What kind of website do you need?

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Are you considering a new website? How exciting!

Although you’re probably anxious to get your site up and running, there are a few decisions you need to make first. I talk about some of them in Your First Website: Are you ready to dive in?

Another aspect to consider is the type of website you need to achieve your goals. In this post, I discuss a few options that will affect the tools you use to create your site, or the type of professional you need to look for.

Standard Business Website

Your business website can be a powerful marketing tool where you showcase your products and services, along with testimonials, media mentions and work samples. You can collect email addresses, make offers, and provide information to your audience.

If your site includes a blog, your customers can keep up with trends and industry changes while you demonstrate your expertise. Regularly posting valuable content on your blog is also an excellent way to increase the likelihood that your site will come up in searches, especially for potential clients who don’t already know about you.

I have a few clients who really don’t need to generate a lot of traffic, because they’re able to keep their schedule filled with existing clients and word-of-mouth referrals. For them, their website simply serves as a reference for people who have met or heard about their business and want to learn more. In many cases, a single-page site does the job nicely.

Even the smallest business can benefit from a website, but understanding the intended purpose of your site is a crucial aspect of the initial planning phase.


If you’re counting on using your website to sell physical or digital products, your technical requirements will be much more complex than a standard website.

In addition to a secure payment system, your e-commerce platform should allow you to easily add your products and display them attractively and in a way that shoppers can quickly find what they need. An e-commerce site will generally require a more robust hosting service than a standard website.

Although there are numerous e-commerce options for WordPress, many require advanced technical knowledge to set up and/or maintain. If you don’t have the time or skills to manage it yourself, or the budget to hire someone else, you may be better off with a standalone e-commerce platform like Shopify.

E-learning or Memberships

Technical requirements for an e-learning or membership site are even more complex, because in addition to a way to restrict access, you need some type of e-commerce to collect the fees. This may involve integrating multiple systems or investing in a more expensive all-in-one solution.

Other Types of Websites

Not all business websites are for marketing a business or selling products, courses, or memberships.

Blogging can be a standalone business for those willing to put the time and effort into creating fresh content and managing the site. Professional bloggers combine their writing with branded sponsorships, product endorsements, affiliate marketing, advertising, and sales of merchandise and services.

Blog sites are very popular because they can built easily and inexpensively using tools like Blogger, Wix, and WordPress, using minimal coding.


Your website may not fall into any of the above categories, or it may be a combination of more than one. The amount of traffic you expect to generate and your technical proficiency in website management will also affect what you need in terms of content management, hosting, and other aspects.

The important thing is to have an idea of what your specific site will need.

Did I miss anything?

What other types of websites have you seen?

Casual Photo of Janet Barclay

Janet Barclay

I eliminate stress for my clients by hosting, monitoring, and maintaining their WordPress sites so they don’t have to worry about security, downtime or performance issues. When I’m away from my desk, I enjoy reading, photography, cooking, watching movies, drinking tea, and spending time with my family.

Join the Conversation!


  1. Julie Bestry on May 30, 2023 at 4:11 pm

    I think maybe it helps to think of websites like buildings. Some are schools, some are stores, some are theaters, but all require infrastructure and easy navigation, and designs for some won’t work for others. I love how you laid out the different categories.

    One type or maybe sub-type of website is an “author site.” Usually, it’s designed more for the author’s image. It might have an e-commerce element, it might have a blog, but in general, it’s about drumming up excitement and sharing information about the author. There are so many publishing-related bloggers advising how to best create an author site, but none make it feel very fun.

  2. Janet Barclay on May 31, 2023 at 8:51 am

    That’s a good point, Julie. Interestingly, the first website I created for someone other than myself was for an author.

  3. Linda Samuels on June 26, 2023 at 9:26 am

    It’s interesting what Julie said about the author sites. I used to have one when I published my book over 10 years ago. And up until three years ago, I maintained two sites- that one and my organizing site. In 2020, I did a redesign and opted to combine the two sites into one. That was the best decision I ever made. It’s so much easier to manage and less confusing for people. They can find everything book, blog, articles, contact info and more in one location.

    • Janet Barclay on June 26, 2023 at 10:03 am

      You’re not the first person I know who decided to combine multiple websites into one. There are advantages and disadvantages to both approaches, but the cost of hosting and maintaining extra websites can really add up, so unless the two websites aren’t at all related, it may not be worth it.

  4. Sabrina Quairoli on June 26, 2023 at 10:59 am

    I’ve helped update many companies and their service-based websites. While I do not sell products, nor do my clients, having a well-established process for e-commerce is essential and will help the site be more secure for visitors. Over the years, I’ve heard of several security breaches in the e-commerce realm, so making sure the site is well secure is paramount.

    • Janet Barclay on June 26, 2023 at 11:09 am

      Yes indeed! Thank you for mentioning this.

  5. Seana Turner on June 26, 2023 at 1:45 pm

    What would be involved in taking a WordPress site like mine, and then making it a vehicle for e-learning. Not necessarily having content accessible, but to accept membership fees? Sabrina’s comment is also something to think about for sure.

    Very helpful, as always. 🙂

  6. Diane N Quintana on June 26, 2023 at 2:28 pm

    I really like this review of the different types of websites. It’s helpful to know.

    Jonda Beattie and I have the Release Repurpose Reorganize website with products and use Woo Commerce. I didn’t set it up and know it takes a bit more work on the back end to integrate it. Also, both Release Repurpose and my DNQ website link out to Amazon. Coming soon is a link to our new shop on Etsy. My DNQ website is currently undergoing reconstruction. It will have a new look and feel – I think a bit more modern.

    • Janet Barclay on June 27, 2023 at 8:52 am

      You’ve presented some good options – sometimes it’s simpler to link to a third party site such as Etsy or Amazon rather than setting up the store on your own site. Technical issues can still arise, but at least it’s not your problem to solve!

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