You understand the importance of creating an engaging website to promote your business, but with so many different types of websites on the internet today, it can be hard to know which style is the best fit.
To make this decision easier, we’ve curated 15 popular types of websites — from portfolio websites to e-commerce stores to everything in between. We’ll unpack what each type has to offer. So get ready for a whirlwind tour through some fantastic website examples.
Types of Websites
We’ll look at the successful examples of each type so you can get an idea of what might work best for you. Whether you’re looking to start a blog, sell products online, or just showcase your work, read on for all the information you need to make the right decision for your online presence.
1. Business Website
Business websites, or corporate websites, are designed to promote a company’s products or services and build brand awareness by providing relevant content, helpful resources, and easy navigation. Every business these days needs an online presence — even if you aren’t selling products online — from massive corporations like Coca-Cola to small businesses like The People vs. Coffee.
Common features of a business site include an About Us page, contact details, product or service descriptions, customer testimonials, promotional offers, and integrated social media links.
A successful business website should provide customers with everything they need to learn more about the company, access customer service, and make a purchase (if applicable).
Looking to create a website for your business? See our article How to Make a Website for a step-by-step guide.
2. Ecommerce Website
E-commerce websites allow businesses to sell their products online. So, if your main objective is to sell products on your website, this is the type of site you want.
They typically include product images and descriptions, payment processing capabilities, shipping options, and customer accounts.
The key to a successful online store is providing customers with an easy-to-use shopping experience and intuitive navigation. Common features of an e-commerce website include product reviews, wishlists, promotions, easy checkout processes, discount codes, and related product suggestions.
Consider using Shopify if you’re building an eCommerce site. It’s a website builder that makes it easier than ever to create a web store, with premium themes built specifically for converting website visits into sales. Some great examples of e-commerce stores built with Shopify include PopSockets and Thrive Causemetics.
Blogs are websites that feature regularly updated content on a variety of topics. They typically include an editorial calendar, blog posts, images & videos, tags or categories for organization, and a comments section to encourage reader engagement. WordPress is the most popular blogging platform in use today.
The goal of a blog is to create engaging content that educates or entertains readers. Successful blogs are updated regularly and frequently and feature fresh content that is both informative and entertaining.
When they started out, these websites were personal blogs, kept like digital journals or diaries. But as they evolved, businesses began keeping blogs as a way to reach potential clients in a more personal way. Apartment Therapy and Smitten Kitchen are two examples of blog websites.
4. News/Media/Entertainment Website
News, media, and entertainment websites are designed to provide readers with up-to-date content on a wide range of topics, including news, sports, entertainment, current events, lifestyle, and more. Their main purpose is to deliver local or world news and information quickly.
Common features of news websites include a homepage with the latest headlines and featured stories, an archive section to access older content, comment sections for reader engagement, and easy-to-use navigation.
5. Event Website
Event websites are designed to promote and provide information about upcoming events, such as conferences, concerts, or fundraisers. They typically include event details, a schedule of events, registration forms, ticket sales options, maps & directions, and contact information.
An effective event website aims to get visitors excited about attending the event and to make registering and purchasing tickets as easy as possible.
6. Membership Website
Membership websites are designed to provide exclusive content or resources to members who pay a subscription fee. They typically include registration forms, payment processing capabilities, member-only content or resources, and user profiles.
The goal of a successful membership website is to provide members with value in exchange for their subscription fee and ensure that the content or resources are always up-to-date.
7. Service Provider
Service provider websites are designed to provide a specific service to their visitors. This could include online services like video and music streaming, such as YouTube, Netflix, or Spotify. Or, this category could include software-as-a-service websites such as Dropbox, ConvertKit, and Freshbooks. They typically feature a way to personalize the service and subscription options with a way to collect payment.
Successful service provider websites are user-friendly and make it easy to access the services they provide.
8. Portfolio Website
Portfolio websites are designed to showcase an individual or organization’s work and achievements. They typically feature contact information, a portfolio of work, client testimonials & reviews, and an About page.
