Remember the phrase “direction over speed” when creating your website.
You shouldn’t just pick a website builder and start making a website. Instead, your first couple of steps should help decide the direction of your website.
Many people skip these (obvious) steps and waste their time/money:
Step 1: Identify your website goal(s). A single, concrete goal helps you make design decisions. You can solve every question by asking: “will this help us accomplish our goal?” — if it does, it’s the right direction.
And Step 2—the subsequent step we are talking about today:
Know The Type Of Website You Need
Each “type of website” is aimed at a different goal.
Knowing the one best suited for your website’s goals can ease many decisions. It can help decide the pages you must add, the websites you should look up to, the required budget, and the ideal website platform.
These are the most common types of websites you’ll find on the internet:
1. Ecommerce website
Goal: Sell online.
An ecommerce website enables you to sell products or services on the internet.
It has features like a payment gateway (for easy payments), customer reviews (to help people make a buying decision), a search bar (to help people find products), a wishlist (to allow shoppers to add products for future reference), a navigation bar (designed to help shoppers find the product collections), etc.
And its main pages are the homepage, collections page, product page, and search and list page.
[Notice how each page and feature is tied to the website goal]
Ecommerce website example:
Allbirds from ecommerce website examples collection.
Allbirds is an American footwear and clothing brand. They sell men’s, women’s, and kids’ super comfy casual shoes through their ecommerce website.
Best website builder for ecommerce websites
2. Business Website
Goal: Business branding.
“Business website” is sort of an umbrella term that you can associate with pretty much any type of website on this list.
A business website basically informs potential clients/customers about your business and persuades them to take the desired action. For example, the action could be ‘book a consultation call,’ ‘inquire about services,’ ‘download a PDF,’ ‘buy products,’ etc.
Its main pages are the homepage, about page, and other information pages (like the services page for service industry businesses or product page for ecommerce), etc.
Business website example
Lavada from small business website examples collection.
Lavada is a boutique cosmetic clinic that offers skin care services. Their website displays their expertise, treatments, and packages. And it has features like an appointment scheduler to help clients book appointments:
Best website builder for business websites
3. Blog website
Goal: Update and/or persuade visitors.
A blog is a regularly updated website that shares written and visual content in reverse chronological order, i.e., the most recently published page comes first. Digital publishers use blogs to share opinions, information, and experiences through the website.
Its main pages are the blog landing page, post page, and blog category page.
Blog website example
A Cup of Jo from blog examples collection.
Joanna Goddard created A Cup of Jo as a hobby many years ago while she worked as a writer for Glamour magazine. Due to its’ popularity, it became her full-time job, where she now writes about anything she wishes, from relationships to travel.
Best website builder for blog websites
Related: Squarespace blog examples
4. Portfolio website
Goal: Showcase the best work to potential employers.
Designers, freelancers, and artists use portfolio websites to display their work, experience, and skills. It’s an easy way to prove your capabilities to potential clients who might be interested in your services.
Its main pages are the portfolio landing page and portfolio item page.
Portfolio website example
Meiwen See from portfolio websites collection
Meiwen is a professional designer and photographer that features travel, people, editorial, and interior photography. He is also a designer, combining his many artistic talents to help his clients with branding, art direction, and more.
Best website builder for portfolio websites
5. Event website
Goal: Promote an event.
An event website is used to give information about an event and sell tickets. In addition, you can also reach a wider audience by hosting live shows on the same website (something that’s very popular post-pandemic).
Its main pages are the homepage, gallery, events page, and other info/social proof pages.
Event website example
Newport Folk Festival from event websites collection.
Located in Newport Rhode Island, Newport Folk is a yearly festival of all things folk music at Fort Adams State Park. They have a huge lineup of artists in celebration of the art that lasts for the whole weekend. You can get there by water shuttle or bicycle.
Best website builder for event websites
6. Personal website
Goal: Tell about yourself.
Personal websites are used to create a personal brand. You can use it to promote individual interests (for example, make it a hobby website, fan website, etc.). But many also use it to establish their professional journey. For example, they promote their CV, past experiences, achievements, and demonstrate domain expertise.
Its main pages are the homepage, about page, and gallery.
Personal website example
Josh Rubietta from personal websites collection.
Josh is from the Bay Area but has traveled throughout, sharing his music, dance, and acting talents. Josh’s fun and artsy/energetic nature on his personal website.
Best website builder for personal websites
7. Membership website
Goal: Sell exclusive access.
Membership websites offer members exclusive access to gated content, tools, and/or services offered on the website. They are commonly used by course creators, nonprofits, event organizers, magazines, paid courses, etc.
Its main pages are the homepage, about page, registration page, and login page.
Membership website example
Natalie Bacon from coaches websites collection.
Natalie is a life coach with a community just for moms. Her website, courses, and memberships offer lessons in mindfulness, allowing for a better life due to that awareness.
Best website builder for membership websites
- Squarespace (Member Areas)
8. Nonprofit website
Goal: Accept donations.
A nonprofit website aims to promote a cause and seek donations. They do so by hosting information highlighting the cause and impact and discussing the solution. They also add real-life instances of how the charitable organization changes lives. Some nonprofit websites also sell products on their website to generate donations.
Its most important pages are the donation page and information pages.
Nonprofit website example
Sean Casey Animal Rescue from charity websites collection.
This animal rescue is a no-kill shelter aiding in the proper placement of homeless animals. Based out of New York, they have saved thousands of animals since their birth in 1998 that are ill, have behavior issues, or are homeless.
Best website builder for nonprofit websites
9. Informational website
Goal: Share information.
Informational websites aim to give detailed information about a particular topic. The most common ones are encyclopedias, news websites, government websites, etc.
Its main features are the search bar and clear navigation that helps visitors find relevant information.
Informational website example
Ted Blog from blog examples collection.
The TED company focuses on new, forward-moving ideas and educational content for its community. Its blog includes a little bit of everything from women’s rights to finances.
Best website builder for informational websites
Related: WordPress alternatives
10. Online forum website
Goal: Encourage engagement and help people.
Online forums are where people with common interests meet. They discuss topics, hold discussions, seek advice, share experiences, etc., in these forums/communities. Some site owners also keep a membership fee to filter insincere contributors — in that case, it becomes more of a membership website.
Online forum example
Stack Overflow is an online forum for programmers.
Best website builder for forum websites
- WordPress (with bbPress)
- Wix Forum (with Wix Forum app)
- Shopify (with Peerboard)
11. Business directory website
Goal: Help visitors search for a company and/or its products or services.
Online business directories are used to find data of different businesses in one place. Today, people visit online business directories to list and find companies based on categories. For example, you can find websites based on niche, location, activity, size, etc. Some business directories cover many businesses, while others target a particular niche.
Business directory examples
Top website builder for directory websites
- Brilliant directories
12. Crowdfunding website
Goal: Raise funds.
Crowdfunding websites allow fundraisers to interact with the crowd and raise funds from people. Many startups, institutions, and even individuals use this type of website to seek financial support. Depending on what the funds are for, they offer incentives like product discounts, free subscriptions, or some exclusive benefits.
Crowdfunding website example
Kickstarter is a funding platform for creative projects.
Best platforms for crowdfunding
- Shopify (with Crowdfunder app)
Bonus: Landing page
A landing page is technically a website. It’s a standalone web page designed for users to take a well-defined action. The action could be anything - a purchase, an eBook download, registering for a free trial, scheduling a consultation call, signing up for a newsletter, etc.
Landing page example
Wix uses this landing page to convert people searching for “website builder.”