What are the Different Types of Websites?
The most common types of websites are blogs, ecommerce sites, online portfolios, and corporate websites, but there are several more. Knowing the differences between each type of website can help you understand which one you need for your business or project.
This article describes the most common types of websites, explaining what they’re for and who uses them. For each website type, we’ll also recommend the best way to build one, backed by our expert research and testing.
1. Blog website
You’ve likely come across blogs in your browsing experience, but for those who aren’t familiar, they’re online journals or informational pages that are regularly updated.
Typically managed by an individual or a small group, a blog can cover any topic – whether it’s travel tips, financial advice, or doughnut reviews. Blogs are often written in an informal or conversational style, but learning how to monetise blogs has become a popular venture for many writers.
How to build a blog:
For your first blog, we recommend you try Wix. It’s the most user-friendly platform we tested, making it really easy to build a stylish blog.
Wix gained the highest score in our ‘website features’ research (scoring 4.5/5) offering some brilliant blogging-specific tools such as performance analytics, a comments feature, and social bookmarking.
2. Corporate website
Corporate sites provide information about your business, and let potential clients or customers know how they can get in touch with you.
You’ll need several pages on your corporate site, including an ‘About us’ page where you explain your company’s story. Consider including an FAQ section to address basic questions your website visitors may have. Then go to town describing your products or services alongside happy client testimonials to convince the reader that you’re the best business in town.
How to build a corporate site:
We’d recommend going with a web design agency so you can define exactly how your business site looks and works. The scope of corporate sites varies hugely, and you may not find everything you need in a drag-and-drop DIY editor. So in order to get the right aesthetics and functionality, you should hire a web design professional.
To make it easier for you, we’re proud to offer a bespoke tool that matches you with web design professionals based on your specific website needs.
3. Ecommerce website
An ecommerce site, otherwise known as an online shop, allows you to sell products or services via the internet. Your web shop can function as a standalone website or tag onto another kind of website.
You’ll need a couple of extra security features in order to create a trustworthy setting for customers to hand over payment details. For instance, you may want to upgrade to an OV SSL security certificate.
How to build an ecommerce site:
If you’re looking to host and build an ecommerce site yourself, or have a professional build it for you, we’d recommend the reliable hosting of Bluehost combined with the powerful selling features of WooCommerce. Enter: the Bluehost and WooCommerce product!
This is the option if you’re looking to create something truly unique (not limited by web builder templates) or if you want a store that’s big or at least easily scalable – WooCommerce allows for unlimited listing, and Bluehost’s hosting will reliably handle inventories of any size.
For the easy option requiring absolutely no coding or professional web design help, we’d recommend trying Shopify’s 14-day free trial. It came top overall in our research, scoring 4.7/5 for ‘sales features’ and 4.8/5 (the highest score) for ‘customer score’, meaning our research participants really enjoyed using it.
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4. Portfolio website
A portfolio displays examples of creative work. Primarily used by artists and photographers, a portfolio website demonstrates your skills in order to impress clients, customers or future employers.
A portfolio website may need a souped-up hosting service such as cloud hosting to cope with the amount of multimedia on the site.
How to build a portfolio website:
We recommend using Squarespace to build a beautiful portfolio that helps your work stand out. Squarespace places emphasis on design, and has the most stylish templates of any platform we tested, letting you create a professional-looking site in a matter of hours.
Better yet, Expert Market readers can save 10% on Squarespace by adding the code EM10 at checkout.
5. Landing page
A landing page is a single webpage with a clear focus. The page has just one goal: either to convert sales on a product, collect user data, gain signatures for a campaign – the list goes on. Landing pages have a clean and simple design so as to avoid distracting the user from the target action.
A web user reaches a landing page after scanning a QR code, clicking on a paid advert or following a link from social media to name a few examples. As you can see from the example Salesforce landing page below, the persuasive “call to action” (CTA) is very clear: the phrase “watch the demo” is repeated in the headings and on the blue button at the end of the form.
How to create a landing page:
You’ll find a website builder such as Weebly is great for a landing page, just remember to keep the design simple and uncluttered.
6. Crowdfunding website
Crowdfunding is the practice of funding a project or venture by raising small amounts of money from lots of different people. These types of websites are becoming a go-to resource for new startups.
In the past, the only way to fund a new business venture was to seek large investments from venture capitalists (think Dragon’s Den). But these days, you can create a crowdfunding site with ease – you’ll just need to create a pitch video for your project, and then set a target amount and deadline.
Web users who believe in what you’re working on will pledge an amount of money to your cause. You can also offer incentives in exchange for donations, such as discounted products or VIP experiences.
How to build a crowdfunding page:
It’s easy enough to make a crowdfunding page with Wix, for instance. Remember that you should be really transparent about how and where the money collected will be used and we recommend you seek legal advice for absolutely anything you’re not 100% sure of.
You may, however, wish to go through an existing crowdfunding platform such as JustGiving or GoFundMe, as these are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Your page may benefit from extra marketing through the main platform’s internal promotions.
7. Online magazine
With the decline of print media, many publications found new homes online so there’s no reason you can’t be successful finding readers on the web. You should select a particular audience and aim all of your content at them, including imagery, articles and tone of voice. Always keep that target reader in mind and you can’t go far wrong.
An online magazine may have a paywall after a web visitor reads a certain number of articles per month. Or you may choose to include banner ads and affiliate links within your content as alternative ways to monetise the site.
