Your site is ultimately a reflection of you: what you want, your interests, and your voice. They give you a presence online. For most people, it will also be the first and only impression you leave on them. At least for your brand anyways. Many times, people see your site only as a blurb or link speeding across their screen like a sports car. You want to make sure it catches their eye. That it turns their heads. This is the case whether you’re building a personal brand or selling a product. The important thing is that you know which model is going to achieve what you need.
So buckle up and familiarize yourself with the different types of websites available to you. Get to know what they offer, their functions, and where best to go to get one for yourself. Use the table of contents to jump to any section relevant to you.
Table of Contents
What Are the Different Types of Websites and How Do They Differ?
Knowing the different kinds of websites will help you start to understand their distinct functions.
Like car models, websites can have some overlap in form functionality. But, there are still general categories, each one built for a set of needs. Unlike car models, how people categorize types of websites can vary a bit. It’s not a perfect metaphor. Still, there are some hard lines we can draw between site- and page- functions. I like to categorize most websites like this:
- eCommerce: An online marketplace for buying/selling products. They can sometimes be a subsection or page on a business website but are usually their own, distinct site.
- Business/Organization: Rather than selling a product, a business website exists to promote and provide information about a brand or service. Business sites can have several subsections like a contacts page, landing page, or blog. Business sites can also take many forms depending on which aspects they choose to utilize and emphasize.
- Personal/Creative: This is a pretty broad blanket for any type of site not strictly focused on profit generation (though this is not out of the question). This can include portfolios, personal blogs, and a whole slew of other custom sites. Some people even make whole art pieces and exhibits out of an online space.
- Social: By now all of us are familiar with social media as a distinct type of site. While its main function is, ostensibly, to connect people, social media has a hand in all the aforementioned sites as well. A YouTube channel can simultaneously host purely creative content or exist as a method of branding. Even Instagram, built for sharing photography, has seen an entire industry pop up around influencer pages. As such, we’ll mostly cover social media as a function of these other sites.
Types of eCommerce Websites and Pages
eCommerce websites are typically straightforward.
Unlike the other types of sites, eCommerce sites exist for one purpose: to put products in you hand. Broadly speaking, you can break eCommerce down into two main categories: those that are integrated into a larger site and those that stand on their own. For products, most eCommerce sites are the latter. This is especially the case for large companies or ones with multiple licenses and brands.
Integrated or standalone eCommerce pages are usually reserved for services, not goods. This makes sense when you consider that most services are very specific, with few pricing options. Compare that to a storefront, which might have hundreds of individual goods- with pages for each one. When it comes to tiered services, sites often have a “pricing page”. On this page you can compare and select services at a glance and then buy them directly.
Although they can be a component of a larger business site, the reason I make the distinction is because of the unique technical needs of an online marketplace.
Types of Business Websites and Pages
Websites and pages for businesses are a bit more varied than eCommerce.
When it comes to business or organization sites, there can be a lot of goals. As such, there are far more variations and types of sites that fall under this category.
Brand information and hubs
These homepages are general sites for a brand’s online presence. They’ll likely have blogs, company news, and links to various other pages or sites under their umbrella. Large corporations will likely have an interconnected network of sites for all of their brands or properties. These tend to be the largest types of sites. Think of the home page for the online presence of something like Disney.
Marketing campaigns have become a very popular type of site since the turn of the century. These are made to promote a specific product or service. They are often optimized for high user engagement and lead-generation. As such, they’ll mostly be made up of contact form fields for newsletters, info pages, and links back to the brand’s site. This is in addition to whatever promotion may be run through the site. Certain campaigns are often limited-time engagements or recurrent events. Sites promoting the Super Bowl or any company’s campaign around that even are only going to be relevant once a year.
Landing pages are a specific type of lead-generation page. They often incorporated into a larger brand or marketing site and are dedicated to recurrent user engagement. This is also the page you will usually find email form fields and social media links on. Although they are intended to be the first part of the site many users see, landing pages are distinct from homepages.
Social media presence is an important part of maintaining a brand online. This is especially true for businesses, most of which have recognized the power of an engaging social media presence. While most of these run through established sites like Twitter and Facebook, they are functionally an extension of a brand’s main page. That, or it functions as their homepage.
Business strategies and web innovations are being made every day. As such, the needs of a business site are also constantly changing. There are several types of sites that may fall into this category that weren’t covered or that do not yet exist. Some of these sites, like journalism and news sites, can also fit into a couple of categories, depending on a few factors. So let’s look at the final, broad type of website: the personal or creative site.
Types of Personal Websites
Personal sites are similar to business sites, and as such may have some overlap. The main difference is that a business site is dedicated to a company or group brand, whereas these are dedicated to a personal one. When a site is personal, it tends to be more of a creative outlet, even if it does become monetized. There are also some personal sites that are unique to individual needs.
This is pretty straightforward. With the new digital marketplace paradigm, many creative people and content creators opt to digitize their portfolios for easy access. These can also be expanded into personal sites for professions like acting, which rely on the person as a branded identity. Alternatively, these may morph into business sites, or a business site might repurpose it if one’s personal endeavors become an enterprise.
Independent blogs and journals
A lot of personal websites amount to personal blogging and journaling. The subject matter of these blogs can range from the deeply personal, to a more common niche or hobby. Even when these grow, however, they usually remain independent from a larger brand, and typically don’t become strictly business sites. This is because blogging is usually a response to an existing business with a personal voice reflecting on them. I would still categorize large, monetized blogs as personal. If they become branded news outlets, however, the line can get fuzzy.
Since you aren’t always dedicated to monetization or branding, a personal site has limitless potential. I can’t even begin to make an exhaustive list here, but some more out-there examples include experimental storytelling, webcomics, online art installations, and tons of other creative works built on a website and hosted with WordPress.
How WordPress Can Improve All Types of Website
WordPress’ features are flexible enough to fit the needs of any kind of website.
As far as CMS and website-building tools go, WordPress is the best choice, hands down. Its interface and functions are intuitive but in-depth, simple but flexible, and cheap but reliable.
The main selling point for WordPress is its robust plugin library. These are essentially apps and add-ons which can expand your site’s functionality, give you tools for maintaining or expanding your site, and much much more. With over 50,000 plugins available through the dashboard library, WordPress makes it easy to adapt a site to any need.
Like any website building system or blogging platform, WordPress also has an expansive selection of themes. These allow you to change the look and layout of your site on the fly, without ever having to touch the code. However, WordPress also leaves that option open, should you ever want to create a custom theme yourself.
When you build a site, a web host is the easiest way to improve performance from your end. Instead of running a site from your own computer, hosts allow your site’s content to be stored and accessed from a provided server. The web host worries about security, maintenance, and updates, which takes a huge weight off of your shoulders. Whatever size website you run, hosting is not something you should go at alone.
WordPress also has the advantage of hosts dedicated to the system. When a host is specialized like this, support infrastructure is more carefully suited to your site and your chosen system. WP Super Host features top-notch security and a dedicated support team to make sure your site is secure and consistent. Check out the great pricing options- including custom quotes- over at the pricing page.
To Sum Up
Website types are numerous and varied. You can create a site now for almost any need and with any function you need. A system like WordPress makes all of these options available and easy to use. Dedicated hosting for WordPress also goes a long way to improving your site, no matter what it may be.