What are the different types of websites?

By Dan Barraclough | 14 January, 2020

Learn all about the 12 most popular website categories and get the expert tips you need to build a brilliant website.

But what are these website categories, exactly? Worry not – that’s why we’re here!

Sifting through every website type can feel overwhelming, but we’ve done the hard work already. We’ve conducted hours of research to narrow it down to the 12 best website categories for you to choose from. We also appreciate the difficulty in choosing the right website for your business. We've been in the web design business for 15 years and so have collated our research to create a custom-built form to match you with a provider perfect for your business needs.

Get all of the tips, tools, and tricks you need to build a brilliant website that stands out from the ever-growing crowd.

types of websites

What are the different types of websites?

While it’s clear there are more than just twelve different types of websites in the world, we’ve picked the most common categories to give you a general idea. These types of websites include blogs, corporate, ecommerce, portfolio or photo-sharing, crowdfunding, news/magazine, social media, TV or video streaming, educational, portal, and a wiki or community forum.

Here is our breakdown of the 12 most popular types of websites.

1. Blog

You’ve likely come across blogs in your browsing experience, but for those who aren’t familiar, they’re online journals or informational pages that are regularly updated. 

Typically managed by an individual or a small group, a blog can cover any topic – whether it’s travel tips, financial advice, or doughnut reviews. While they’re often written in an informal or conversational style, professional blogging has gone on to become an extremely popular method of making money online.

Looking to start your own blog, but not sure where to start? We’d recommend trying Wix – it’s the best website builder on the market today, letting you build your own blog in a couple of hours, at no cost. Wix also offers some brilliant blogging-specific tools, such as performance analytics, a comments feature, and social bookmarking.

wix blog example

2. Corporate

50% of small businesses don’t have a website. That’s an astonishingly low figure, given how important an online presence is for a company’s credibility. And luckily for you, this means you can build a website to give your business the competitive edge.

You may not sell directly through a corporate website, but you can use these sites to provide information about your business, and to let potential clients or customers know how they can get in touch with you. 

Best of all, it doesn’t cost much to create a credible corporate website – you can easily build a site that looks great, and delivers results, for as little as £1/month with the website builder 1&1 IONOS

corporate website example
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3. Ecommerce

An ecommerce site, otherwise known as an online store, allows you to take online payments for products or services. Stores can function as standalone websites, or be combined with a blog or corporate website.

For example, a purely corporate website without ecommerce functionality can still indirectly encourage users to purchase something, but cannot accept any payments.

If you’re looking to build an ecommerce store today, then we’d recommend trying Shopify’s 14-day free trial. Not only is it the easiest platform to use, but Shopify is the most comprehensive and versatile ecommerce platform on the market, letting you sell across multiple channels including Facebook, Instagram, eBay, and Amazon.

You can try Shopify for free, with prices starting at £23/month after the free trial period.

shopify website example

4. Portfolio

Just like a physical portfolio, these types of websites are used to display and promote examples of previous work. Primarily used by those in the creative industry, a portfolio website can be used like a CV, demonstrating your skills in order to impress clients, customers, or future employers.

To build an impressive portfolio that helps your work stand out, you need the leading website builder for design, Squarespace. This platform has the best design tools of any website builder, letting you create a professional-looking site in a matter of hours.

portfolio website example
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5. Brochure

Brochure websites are like digital business cards. Mainly used by small businesses, these types of websites are used to advertise services, and to display contact information, with just a few pages.

For example, a small plumbing company would build a brochure website with a homepage to display contact information, an ‘about us’ page describing the company, and maybe a few photos of their work. 

If you don’t have time to create a website yourself, then why not read about the best web design companies for small businesses?

brochure website example

6. Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding is the practice of funding a project or venture by raising small amounts of money from lots of different people. These types of websites are becoming a go-to resource for new startups. 

In the past, the only way to fund a new business venture was to seek large investments from only a few people (think Dragon’s Den). But these days, you can create a crowdfunding site with ease – you’ll just need to create a pitch video for your project, and then set a target amount and deadline. 

Internet users who believe in what you’re working on will pledge an amount of money to your cause. You can also offer incentives in exchange for donations, such as discounted products or VIP experiences. 

crowdfunding website example

7. News or magazine

News and magazine websites need little explanation. The primary purpose of a news website is to keep its readers up to date on current affairs, whereas online magazines will focus more on entertainment.