How to build an online magazine:
Are you a budding journalist looking to build an online presence? Then you can’t really go wrong with Wix’s templates (there are over 500 to choose from).
You can even install the News Page app to your business website, which will automatically feed and update your website with relevant news articles. And better still, with paid plans starting from just £4 per month, Wix won’t cost you the earth.
8. Video streaming website
Netflix, along with similar sites like NowTV, have revolutionised the way the world watches television. These video streaming sites have seen their popularity soar in recent years, with catch-up sites like BBC iPlayer and All 4 representing more traditional examples of this particular website type.
Certain platforms like YouTube and Vimeo offer video hosting for a range of uses such as corporate comms, product marketing and vlogs. If you wish to set up a dedicated site to stream video content, bear in mind you’re going to need a significant amount of bandwidth.
How to build a video streaming site:
A plan such as Wix’s Business VIP offers unlimited video hours, so you should choose this if you’re keen to set up your own streaming site.
9. Educational website
More than one in ten (13%) Brits used an online educational course in 2020 and Duolingo saw 180,000+ downloads in September 2021 alone. It’s clear that elearning is exploding in popularity and there’s a mega market to tap into.
Educational platforms can take the form of web widgets, mobile apps, elearning portals, videos, quizzes, games and even online tutoring services. Websites lend themselves perfectly to the interactive nature of education, so why not bring your teaching vision to life with an elearning site?
How to build an educational platform:
Chances are you’re looking to create something quite specialist here, so we’d recommend staying away from the DIY website builders.
If you’re looking to build an education platform, you should let us match you with a web designer who will tailor a creation exactly the way you like.
10. Wiki or knowledge hub
A ‘wiki’ has become shorthand for a kind of online encyclopaedia where web users can find information on certain topics. Often the content is collaboratively written by more than one author. The most popular example is Wikipedia itself, which allows anyone to amend, delete or add to each article.
It’s different from a blog or online magazine because the articles seek to factually document phenomena rather than offer stories and opinions. For this reason, it’s common practice for authors to include citations within the text to show their information sources.
How to build a wiki site:
Since this is a very simple type of website, you should get along just fine with a DIY website builder. We suggest taking a look at GoDaddy for easy-to-edit templates and start putting together your information database today.
What are the types of web design?
You now know more about the different website themes out there, which can range from ecommerce and crowdfunding to portfolio and video streaming – but what are the different types of website design?
In this section, we discuss web design in terms of content and mobile responsiveness.
If you need a web designer, you should use our web designer matching tool. Simply let us know the bare basics of what you’re after and we’ll scour our database of trusted suppliers to find the right ones for your project. They’ll then reach out with bespoke pricing offers for you. It’s a 100% free service and takes just one minute to apply.
Dynamic content design
A website’s design will usually depend on how dynamic the page’s content is – that is, whether the content changes, updates, or remains still over time.
There are two types of page content web design:
Static (or ‘fixed’) websites are the most simplistic websites when it comes to design. The content on these websites doesn’t automatically change or adapt depending on the user, and is not regularly updated.
Static websites are built using simple HTML code, and are usually there to provide information.
A dynamic website will display different content each time a user visits. This type of design is commonly used for blogs and ecommerce sites, or any website that is regularly updated.
Dynamic content design can also show different content to each user at different times of the day. The upside of dynamic content web design is that it creates a more personal and interactive experience for the user; the downside, however, is that these websites are more complex to develop, and may take slightly longer to load than static sites.
Optimised design is when a website reformats its layout to clearly display the page on a different screen size. For example, a website that is mobile responsive will completely reshuffle its layout in order to fit on a mobile screen, keeping the user journey as smooth as possible.
There are three different types of optimised design:
A fixed website is not optimised for screens of different sizes. The website will remain a fixed width of pixels, no matter which device it’s displayed on – whether that’s a desktop, tablet, or mobile.
When viewing a static/fixed website on a mobile, you’ll need to pinch, zoom, and swipe in order to see what’s written on the page. This results in a bad user experience, and means we would not recommend this design.
In fact, 73% of web designers believe that a non-responsive design is a top reason why visitors leave a website.
A website built with a fluid or liquid design ensures that the website looks the same in terms of proportions no matter which screen it’s displayed on. Each element of the website, such as the navigation bar, will take up the same relative amount of space on every device, resulting in a simple user journey.
Responsive design goes one step further than fluid or liquid. A website with responsive design will actually look different on each device – in fact, some less important elements will even disappear in order to fit on the screen, in order to minimise the need for zooming, pinching, or scrolling.
If your target audience spends most of its time on mobiles, then it’s absolutely vital that your website is mobile responsive. Luckily, website builders like Wix offer mobile-ready themes, so you don’t need to worry about optimising your website.
Feeling inspired? Now you know about the different types of websites, you can get going on your own web project.
For most website projects, you can build using a DIY website builder such as Shopify (if you want something ecommerce specific) or Wix. These platforms are easy to use, letting you create killer websites in just a few hours with no coding skills whatsoever.
However, if you’re looking to build a site that’s truly unique, complex, and highly scalable, then a web builder might not cut it. In this case, we’d recommend you find a reliable hosting provider so that your site can be built using code “from the ground up”. Remember: you can always work with a web designer if you don’t have the time or skills to go it alone.
Finally: we’ve written a guide on how to build a website from scratch if you’d like to start bringing your vision to life.
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