These sites are very common among photographers, tattoo artists, graphic designers, painters, builders, cinematographers, interior decorators, and anyone with a visual body of work they want to show off.
The goal of a successful portfolio site is to showcase the person’s or business’s skills and expertise in an attractive way so that it encourages potential customers to reach out.
9. Personal Website
Personal websites are designed to provide information about an individual. They typically include a biography about the person, contact information, photo galleries, blog posts, and links to the person’s social media accounts.
Personal websites are often about brand creation, like this site for professional windsurfer Sean O’Brien. However, they may also act as a digital resumé for those looking for job opportunities, like this website for designer Rubens Cantuni.
The goal of a successful personal website is to introduce the individual to the site’s visitors, give the person a forum with which to share their resumé, views, or ideas, and provide visitors with an easy way to contact the person.
Educational websites provide a method for learning, whether it be through online courses, like the photography classes on Kelby One, educational games, such as learning a language on Duolingo, or other types of learning activities. They often have subscription plans to access the class materials. There are educational websites for all ages.
The goal of a successful educational website is to provide users with online tools to learn and an interactive and engaging learning experience.
11. Social Network
Social network websites are designed to enable users to connect online and share content. They typically feature a news feed, user profiles, comment sections, private messaging options, search functions, and the ability to form groups or communities.
Perhaps the most well-known example of a social network website is Facebook. But social networks don’t have to be massive sites for anyone to join — they can be built for niche communities, like Dribbble, a social network for designers.
The goal of successful social media websites is to provide an engaging platform for users to connect and interact.
12. Non-Profit or Charity Website
Non-profit or charity websites are designed to promote the organization’s mission and encourage donations. They typically feature information about the organization’s mission statement and goals, contact information, donation forms, volunteer opportunities, and upcoming events.
They can be built for various organizations, all with different causes or missions. Non-profit websites might include environmental and animal welfare websites, like HeARTsSpeak, a group that unites artists and photographers with animal shelters to help get shelter pets adopted. Or, they could be websites for health, education, or other public or social benefits, like buildOn, a group that builds schools in developing countries.
The goal of a successful non-profit or charity website is to provide potential donors with enough information to make an informed decision about donating or volunteering and encourage them to do so.
13. Government Website
Government websites are designed to provide information and services related to a particular government agency or branch. They typically feature links to official documents, press releases, contact information, forms, and other resources provided by the government body in question.
They may be sites for any level of government, from local to state to federal.
A successful government website will provide easy access to the resources offered by the agency or branch.
Forum websites exist to provide a platform for users to ask questions and share their views or experiences on a variety of topics. They feature user-generated content in the form of threads and posts, search functions, and tools to help moderators manage the conversations taking place.
Forums are especially helpful for people who need immediate help with technical issues, so they’re very common among those in the tech, computer, software, IT, and automotive industries. But, you can find a forum for just about any topic!
A successful community forum website design will provide an engaging platform for users to connect and discuss their ideas.
15. Directory Website
Directory websites provide a list of businesses, organizations, individuals, or other entities in a particular category or area. They typically feature search functions, filtering tools, and a description and contact info for each entity listed.
The goal of a directory website is to make it easy for users to find what they need without having to sift through irrelevant information.
Final Thoughts on Types of Websites
While there are many different types of websites, any successful website should be designed with the user’s needs in mind, have a clear purpose & goal, be easy to navigate & use, and feature engaging content. No matter what type of website you’re creating, it’s important to focus on the user experience and ensure that your website meets the needs of its intended audience.
Now that you know about the different types of websites, it’s time to decide which type is right for you and your business. Take some time to think about your goals and what kind of website will help you meet them.
Do you have products to sell? Do you have a non-profit? Or do you have a body of work to show off? Once you’ve figured that out, you can create a plan and start designing your website. With the right approach, you can create an effective website in no time.