The table below summarises the type of website that might be suitable for your business. This is only a guide, please use it as such.
Any type of website can work for any type of business, depending on circumstances, budget and organisation.
Below the table is more detailed information to help. WordPress is excellent for providing websites in the categories below, but does have limitations for larger e-commerce websites.
|Website Type||Your Business||Website Content||Example Businesses|
You may think that because the market for your products and services is purely local, with people coming to you to order and buy, then a website may not help you. A website can attract custom from further away to boost your business at those quiet times, and give you an edge on your competition. A local grocery shop or a local hairdresser are both good examples.
It really does not matter whether your customers are local, national or international for a website to help broaden your customer base. What does matter is your ability to modify your processes to take orders from remote customers, then be able to deliver your products and services to them. If you have a complex product to deliver, a self-assembly kit form might be possible.
Products and services that are easy to define, easy to deliver and require minimal installation within customer capability are very suitable for selling online. The customer does not need to visit you to place the order, and you do not need to visit the customer to deliver or install.
Variations of a product or service can be handled by selecting options during the on-line buying process. The product description and all options must be very clearly defined, to ensure a customer to places the order.
Many large big name online retailers sell this type of product, so competition is strong. Price and delivery are crucial. For mass market packaged products, there needs to be a compelling reason for a customer to buy from you online, when there are many more shops and websites selling the same item or service. Price and your service are usually the main factors that drive a buyer, together with a clear, easy to use and secure website with visible and credible contact details. Small businesses often struggle to compete. Leave it to the big players, or set your goals high and go for it!
Products and services requiring complex and detailed specification are more difficult to sell online. The more complex, the more issues to resolve! Online trading is possible, but this might involve an initial electronic order, followed by clarification by e-mail or other media. Delivery and on-site installation might be included. A catalog website with product and service examples can work well.
For bespoke products and services, an information type website works well. The website will concentrate on options available to the customer, your processes, and how the customer will interact with you. The more information you provide to assist your customer the more likely they are to call you. Beware, not to give away your trade secrets!
Complex contractual issues, finance arrangements and where certain checks need to be made prior to accepting an order will reduce your ability to offer an online service. It can get too complex for your customer and for you. All but the simplest of legal and financial services fall into this category. An online enquiry form is a good approach – get talking.
Unique products and services, hard to get anywhere else are very good for selling on the Internet, especially for small businesses. It could be home-made jam, a selection of collectable items, one-off pieces of furniture, or limited edition products. An online shop is an excellent approach.
An interactive feature on a website can help a user to understand a concept, or provide a result against some entered criteria. WordPress is ideal for an interactive website with its blog origins, and many plugins to enhance the functions available,
A web log or “blog” allows regular posting of diary articles to the web. If you have a lot to say regularly, then a blog is a good method to get yourself heard and also a good method to drive traffic to your website.
A forum is a special type of website where people can discuss a subject by posting a topic, and responding to that or another topic, however social media is a better option with your detailed information back on your website.