There are many types of websites you can make, each one with their own advantages and disadvantages. When starting a new online venture, it’s helpful to have a clear goal and plan on what you want to achieve.
This is because you’ll need to commit time, energy and resources in order to see any type of website through to it’s success point. Without going with a sound strategy you’ll get distracted by different ideas and not make any progress as you need to focus your efforts.
So what are the 10 best types of websites to create as well as their pros and cons? What do you need to know about each type of website to leverage it’s inherent advantages so you don’t end up wasting time on the wrong startup idea. Let’s get to it!
A blog is the first type of website you can make and is one of the most popular options. No, a blogging is not dead, it’s alive and well. People today blog primarily for content marketing purposes.
In the past it was a great platform to use when you want to share your thoughts, travels and opinions with the world. But today, that sort of content has moved more over to YouTube in the form of vlogging. So while you can write about whatever you want from fashion and beauty tips, to recipes for dinner or world travel, if you want to build a business a personal website is not the way.
Casual blogging’s popularity has died in favor of vlogging and has been since been replaced by content marketing. That means creating content that can rank in search engines and then converting that free traffic into product sales, display advertising clicks or growing your email list.
Best blogging platforms
I personally have three main recommendations for anyone looking to get started blogging with the intention to create a niche website that can make money from blogging through affiliate marketing, display advertising and selling products.
If you’re simply wanting to casually blog about whatever you want then I strongly suggest you checkout Google’s Blogger platform. It’s free to use, can set a custom domain and can run AdSense. However Blogger blogs struggle with ranking well. Anyways, here are my top three blogging platforms:
Bluehost and WordPress
Bluehost and WordPress go perfectly together. With Bluehost you get quality hosting at good price, a beginner friendly experience, support and a free domain name for the first year.
WordPress in general is the best blogging platform due in part to it’s on-page SEO capabilities, WordPress themes that allow you to customize your website and plugins to expand functionality.
Ghost.org CMS for subscription blogs
Ghost is a niche specific blogging platform more focused on writers who want to turn their blog into a paid subscription where subscribers are paying to get access to your blog post and emails.
With Ghost you can do a lot of the things you can do with WordPress like run ads and do affiliate marketing, but it’s not really designed for that. Go with Ghost if you want to content lock blog posts, send blog posts out as email newsletters and run a paid subscription website.
Squarespace – The done for you option
Squarespace is a popular website builder that allows you to easily create a very beautiful, impressive looking website. With it’s structured editor, blogging features and unlimited hosting, Squarespace is my top choice for blogging on a website builder platform.
The downside of Squarespace is that it gets a bit expensive. All pricing on Squarespace is for a single website. With a Bluehost account you can have multiple websites. However, if you’re not too keen on WordPress and want an easier, done for you, all in one solution then you’ll love Squarespace.
My top recommendation for starting a blog with WordPress.
Online store – Ecommerce website
Creating online store, ecommerce focused website has been a classic option for decades. With ecommerce, you’ll need a platform where you can have a shopping cart and checkout function, the ability to accept credit cards, a way to mange product inventory and group products effectively for the end user.
You’ll also need things like actual products to sell, professional product images and well written descriptions and images, shipping options, taxes, payment methods accepted and a process for handling refunds. Also you’ll need to consider a budget for running ads, email marketing and potentially blogging.
Best online store platforms
Whether you’re looking to build a full scale ecommerce website or perhaps you want to add ecommerce functionality onto your blog, you do have quite a few options. Here are my personal favorites I suggest you consider using depending on the type and scale of ecommerce you intend to engage in.
Shopify – The best ecommerce website builder
Shopify is a website builder focused on selling physical products primarily, but you can also sell digital products and can leverage drop shipping and print on demand.
You get a 14 day trial, a lot of high converting themes for online stores, professional backend inventory management and the ability to extend your stores functionality through their app store.
They are my top pick due to there flexibility. If you’re a YouTuber and want an online store to sell ebooks an merchandise or you want to build out a full scale, million dollar a year store selling physical products, you can do pretty much anything with Shopify.
Woo Commerce – The WordPress option
Woo Commerce is a powerful, feature rich plugin for WordPress. What it does is that it adds on ecommerce functionality to WordPress. Functionality like product pages, checkout pages, accounts, inventory management and a dedicated product section.
I love Woo Commerce and how it enable anyone with a WordPress website to engage in ecommerce. From selling digital products, drop shipping, selling products as an affiliate or affiliate products, you can do it all with Woo Commerce.
The only drawback is that it can be technical to setup and manage. Where Shopify has support email and number, you’re on your own with Woo Commerce.
Wix Ecommerce – Drop shipping and print on demand
Wix is a very popular website builder that offers a dedicated ecommerce plan. Like the other options on this list you can sell digital and physical products with good backend, online store focused features like coupon codes, inventory management and an intuitive website builder to customize the entire user experience.
