To build the right website for your business, you must know the various types of websites and the elements that set each one apart.
Various types of websites exist because they have different purposes.
For example, an ecommerce site or online store sells physical products, an educational website informs readers, and a business website establishes a solid online brand.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common types of websites that are out there.
12 Different Types of Websites
A website is essential because it gives a person, a business, or an organization an online presence. This online identity has different purposes depending on the target audience.
Whether you need your own website for personal or professional use, deciding which type suits your needs is crucial.
Here is a list of the most popular types of websites.
1. Business Website
Whether you run a startup or an established company, you need a business website to reach your customers and provide them with relevant and helpful information.
No company is too small to have its own business website.
Your online identity is a valuable digital asset providing information to customers.
Since business websites should be a reflection of their company’s brand, they should always come with these elements:
- A stunning logo and other visual identities to make your business website memorable
- Design elements reflecting your brand
- Tone reflecting your brand
- Stunning visuals
- Straightforward navigation
SunPower’s website (shown in the image above) exemplifies these qualities. It’s fast, user-friendly, easy to navigate, and has high-quality images.
2. Ecommerce Website
An ecommerce website is a digital version of a company’s brick-and-mortar store. Thus, they share the same functions and goals: to sell products and provide a customer-centric experience.
If you’re selling a wide variety of products, your ecommerce website must be fast and robust enough to accommodate multiple pages. Ideally, each product should have a landing page with descriptions, stunning images, and videos.
When building an ecommerce website, investing in professional-looking photos, videos, and other design elements is essential to earning your customers’ trust.
These elements are crucial because people are inherently more skeptical when using ecommerce websites than when shopping in physical stores.
Ecommerce sites should have the following critical elements to gain the customers’ trust.
- Secure payment systems
- Customer support and interface
- Mobile-friendly web design
- Visually appealing storefront and other design elements
- Integration of third-party apps suitable for the unique needs of an ecommerce website
Crate and Barrel’s ecommerce website has an amazing design, high-quality, stunning images, and Chat and Feedback features that help improve the customer experience.
Ecommerce websites would do well to emulate
3. Blog Website
A blog website has relevant articles, images, videos, infographics, and more to educate and inform the target audience. It also serves as a platform to voice one’s opinion.
Depending on your goal, your blog site may serve as a platform where you can post updated and relevant content or a part of a larger business or ecommerce website.
MyWifeQuitHerJob is one of the most successful personal blog sites, where Steve Chou teaches the audience how to make money by selling online instead of relying on a regular 9-to-5.
4. News Website
Blog and news websites are similar because they focus on the latest stories and information.
However, they do have differences.
Blog sites typically have a more personal tone, whereas news and educational websites are based on factual information, current events, and data.
5. Personal Website
Personal websites are for individuals who want an online platform to voice their opinions, establish their brand, or improve their job prospects.
Even though personal websites have content with a personal nature, it’s still ideal to follow SEO best practices to generate traffic in search engines. Doing so lets you promote yourself as a professional.
You must add your contact information and set up landing pages with different service packages if you sell services on your personal website.
Think of your personal website as a platform to “sell” your skills and expertise.
Thus, ensure you include these elements.
- Elevator pitch (i.e., a statement or short description about what you offer to potential clients)
- Personal blogs to showcase your expertise
- Examples of your best work
- A landing page with links to your online courses (if applicable), contact details, social media websites, and other channels
Check James Clear’s personal website for inspiration on building a successful. According to his About page, JamesClear.com gets over 10 million visits annually.
If you’re serious about monetizing your personal website, you may consider hiring a web designer or a web programmer.
6. Portfolio Website
Creative professionals such as photographers, graphic artists, painters, and writers need a platform like a portfolio website to consolidate and showcase their sample work.
With a visually stunning portfolio website, potential clients and employers can assess a creative professional’s skill set and expertise.
Most portfolio websites use galleries, slideshows, and videos to display their work. Many also include a description or story behind a project to help clients decide if the artists possess the right skills and experience.
