With the internet such a ubiquitous presence in our day-to-day lives, it is hardly surprising that there are a huge number of different types of website out there.
From small, personal blogs to data-guzzling online stores, if you’re considering starting your own digital adventure, it can be hard to know where to start. To help you decide which website you’d like to build, here’s a run-down of the seven most common types of website.
Top 7 Types of Website
Personal websites are typically small websites run by an individual that showcase a hobby or private interest. They can also be online hubs that help families, like-minded individuals or even social groups stay in touch. They have limited capabilities and server capacity, having usually been created with an online DIY website builder. These sites are not designed with large growth in mind as they occupy such a small niche. Personal sites are often very similar to blogging sites.
These types of site, including the likes of Flickr, imgur and PhotoBucket, offer free photo sharing capabilities to anyone that is interested. They also offer the ability to find creative commons stock imagery for use on other websites. As ever greater numbers of people store photos, data and other content in the cloud, it is becoming increasingly important to be able to access and update this information on the go. As such, there are any number of smart phone apps, such as Instagram, that make it quick &easy to upload images directly to photo sharing websites.
A cross between photo-sharing websites and a personal blog, these creative platforms help to showcase an individual’s or artist’s work. They often include a blog or relevant recent news, links to social media and a mailing list, which can help you keep up-to-date with the artist’s latest posts. These platforms can prove pivotal in the success of burgeoning artists as it not only allows them to showcase work, but can double up as an eCommerce store allowing visitors to buy creations too.
Of course, artists can also go into more detail if they feel their visitors will benefit from it. For example, a writer’s website could (and probably should) include: a biography, a catalogue of published writings, content excerpts to draw in readers as well as links to publications on eCommerce websites like Amazon.
Social Media / Community Building
These sites foster and develop online communities of people who want to interact with each other or connect with people who share similar interests. These sites are amongst the most popular and most visited sites on the internet and include digital giants like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest. For smartphones, these sites take the form of apps like Snapchat, which is popular amongst digital natives.
There are also online discussion forums, such as Reddit, in which links and content of interest can be shared for others to read or consume. Reddit in particular is known as the ‘Front Page of The Internet’ and is as much a crowd-sourcing news site as it is an image sharing or community building site.
Many social sites can be described as ‘hybrid’ sites, combining social aspects with blogging, photo sharing or eCommerce. An example of this cross-over could include dating sites. Some would say they are community oriented, with in-house forums and chat functions, but they are founded for commercial reasons.
Blogging is the 21st Century answer to writing a diary, journal or editorial. Blogs can be stand alone or an essential add-on to another site. They allow quality engagement and the possibility of projecting a brand. Blog pages are where businesses, organisations and individuals can relay news, updates and content to interested parties or consumers. They may also deal with topical issues in the news. Recent updates to Google algorithms have made quality content, such as blog entries, a much more influential factor in how a website ranks in search page results.
Directories + Online Comparison
Directories do exactly what they say on the tin, offering information on business sectors, local resources and places of interest. They are essentially digital versions of the Yellow Pages, but much more comprehensive. Directories sometimes allow the public to submit ratings for businesses and places, which has helped fuel the huge growth of both Yelp and Trip Advisor. Directories, although basic websites, actually offer a vital service in creating ‘shop windows’ for your site as well as backlinks to your domain.
Comparison sites such as Compare the Market let users compare products and services. Publishers earn commissions based on whether a user makes a purchase through the comparison site. Comparison sites act as a bridge between directory and e-commerce websites.
if you are wondering “What is an e-commerce website”, then look no further because we can clarify that for you immediately: eCommerce websites are online shops that sell goods or services over the internet. Familiar names may include Amazon, which is the biggest eCommerce website online, as well as auction-site Ebay and arts & crafts marketplace Etsy.
These types of site can also act as an online brochure that can be integrated with almost all of the different types of website discussed above.
The structure of an eCommerce site will be different to the majority of other sites as the required architecture tends to be more complex , often designed with scalability and flexibility in mind. eCommerce sites require a lot more action from visitors than other sites and as such need to be designed with user experience in mind.
Despite their more complex structure, eCommerce sites offer benefits to both consumers and businesses alike, with consumers benefiting from cheaper prices due to reduced overhead costs and businesses enjoying a potentially global fan-base that can make purchases 24-hours a day.
Understanding the types of different websites available and how to mix + match them can play an important part in your overall online strategy. The best starting point if you are looking to redesign an old site or launch a new one is to find the right web designer for the job.
To get started, why not take a look at our reviews of the UK’s leading web design agencies.