Where Wix ecommerce really shines in my use of it is the ability to integrate drop shipping via Modalyst and print on demand via Printful. You can use both these website on Shopfiy too, but I found the integration in Wix to be slightly better.
Also, Wix has a better blogging platform than Shopify, so if you want to make primarily a store with a blog on the side then take a look at Wix.
My top recommendation for starting an ecommerce website.
A personal website is useful for use as an online resume, a portfolio of work or perhaps you just need a non-commercial focused website like a simple website for a club or organization.
Every professional person in our opinion should have at a minimum a personal website. Not only is it a useful to learn how to manage your own website, it’s also a helpful too to connect with companies and organizations. Why limit your reach to a linked in profile when you can own your own piece of the internet?
Personal website platforms
There are a handful of personal website platforms I suggest using. As we’re building something casual and simple, there is no need to spend a lot of money on an overly complicated website platform. So here are my recommendations for you to use:
Google Sites – My top pick
Google Sites is the best platform for creating a 5-20 page personal website. You get an unstructured editor to design your website, can set a custom domain name at no additional cost, you get a free SSL certificate and it integrates with other Google products.
Carrd.co – A cool one page website builder
Carrd is an under rated one page website builder. They provide beautiful designs, an easy to use website builder, you can sell products or integrate your preferred email list provider and more.
Carrd is perfect for that Instagram bio link or a sleek looking personal website where perhaps you’re selling a product, listing your resume or you’re wanting to create a resource section that’s monetized with affiliate marketing.
Get your domain name for these platforms at Namecheap. Free WHOIS protection and low prices.
Another interesting type of website you can would be a consulting website. There are many looking hire a an expert in some field like dating, web design, or search engine optimization. If you establish enough pre-eminence in a market, that is, you’re considered an authority on a topic then you can sell your time for client work online.
For this model to work you don’t focus so much on blogging but rather email marketing. You drive traffic to your website and get leads on an email list which you can then market to. A good example of this is Domney Drew.
She is a dating coach for men. She runs Facebook and Google ads to her website and gets that traffic to convert into her email list. She then schedules prospective clients for a coaching call and puts them on a monthly retainer. Lastly, she has a course to help generate passive, business income.
Tools to make this website
You can make this website with any platform you like. From WordPress to a website builder, where a consulting website finds it’s success is being able to hone in on the paid ad aspect. However, if I was to create this sort of website this is the platform I would use:
Squarespace – Excellent scheduling system
Squarespace has by far, the easiest to use, professionally designed scheduling system. Visitors to your website can book a call, pick the date and time and the overall design and layout provided by Squarespace is second to none.
An excellent website builder with a superior scheduling system, perfect for coaches and consultants.
A lead generation website works by ranking a website for specific terms, collecting leads and then selling those leads to small business. Small business owners care most about increasing their revenue so if you can sell them qualified leads it’s a potentially lucrative business model.
An example of this type of website would be PaintersinCT.com. CT stands for the state of Connecticut. This website ranks for phrases related to hiring painters in CT. When people fill out the form to request a quote or call the number this website makes a small commission on sending the lead.
Tools to make a lead generation website
The tools for a lead generation website are simple, you’ll need a website powered by a shared host like Bluehost or you can use your preferred website builder like Wix or Squarespace.
Next you’ll need a way to collect leads. With Both WordPress and a website builder you can setup a contact form as a way to collect leads. A contact form is simply an HTML form a visitor can fill out in order to contact the webmaster.
Payer per call
As we’re making a lead generation website, you’ll find that pay per call tracking software to be incredibly helpful. That’s because this software allows you to track calls and to then sell those call to businesses.
For example, you can put a number on your website like Painters in CT has done. Then when someone calls that number they are directed to an automated message. You have access to the number which is considered a qualified lead that you can then sell.
Landing pages are optimized one page websites designed to convert a visitor into a clear call to action. Typically that action is to buy something or to subscribe to an email list. You have a crazy amount of options to choose from.
Most quality landing page software offers a variety of unique features to convert visitors. Banners, pop-ups, exit intent pop-ups, count down timers, and thank you pages with trip-wire products.
Best landing page builders
From simple quality landing page builders to full on funnel builders. It really depends on what you’re trying to do. So what are my top go-to options? Here is what I recommend most consumers evaluate:
Lead Pages – The industry leader
Lead Pages was launched by Clay Collins and has grown into the industry leading landing page builder. This platform contains everything you need to craft high pages from professional templates that you can customize with ease, banners, pop-ups, timers, buttons with light box forms and more.
The only thing lacking is that Lead Pages does not have any funnel feature built in. For that you’ll need to use your email marketing software.
Convert Kit – Email provider
Convert Kit is my choice of email marketing providers. They provide advanced tagging features on the backend to help you build out effect funnels for people who subscribe. Convert Kit also provides high quality landing pages and thank you pages you can leverage.
