People create websites for a multitude of different purposes and, today, building your own site is easier and cheaper than ever. In this post, we’ll look at a range of the most popular types of websites so you can see which is ideal for you, and we’ll give an overview of what you need to do to get started with building one.
Types of websites
1. Personal websites
Millions of people create personal websites. Many do it for professional reasons, perhaps creating a blog where they write about industry issues or solve problems for people in similar roles. These sites demonstrate expertise and can be influential in developing careers.
Others create websites with more personal content, perhaps celebrating family histories, showcasing photographs, artwork and hobbies, or providing an online forum where groups of people can meet up.
2. Business websites
Business websites are primarily created to provide an online presence for companies. Their main function is to offer information about their products and services and, in the case of eCommerce sites, to sell those products and services online.
Modern business websites do much more than this, however. They provide information about the company and its values, display important contact details and give help and assistance to customers. The latter comes in many forms: how-to articles, knowledgebases, online chat, website tools, helpful videos, FAQs and so forth. Some advanced websites even make use of artificial intelligence and augmented reality for this, for example, users can upload pictures of themselves to try out glasses and clothing.
3. Informational websites
Though Wikipedia is perhaps the most well-known informational website, many people build their own, focusing on their particular area of interest. There are sites on every possible subject you could imagine, including some very niche topics.
While some people build these websites just for the pleasure of it or to help others, for many, the aim is to make money. By providing helpful information, they can attract lots of visitors and this gives them the potential to make money in a variety of ways. For example, owners can display adverts on their site; make commission from affiliate sales by providing links to other sites; charge users for membership access and, for influencer websites, be sponsored by well-known brands.
4. Entertainment websites
Entertainment websites are sites that offer online entertainment, rather than being the websites of entertainment businesses. So, while Netflix would be considered an entertainment website as you can watch videos while visiting, the National Theatre website wouldn’t, as it only provides information about its productions and ticket sales.
As entertainment sites make videos, music, games and other activities available to lots of people online, they are often technically advanced and require significant hosting capacity. Generally, they are the domain of larger organisations.
5. Listings websites
Listings websites started as online versions of business telephone directories, Yell, for example, is the Yellow Pages online. Today, there are thousands of these websites, most of them either focus on a specific town or area, while others focus on a niche, like weddings. Some focus on both a location and a niche, for example, local restaurants.
With Google now able to provide much of the information these sites publish, they have had to become more specialised or advanced to remain relevant. Many now offer customer reviews and ratings and enable the companies listed to provide highly detailed information and images.
The most successful listings websites, however, have morphed into something completely different: comparison sites. Not only do users get to see a wide range of the businesses they are looking for; they get quotes they can compare and often end up saving money as a result. The sites, meanwhile, make money from commission or by charging a fee to listed businesses, so it can be a highly lucrative venture. Examples include Go Compare, Expedia and even Just Eat, which also provides an inclusive delivery service.
6. Public sector websites
These are websites run by the government, local authorities, public services, schools and hospitals, etc. For many years these were predominantly informational, with users accessing them simply to retrieve information. Today, thanks to advances in website technology, they are more interactional, enabling users to book appointments, order prescriptions, take part in online lessons, pay taxes, find MOT dates for cars and so forth.
How to get started building a website
The actual process of building a website is fairly easy today, with free software, like WordPress, enabling you to create a site without the need for any advanced computing skills. However, before you get to that stage, you will first need to find a web host.
You need a web host so you can buy the website name (domain name) you want and purchase a hosting plan so that your website can be found on the internet. When you purchase these from your host, you will be able to log into your hosting account control panel and, from there, install the free software you need to build your website. This can be done with a single click.
Once the software has been installed, a basic website will have been created for you. You can then change the theme (the website’s design and layout template) to something more suitable, before beginning to create and add content to your web pages. User-friendly platforms, like WordPress, make this easy to achieve and provide a wide range of tools to help you improve your site.
Before going ahead, you need to find out the type of hosting you need and understand the costs. The average domain name costs between £10 and £20 a year, and hosting begins at just a few pounds per month.
Anyone can build a website today, and there are many different types of website you can build. It is, however, quite possible to mix and match; there’s nothing stopping you from creating a website that offers both information and entertainment, for example. Providing your content is legal, you can also create a website on any topic you like.
If you are considering starting a website and are looking for affordable hosting, visit our cPanel Hosting page.