‘Brochure website’ is a misleading and inaccurate term. It implies that a website does the same thing as a printed brochure. A perception which is over twenty years old in its desuetude.
So, why not a brochure website? Well, simple:
Can you fill in a form on a printed brochure? Well, you can and post it off, so sort of.
Can you click to go straight to sign up for a newsletter, social media platform, or call a number? Nope.
Can you update it regularly, or fix spelling mistakes? Nope. Once printed it’s done. You can update the brochure and print them out again, but any errors are there for as long as the brochure exists in the hands of the viewer. You can correct these at any time on a website.
Can it be found in a Google or Bing search? Nope.
Can you check how many people have seen the brochure and which pages they visited? Nope. You can have a link to a website with a code so you can see how many people typed in the URL (website address) via Google Analytics. But how many people are going to read it, then not bother? That’s just not an accurate way to check its effectiveness. A definite nope.
Is it made from trees? Nope, but websites can use up resources on a server and be less than carbon neutral, it depends on the website hosting you have. It also depends on the type of paper and printing, both might be eco-friendly.
Can a brochure work on any size or proportions?
Nope, a well made mobile-friendly website will work on all device screen sizes (within reason) and be legible.
A brochure might be folded up into someone’s pocket and not survive a spin cycle in the washing machine!
Even a simple website is very interactive. Back in the late 1990s and very early 2000s, websites weren’t, they really were static things, just text and images on pages.
Now, all sorts of things are happening on even the most basic of websites. Contact forms, Twitter feeds, social media links, telephone links, text links, galleries, slideshows, maps and not to mention the multiple devices your website can be viewed on.
Websites are ever-changing things too, a brochure is static! If your website is well built, keeping it up to date with the latest from your industry will mean better results in Google and more enquiries, which should mean more business.
A brochure has a set number of pages, whereas a website can have multiple pages and be added too without causing issues. Gone are the days where website developers can legitimately charge by the page. With platforms such as WordPress and Drupal, one can add as many pages as is needed, and each can be as effective if not more than a printed folded thing.
Ok, a printed brochure can’t be hacked into, you need to keep the security up-to-date, both via the website and the server, so the hosting and maintenance needs to be kept up to date.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not print-bashing, business cards, posters and brochures are very useful things and don’t rely on a device or power source to work, which is great when you’re out of WiFi range or for elderly people.
Comparing websites and brochures as if they are like for like is a very outdated concept that should have died already!
So for Sir Tim Berners-Lee's sake (the man I owe my entire career to) stop saying ‘brochure’ websites, ok!