The drawbacks are that Convert Kit is an email list provider first, as such they lack the marketing features you get with dedicated landing page builders.
Click Funnels – Internet marketers funnel builder
Click Funnels is part landing page builder, part funnel builder. You integrate their funnel pages into your email marketing sequence and use their landing pages for running paid traffic too.
Click Funnels is a bit expensive and their customer support leads a lot to be desired, but they do provide excellent templates for landing pages and high converting funnel sequences that work.
Optimize Press – WordPress option
Optimize Press is a suite of tools built to compete with Click Funnels. If you need features more focused on crafting funnels than what Lead Pages provide but you don’t want to pay the high price point of Click Funnels because you’re already using WordPress, the Optimize Press is perfect for you.
Community websites are where you have user generated content and a built in social aspect. Before the rise of social media most online users flocked to forums to engage with like minded people in a community aspect. While forums still exist, a lot of topics have been replaced by Facebook groups (traveling to a city abroad an need advice? There’s a FB group for that).
Best community builder tools
Regardless, if you’re wanting to build a public or private community online there are a few helpful tools you should be aware of.
Memberpress – Private community for WordPress
Memberpress is an excellent plugin that turns any WordPress website into a paid membership, community website. If you already have a traffic source (YouTube or a blog) and want to monetize that traffic with subscription revenue Memberpress is what I suggest using.
Buddy Press – The casual free option
Buddy Press is totally free to use and download, it’s made by the same company behind WordPress and best of all it’s fairly simple to use and setup. If you’re wanting to create a free social media style community website around a topic you’ll love Buddy Press.
Invision Community – Enterprise level forums
Invision Community is a paid piece of software designed to create feature rich forums. It’s ideal if you’re a company needing to create a support forum or perhaps you have a high traffic website you wish to add a community aspect onto.
Either way Invision Community is perfect for the organization that wants to build and own their platform instead of using Facebook.
Portfolio websites are perfect for web designers, photographers and digital artists looking to show their work for potential clients. The best types of portfolio website support modern image formats like .svg so you can have high quality images and incorporate various ways to make it easy to hire or contact you for work.
Best portfolio website builders
You can build a portfolio website with WordPress, Squarepsace, Google Sites, Wix or Carrd.co. All platforms have the tools and resources needed to design an effective image based website. However, one platform is specifically designed for portfolio style websites.
Format – Portfolio website builder
Format is a website builder and ecommerce platform specifically designed for the creative needs of digital artists and photographers. With premium templates to design your website with, the ability to sell all types of products and video hosting provided with your account. If you’re a creative digital artist, Format was designed to serve your needs.
A classic business website. Business websites are for organizations like accountants, real estate agents, dentists, suppliers of raw goods and so forth. A well designed business website meets should explain what the business does obviously, but more importantly have some sort of built in call to action.
Business website platforms
If you’re providing a service like a dentist you’ll need an appointment booking feature. If you’re doing real estate you’ll want to have well designed contact forms and pages. If you sell things through your website as a supplier you’ll want some sort of ecommerce functionality built in. As such, there is one platform I suggest:
SiteGround and WordPress
SiteGround is another top recommended webhost for WordPress. They differ from Bluehost in that they are more expensive but provide more features needed for ecommerce and provide slightly faster webhosting.
Speed is important with a business website. You want your site to load quickly if someone is trying to book an appointment or order something. Also, as business websites are so varied in their needs, WordPress is the most flexible.
An excellent webhost for business and ecommerce websites powered by WordPress.
Last are entertainment websites. Entertainment websites can be news, gossip, humor, shock style blogs. An entertainment website with the right team of writers can get a lot of traffic and attention as you’ll be creating content on trends or content that is highly shareable on social media.
But the difficulty comes with monetization. In general you’ll need to rely on display advertising to form your base income and from there you can expand into other revenue streams.
A classic example is PerezHilton.com, a celebrity news and gossip website that exploded in traffic back in 2007-2012. Since then the founder Mario has expanded into other brands like a music label, podcast and books.
Entertainment website platforms
WordPress and shared host of your choice is the best for an entertainment website. A shared host allows you to start small and keep everything cost efficient and then scale as needed.
From online stores to lead generation websites, to informational blogs and personal websites. You have a wide range of options when it comes to creating different types of websites for your digital marketing efforts.
The first step to making a website is choosing the type of site you want to create and then sticking it out long enough to see it to fruition. There is no one right answer for everyone. Some of you may gravitate more towards blogging, others may want to engage in drop shipping. But make a decision and commit yourself to a a year of dedicated work.
David UtkeDavid Utke is a professional blogger, YouTuber and a highly rated user experience consultant. He and his team create helpful tutorials, software reviews, videos and more based on real-world experience. Join over 30,000 monthly readers and 27k+ YouTube subscribers!
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