A website is one of the basic things that the audience expects from a business nowadays. Today, if you want to succeed in any business, no matter how big or small, you need to have a fully-functioning website with an attractive layout. However, before you start building your website, you need to be aware of all the types of websites out there.
In this article, we are aiming to clarify all your doubts about what a website is and give you detailed information on all the different types of websites so that you can decide for yourself which one best meets the needs of your business.
What is a website?
A website today becomes your introduction to the audience at large. Any individual forms an opinion about your brand by looking at your website and how you’ve presented your business over there. A website, essentially, is a collection of multiple interlinked pages (web pages) that one can access with a common domain name. Any business, group, or even individual can make a website.
All of the websites together make the world wide web (or www) as we know it. These websites can be created in a great number of categories such as eCommerce websites, blog websites, social media websites, and more. All of these websites may have different roles but all of them have something in common- that all of them have several linked web pages.
Different Types of Websites
1. Business Websites
If you want to showcase the identity of a business online, then you can always go ahead with a business website. There are a lot of reasons why a business would want to have an online presence and be visible on the internet, some of those could be creating a public image that boasts of its size, modernity, sophistication, customer service, connectedness, and reliability, to attract a new potential customer base, and more.
Even with all the advancements in technology, there are still some businesses that do not have an internet presence. There are few local businesses such as plumbers or electricians that do get business through word-of-mouth and may not see the point of having an online presence in order to attract more customers.
Similarly, there are a lot of professionals that choose to look for business/jobs on third-party websites like LinkedIn or lead generation websites. There are also places such as Amazon and eBay where traders on these websites do not need to have a separate website in addition to their presence here.
However, it becomes important for you to have a website if your business seeks to recruit employees or is seeking to attract customers and generate revenue by having an online presence. Having a website allows you to represent your services in a professional setting that is essentially controlled by you if you ever wish to alter the image.
If you need another reason, then mostly all small, medium and large-sized businesses have a website now. Anyone who’s planning to associate themselves with your business would first scout your website to get a first impression, so not having one could probably put you off balance with potential customers.
2. Catalog and Brochure Websites
Catalog and brochure websites are the subsets of a business website. Essentially, they are business websites that are used to display a business’s products or services.
A brochure website is a simply designed website made to display a business’s products or services for people to view online. These typically display case studies, testimonials, images, or videos. This website is a little different than a catalog website, as we do not need to showcase a lot of different varieties of products on a brochure website. It is essentially an attractively presented online advertisement of the business that informs the user of where the business is located, how to make a contact, and a brief understanding of the products or services it offers.
A brochure website is quite simple compared to a catalog website. It can even have a single page with the business information and images (an ideal brochure website should have at least 5 pages). A catalog, on the other hand, can have dozens or hundreds of pages that represent different product ranges to individual products.
A catalog website is different from an eCommerce site (discussed below) with one major difference, and that is, a catalog website doesn’t allow customers to check out and make payments online. It is more of a showcase of the products or services, and if the customer wants to make a purchase, they can request a quotation or contact the business to place an order (depending on the business model).
3. eCommerce Websites
An eCommerce website (or electronic commerce website) is used by businesses that want to display their products or services online and allow customers to make purchases of the goods or services directly online through a payment gateway. Having such a website gives the user freedom to make their purchase any time of the day through the website, without having to contact the business.
eCommerce is a subset of a business website, however, here you can display all of your products or services that a user can buy online. It allows the users to browse the products and add them to their virtual shopping “cart” if they wish to make a purchase. Once the user has put the products in their cart, they have the option to go ahead with the virtual checkout process which allows the purchase to be processed. This checkout process is often integrated with credit/debit cards, and virtual payment systems such as PayPal, Net banking, and more.
4. Non-Profit Websites
A non-profit website represents a not-for-profit organization where people are working towards a cause such as an overseas aid charity, medical research charity, or heritage charity. While there are a lot of websites that can be considered non-profit, such as educational websites for private or public schools, however, the term non-profit is usually used for a charitable organization which are not associated with schools or colleges.
These non-profit websites are generally there to showcase the work of the organization and often include a CTA or call-to-action to encourage the viewers in some way to contribute to the non-profit organization by either making a donation or attending an event.
These non-profit websites also usually have a gallery feature that includes images of past events hosted by the organization. Doing so gives the audience a glimpse of the kind of work the organization is dealing with. This also has an “About Us” page where you can talk in-depth about your mission, the past work done by the organization, the origin, and the vision of your organization.
5. Educational Websites
In the simplest terms, educational websites represent an educational institute such as traditional colleges, schools, or universities. It can also showcase the service of a private education provider such as virtual colleges, online courses, tutors, and more.
These websites usually are built to provide information about degrees, courses, campus pictures, contact details, news, fee structure, etc., to future students. A lot of online educational websites also provide courses to students through their websites.
A lot of educational websites choose to display their course structure, and faculty information, as well as a CTA where you can choose to sign up for a virtual tour of the campus. These websites should be built to represent the education providers in a professional light and be as welcoming as possible toward the new enrolling crowd. Doing so would allow the website to attract more students and also reassure both parents and students about the education providers and the quality of education they’re offering.
6. Portfolio & CV Websites
Portfolio websites are used to showcase the work of artists from different creative fields such as painters, writers, designers, illustrators, craftspeople, and more. Here, the main page of the site would include a gallery of samples of the artist's work (if the art is in visual form), and if it’s the display of someone’s written work then it would carry excerpts from the individual’s written work.
It can also have a section where you can provide information about the artists, their story, their inspiration, and links to their work or any publications.
These portfolio websites can be created by artists to get more freelance work, display their art, or just as an attachment to their CVs for jobs to show potential employers their skills. Now, there are also CV websites which are simpler websites that aim to showcase the professional and personal life of an individual such as their education information, employment history, skills, etc.
Both these websites can be used by an individual as an addition to a job application. And looking at the professional nature of both websites, the tone needs to be formal and appropriate for work conditions.
7. Blog Websites
The word blog is a shorter form of the term weblog. Blogs are places where individuals can log in with their personal experiences, tell stories, share adventures, and much more.
When it comes to blogs there is no limit to what you can share online. There are a lot of famous blogs online where people share their personal stories, travel story about their recent adventures, or a family recipe for everyone to try.
Other than personal use, blogs are also used by businesses to share their wisdom and utilize search engine optimization (SEO) to attract new customers. Companies write these blogs around certain keywords that people use to search for information online, and when your content answers the query of any customer, it appears on their search engine result page to view.
Be it personal or professional, blogs are a great way for you to showcase your creativity and share it with the world.
8. News Websites
News websites are media outlets that display news online for different platforms such as newspapers, tv channels, cable channels, and more. Most famous new publication nowadays has an online website where they invest time and money to publish quality content for the readers.
These online new publications usually follow a formal tone and a newspaper-like structure where all the content looks and feels like reading a physical newspaper.
A lot of publications have a subscription method where you can subscribe to the online paper for a fee or they sometimes just offer the service for free and earn their money through ads, and some are a combination of both methods.
Whatever type of website you decide to build, make sure it matches the intent of your business and showcases your business in the best light possible. Building a website can be quite a strenuous job, you can either do it on your own, hire a developer, or even hire a website development company to do it for you.