clicks on the ‘buy now’ button, they are redirected to a sign up/sign in page which is the gateway to your portal.

If they’ve not signed up with you yet and are first time customers then they’ll have to make an account with you and only then they’ll be able to purchase from you. Once they are signed up, they’ll have credentials to sign in your web portal any time they want to make a purchase from you.
A web portal not only allows you to nurture your customers but also create a strong database of your customers in your CRM.

There are other things for which a web portal can be used. Following are the same:

- Dedicated space: It gives your customers a dedicated space to store their personal data, browse your products, make purchases, store their payment details, create a wishlist, manage addresses, and much more. For a B2B web portal, the vendors or partners would be able to create proposals, interact through online chat, generate tickets, etc. The functionality of the space depends largely on your business model and the interaction required between you and your customers.

- Customized solution: As mentioned in the above point, a custom web portal can give your customers the right features they need to interact with your brand. Custom solutions are flexible and scalable, letting you expand the same as and when required.

- Nurturing: Since each customer will have a separate space to interact with you, you can study their interactions and behavior and send them promotional offers and coupons according to their choices. This way you will be able to get more out of a single customer.

- Engaging: Since you have their interaction data, you can engage with them on a personal level by sending personalized messages, offers, notifications, new releases, etc. This keeps them engaged with your brand giving you an upper hand over your competitors.

Where to invest?

It’s not a matter of choosing one over the other or website vs web portal but in fact, how to use them simultaneously in order to capture, nurture, engage, monitor and retain your customers. The key lies in using the right solution at the right time.

When to use a website?

- At the initial stage of interaction when your customers don’t know about you at all.

- Use your website to educate your customers about your products and services and to pitch them through product pages, blog, FAQs, About Us, and other CMS pages.

- Attract more traffic to your website by creating SEO friendly product pages and content using the right keywords.

When to use a web portal?

- After deciding to make a purchase with you, move them to your web portal.

- Use a web portal to interact with them on a regular basis to sell more.

- Emails, calls, online chats, are a thing of the past, web portals are the new way to interact with your customers.

Both of them have a different use case and both are necessary for you to build your brand. The only question is when to use which platform and we already addressed that.
So, if you already have a website but not a web portal, then we can help you out with that. We’ve been creating custom web portals for different industries for close to 12 years now. Just like we said, we also began the business of building websites before we started making portals.

Writer's note: This article was written in collaboration with Roma Amarnani.

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