Are you a budding journalist looking to build an online presence? Then you can’t really go wrong with Wix’s sublime templates. You can even install the News Page app to your business website, which will automatically feed and update your website with relevant news articles. And better still, with paid plans starting from just £3 per month, Wix won’t cost you the earth.

news website example

8. Social media

We all know Facebook and Twitter, but social media sites can take many other forms. These sites are usually created to let people share thoughts, images or ideas, or simply connect with other people in relation to a certain topic. Social media sites are also increasingly becoming the go-to destination for people to read up on the news. 

social media website example

9. TV or video streaming

Netflix, along with similar sites like NowTV, have revolutionised the way the world watches television. These video streaming sites have seen their popularity soar in recent years, with catch-up sites like BBC iPlayer and All 4 representing more traditional examples of this particular website theme.

streaming website example

10. Educational

Educational websites are also quite self explanatory. These websites are designed to display information on certain topics, either using interactive games or engaging designs to keep the user hooked. If you’re looking to build one of these websites, you should think about hiring a freelance web developer to create some fun tools, games, or quizzes.

educational website example
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11. Portal

Portals are primarily used for internal purposes within businesses, schools, or institutions. These websites often involve a login process, allowing students to access the school website, or granting employees access to their emails, alerts, and files all in one place.

Web portals are quite complex when it comes to design, so we’d recommend hiring a web design expert to handle the tricky web development process.

portal website example

12. Wiki or community forum 

A wiki website allows people to collaborate online and write content together. The most popular example is Wikipedia itself, which allows anyone to amend, add to, and assess the content of each article.

wiki website example

FAQs: What are the types of web design? 

You now know more about the different website themes out there, which can range from ecommerce and crowdfunding to portfolio and video streaming – but what are the different types of website design

In this FAQ section, we discuss web design in terms of content and mobile responsiveness.

Dynamic content design

A website’s design will usually depend on how dynamic the page’s content is – that is, whether the content changes, updates, or remains still over time. 

There are two types of page content web design:

1. Static/fixed

Static (or ‘fixed’) websites are the most simplistic websites when it comes to design. The content on these websites doesn’t automatically change or adapt depending on the user, and is not regularly updated. 

Static websites are built using simple HTML code, and are usually there to provide information.

2. Dynamic

A dynamic website will display different content each time a user visits. This type of design is commonly used for blogs and ecommerce sites, or any website that is regularly updated.

Dynamic content design can also show different content to each user at different times of the day. The upside of dynamic content web design is that it creates a more personal and interactive experience for the user; the downside, however, is that these websites are more complex to develop, and may take slightly longer to load than static sites.

Optimisation design

Optimised design is when a website reformats its layout to clearly display the page on a different screen size. For example, a website that is mobile responsive will completely reshuffle its layout in order to fit on a mobile screen, keeping the user journey as smooth as possible.

There are three different types of optimised design:

  1. Static/fixed
  2. Fluid/liquid
  3. Responsive

1. Static/fixed

A fixed website is not optimised for screens of different sizes. The website will remain a fixed width of pixels, no matter which device it’s displayed on – whether that’s a desktop, tablet, or mobile.

When viewing a static/fixed website on a mobile, you’ll need to pinch, zoom, and swipe in order to see what’s written on the page. This results in a bad user experience, and means we would not recommend this design.

In fact, 57% of internet users would not recommend a business that had a poorly designed mobile website. If your website has static design, you might want to do something about it.

2. Fluid/liquid

A website built with a fluid or liquid design ensures that the website looks the same in terms of proportions no matter which screen it’s displayed on. Each element of the website, such as the navigation bar, will take up the same relative amount of space on every device, resulting in a simple user journey.

3. Responsive

Responsive design goes one step further than fluid or liquid. A website with responsive design will actually look different on each device – in fact, some less important elements will even disappear in order to fit on the screen, in order to minimise the need for zooming, pinching, or scrolling.

If your target audience spends most of its time on mobiles, then it’s absolutely vital that your website is mobile responsive. Luckily, website builders like Wix offer mobile ready themes, so you don’t need to worry about optimising your website.

an example of a responsive website

Next steps

Feeling inspired? Thankfully, getting a website of your own has never been easier.

Whether you need a website for your business dream, or a blog about your football team, you can get your very own professionally designed website from as little as £200. If you’d like to receive free quotes from the UK’s leading web design experts, then just tell us about your website ambitions – it only takes a minute.

On the other hand, you can build your own website using a website builder. These platforms are easy to use, letting you create killer websites in just a few hours. There are all sorts of brilliant options out there, so check out our roundup of the top 5 website builders on the market today to help you decide.

Dan Barraclough

Dan’s a writer for Expert Market, specialising in a range of cool topics. He loves web design and all things UX, but also the hardware stuff like postage metres and photocopiers.

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