Before posting any projects you made on behalf of your clients, make sure you ask for their permission. Not all customers want third-party websites to showcase their proprietary designs.
For some creative individuals, their portfolio website also serves as their personal website.
Justin Eiler’s website is an excellent example of an online portfolio. In this portfolio, you can see stunning and unique photographs of people living their best lives.
7. Membership Website
If you’re selling a digital product or a subscription-based service, resource, or tool, you need a membership website to create a sustainable revenue stream, build customer trust and loyalty, and increase site traffic.
Nurturing and growing your community is arguably the trickiest job keeping your membership site profitable. You can’t just rely on drip-fed content to grow your members.
Here’s how to obtain long-term growth.
- Conduct live webinars where your members can ask questions via chat or phone.
- Set up a Slack channel (or anything similar) where you hold “office hours.”
- Create forums where you engage with your audience and provide them with relevant info.
- Conduct regular live events (annually, quarterly, etc.).
- Set up a private Facebook Group or other popular social media site.
8. Informational Website (or Web Portal)
Informational websites (or web portals) like news outlets, dictionaries, resources, and encyclopedias convey info and feature search functions to allow visitors to find whatever they want.
These websites aim to organize the world’s information and make it useful and accessible. Thus, some people also call them web portals.
9. Nonprofit Website
Unlike business websites, nonprofit websites are not profit-oriented (hence their name).
Nonprofit organizations (NGOs) create websites to inform visitors of an organization’s core values, mission, goals, and functions.
Animal rescue organizations, churches, and entities helping marginalized people need a platform serving as an informational website where visitors can donate, read mission statements, get info on events, and more.
One of the most well-known and nonprofit websites in the world is UNICEF.org.
The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) is a UN agency and nonprofit organization that provides humanitarian and developmental aid to children worldwide.
10. Event Website
Many event websites have a minimalistic web design since there is only one goal: To act as an anchor of their event marketing efforts.
However, a minimalistic web design doesn’t mean limited functions. After all, event websites have to fulfill these functions:
- Grow your mailing list.
- Allow visitors to share events on their social media sites.
- Streamline event management (from invites to marketing).
- Provide relevant information (e.g., date, time, and location).
- Push the primary or headline act (Some sites have a dedicated landing page for each headlining act.).
- Make it easy for visitors to buy tickets (e.g., visible “but ticket” buttons on different landing pages).
11. Online Forum
An online forum is a community focused on a common interest where site owners (or businesses) and members can interact.
Reddit is the world’s most popular online forum, with over 430 million monthly users worldwide.
With online forums, members can discuss topics, share tips, compare experiences, and ask questions with other like-minded people.
Growing your members is not the only thing you need to keep in mind if you want your online forum to be successful. Moderating content is also essential to protect customers from spam and troll content.
Offensive and spammy content may discourage customers from staying or joining an online forum.
12. Entertainment Website
As you’ve likely guessed from its name, the goal of an entertainment website is to entertain.
Unlike news sites, the content of these entertainment websites isn’t serious, so you shouldn’t take it as such. The inherent nature of entertainment websites means all the content is light-hearted and meant to be fun.
You can encounter various entertainment websites during normal internet browsing, and they each use different media to achieve their goal of entertaining their audience.
Some entertainment websites create and post funny videos, while some post satirical articles (ex., The Onion). Some sites, like The A.V. Club, post articles on pop culture, including movies, TV shows, and video games.
Meanwhile, sites like Buzzfeed post list-type articles on mundane topics and often contain “cute” images from various sources.
For example, Buzzfeed has a list-type article titled 9 Cats Who Are Cute Jerks and 9 Cats Who Are Adorably Nice.
Critical Elements Every Website Should Have
While different websites exist to meet different goals and functions, they should all have the following elements.
Whether you need a portfolio website to highlight your best work or an ecommerce site to complement your brick-and-mortar store, your site should be mobile-friendly, meaning it should accommodate smaller screens.
