What type of website do I need?
Want to get your first website online but don’t know which type and design will work best for you? Most people start their research by looking at other websites for inspiration. But with more than 1.7 billion sites on the Internet, this approach can be both time-consuming and fruitless.
Why? Because a random website that looks great doesn’t necessarily make it right for you and the people you want to attract. So this post, we’ll share the six most popular types of websites so you can make a clear decision about which one suits you best.
1. Portfolio websites
Perfect for: Musician, designers, photographers, nail artists, bloggers, and other creative professionals looking for a space to showcase their best work.
A portfolio website is ideal for professionals looking to share samples of their past work in order to prove their skills and attract new clients.
So, if you’re a musician, an interior designer, or a writer, a portfolio gives you the perfect space to tell potential clients the story of who you are and what you can do for them even before booking your services. It’s also a great way to gain visibility on search engines and control your online identity and what clients see when they search for you on Google.
Most portfolios use a simple design with a few pages where the professional tells the story of who they are, what they’ve worked on, who they’ve worked with, and why someone should choose to hire them. Depending on the services you provide, your website can also include photo or video galleries.
Here’s an example of a portfolio website from a graphic designer in London:
Need more help or advice? Read this post about the eight elements that your portfolio site can’t be without.
2. Educational websites
Perfect for: Online teaching, lessons and courses.
If you’re a teacher or an expert in your field who can teach people something new, then an educational website is perfect for you. Depending on what you teach, your site can include different categories of content in a variety of formats, from written content to games and videos that help make learning entertaining and more attractive.
Check out this example of a website where visitors can learn to draw:
3. Corporate websites
Perfect for: Companies, agencies, and the self-employed.
A corporate website is used to provide key information about the company and the products and services they sell. The goal of this type of site is to build trust and to entice clients to buy.
Company websites usually have several pages where they present the organisation and their offering, as well as the values and philosophy behind it. They often also have a dedicated “People” or “Our team” page that introduces the key people working for the company, as well as a careers page with the available vacancies. Some sites even have a news or blog section that’s updated regularly with the latest information that’s relevant to their customers.
Here’s an example of how it looks:
4. Ecommerce websites
Perfect for: Businesses selling digital or physical products and services.
If your goal is to sell a product or a service online, whether it’s handmade leather handbags, personalised coffee mugs, or beer brewing courses, you need an online shop. Why? Because most ecommerce websites take into account the entire customer journey, from searching for a product to paying for it, choosing a delivery option, writing a review, and more.
Just make sure that the template you choose makes it easy for you to organise, present, and keep track of the items in your shop so customers can quickly find what they need.
Here are a few examples of ecommerce websites:
While getting an ecommerce site up and running might seem like a lot of work, it really isn’t. For example, our 123 Reg Online Shop packages come with everything you need to run a successful online store, from mobile-friendly templates and checkout so customers can buy with ease no matter what device they’re using to a free domain, web hosting, and an SSL certificate for a secure shop.
For more advice, read our post on the 10 must-have features for your first ecommerce site.
5. One-page websites
Perfect for: Businesses and the self-employed.
If you have a great business idea and your immediate goal is to get your site up and running so people can find you online, a one-page website is what you need. This can either be a coming soon page or a lead generation page where you give people access to an ebook, a mini-course, or a webinar in exchange for their email address.
A one-page website includes just one page and it’s an effective and quick way to get your idea online so people can visit your site, learn more about what you do and sell, and how you can help.
Here’s an example of how that looks:
Bonus: If you buy a domain name from 123 Reg, you’ll be able to create a one-page site with Website Builder Starter from just £1 a month.
Read these articles for more tips and advice on how to use a one-page website to get found online and attract your first customers:
6. Blog, news, and magazine websites
Perfect for: Bloggers, businesses, journalists, and influencers.
If your goal is to share information, knowledge, and expertise in order to gain visibility online, educate, entertain, and build trust with your readers, then a blog, news, or magazine website is what you need.
Many blogs and magazines also offer products and services to their readers. However, the main goal of these types of websites is to educate and entertain readers with up-to-date, engaging, and relevant content.
A good example of this Smashing Magazine, a site dedicated to web designers and developers. While it’s one of the top resources for professionals in this industry, the site also sells books, events, memberships, and more to their readers.
Whatever your website’s idea, what all visitors expect from it is value. This means products and services that satisfy their needs and wants and a thoughtful website experience that makes it easier for them to accomplish what they came to your site to do, whether that’s to learn something new, sign up for your mailing list, or buy from you.