What kind of website do you need?
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.
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?