According to a report published by Oberlo, as of August 2022, 59.4% of global web traffic came from mobile phone users.
Good Website Design
All great website designs have one thing in common: They fulfill their intended function while simultaneously engaging the users.
Imagery, functionality, color and other visual elements, typography, and consistency contribute to a good website design and layout.
Excellent Content Writing
Content is king.
Original, relevant, high-quality content positively impacts SEO and increases your website’s ranking in search results pages. A higher position on search results means more customers will see your site and visit it.
Call to Action
A CTA on a site is an instruction to the users that encourages them to take the desired action. It might be a simple text such as “Subscribe to our newsletter.” or “Call us now.”
Every landing page needs a CTA to make sure that your website enjoys a high conversion rate, sales growth, etc.
Whether you’re building a portfolio website or a landing page to collect email addresses from potential clients, it’s vital to include accessible and visible contact information.
According to Inc.com, around 44% of online users will leave a company’s website if it does not contain contact information (e.g., email address, phone number, etc.).
How To Design a Website in 11 Steps
Here’s a step-by-step guide to designing a website.
1. Establish Your Goals.
The best type of website depends on your goals and the functions you want it to have.
Once you establish your goals, it’s easier to decide which kind of website can serve you best.
2. Choose Your Website Builder.
Consider using website builders to design and publish your site with no or minimal coding skills.
Here are popular website builders for beginners.
When choosing your website builder, the price should not be your only deciding factor. You should also consider customer service, professional solutions, and design customization.
3. Conceptualize Your Web Design Layout.
You can conceptualize your website layout using pen and paper or a pre-design template from a professional designer.
Depending on the scope of the project, your website layout can be a multi-page template or a single-page site.
4. Register Your Domain Name.
Your domain name is your internet address. It’s what your users see in their web browser’s address bar.
Choose a domain name that is memorable, short, simple, and professional sounding; this is important because it helps search engines like Google and Yahoo understand your site’s content.
5. Gather and Organize Your Content.
Your content includes articles and other written materials, videos, images, logos, and visual identities.
Use your own materials as much as possible to ensure your content reflects your unique brand.
If you use content from other sources, ensure you do so legally.
6. Start Building Your Pages.
Here are elements you must include on a multi-page website.
- About us page
- Contact page
- Product or service page
Depending on the functions of your website, you may also want to include a FAQ page, blogs, and slideshows for your portfolio.
7. Organize Your Website Elements.
Always keep usability and brand identity in mind when designing your website elements.
Your website should meet business needs and give visitors a positive user experience.
Consider these design elements.
- Whitespace (the space between text, images, or any piece of content)
- Website navigation
- Header and footer to enhance engagement and usability
- Scroll effects (e.g., zoom-in, scrolling up and down, scrolling left and right, and reveal)
- Non-static elements (e.g., videos and animations)
8. Choose Appropriate Tools.
The right professional tools depend on the type of website you need. For example, most ecommerce websites can benefit from Shopify, SEMrush, Mailchimp, Canva, and Magento.
9. Optimize Your Site for Mobile Users.
If you’re a beginner, use a website builder that automatically offers a mobile version of your site, meaning you don’t have to create a new structure from scratch.
Check your website layout and functionality on a smaller screen. A website that looks good on a desktop computer may not look the same on a mobile device.
10. Boost Your SEO.
Search engine optimization is the practice of improving your website’s ranking and visibility when people search for your products or services.
Here are some SEO best practices to improve your website ranking and organic traffic:
- Conduct keyword research
- Boost internal linking
- Include on-page SEO
- Add descriptive alt text (It’s the description of the images on your website.)
11. Publish and Update Your Website.
Always check your website for broken links, security issues, malfunctioning buttons, and other errors.
You should also update your content by posting new blogs, images, videos, and more.
The Bottom Line
I hope my list of the various types of websites made it easier for you to understand how each website differs.
Use the information you learned in this article to determine which type of website is best for your needs and goals.
You must also know about hosting services regardless of what kind of website you want to build.