The 7 Most Popular Websites for Every Need & How To Create Them
Creating or redesigning a website for your business poses many questions, and the first is probably – what type of website do you need? To determine this, you must ask yourself and your business partners what purpose the website will serve. Who will use it? And how will it assist your business?
Many types of websites can cater to a range of audiences, each serving a specific function to become an online extension of your business. This article will look at seven different types of websites, how they differ from each other, their standard features, and more.
Choosing the correct type of website for your business
The first step when deciding what type of website you need is to establish your goals and what functions and services you plan to give to your online audience.
Is your goal to:
- Sell your services?
- Attract new customers?
- Inform your existing clients?
- Showcase your skills?
- Provide helpful information, news, or industry-specific updates?
- Encourage discussion and build an online community?
- Collect donations as a charity?
As you can see, the possibilities are endless, but your website will likely fall into one of these areas. Knowing your audience is essential to creating a website that engages with and meets its requirements.
When you consider your audience, try to learn what design and content appeal to them and how you can effectively deliver this across your website.
How to identify your website’s target audience
This section will outline six ways to identify your target audience, one of the most important steps when designing a new website. Failing to define your audience may result in a failing website, so take the time to conduct as much research as possible.
1 – Consider your current customers
Liaising with your sales and marketing team can give you a good idea of who makes up your current customer base, including their wants and needs. You can establish what demographics typically use your products or services and discuss if there are any groups your business intends to target in the future. This can help you think about specific individuals and a broader range of people who might become customers.
Of course, if you are self-employed, a freelancer, or just undertaking an individual project, you probably won’t have the luxury of a marketing team. However, you are likely to have a strong understanding of your current customers and where you would like to take your business in the future.
2 – How would the audience benefit from using your website?
List what benefits a visitor would get from using your online service and what type of audience would appreciate such benefits.
For example, suppose you plan to create a news aggregation website focusing on environmental matters. In that case, you will probably target people interested in this subject or working in that industry. Therefore, You should write the information you share in a voice that appeals to this demographic, so it is easily digestible for all.
3 – Gather demographic data
Create a user profile of your desired demographic and try to go as in-depth as possible. It can range from where the person lives, what they do for a living, where they shop, and their online habits. Creating various detailed user profiles can help you create a specific audience to target. It is much easier to design your website based on a user group’s requirements than on a broad audience.
4 – Use customer surveys and feedback
Build surveys you can send to your existing customers. You could use popular free methods such as Survey Monkey or Google Surveys. Surveys can help gather information about individuals instead of just faceless customers. Doing so will help you establish what type of person uses and wants your product quickly and easily.
Similarly, allowing customers to leave feedback can also be helpful. It could be done over the phone at the end of a transaction, by solving a query, or through reviews on social media and Google My Business. This feedback can be invaluable for improving the user experience and giving customers what they want.
5 – Analyse the competition
Always pay close attention to what your competitors are doing, especially if they have been in the business for longer than you have. A sensible method is to browse the social media pages of your competitors to assess what kinds of people are interacting with them regularly. These people could likely be potential customers if you can give them a better service, a lower price, or an improved customer experience.
6 – Build your market positioning map
To create a map, create four areas on a page with an x & y-axis and two overlaps. One axis can relate to age and another income/ salary. You can then plot your competitors on a map based on their target customers, highlighting what age groups and income levels are not being catered to. Using this information, you can target niche audiences.
7 of the most popular websites for every need and how to create them
Now that we’ve looked at how to identify your target audience, we can decide what type of website you need to reach your goals and attract new customers or readers.
Below are 7 of the most popular website types. For each website, we will look at:
- The purpose of the website
- What platforms are recommended for this type of website
- Examples of popular websites
- Typical design and functionality features
1 – Blogging Websites
What is the purpose of a blogging website?
Blogging websites aim to create engaging content relating to a specific topic, industry, or niche. The website can achieve high Google rankings for related keywords and expand its readership. Increasing the blog‘s audience can open up many marketing and monetisation opportunities. Therefore, a successful blog can be a powerful business tool.
Ways to monetise your blog include:
The affiliate marketing strategy allows you to insert links to products within the content on your blog or via pop-ups. Each time your users click an affiliate link and make a purchase, you will earn a percentage of the sale.
Most popular websites for Affiliate Marketing:
- eBay Partner Network (EPN)
- Amazon Associates
- Walmart Affiliates
- Avangate, etc.
You can also charge businesses to place ads on your blog or get advertising revenue through display ad platforms like Google AdSense. These ads can come in various forms, with many being non-intrusive. However, it is worth noting that if your blog becomes too littered with ads and pop-ups, it will likely impact traffic negatively.
Sell products and services
If you have established yourself as an expert or thought leader within a particular field, people may pay for premium content not published online. It may be an e-book or audiobook, training webinars, educational courses, access to additional resources, or physical products such as books or merchandise.
With sponsorships, you can be paid to promote products on your blog. This can be done subtly and naturally so that it does not affect the user experience. With sponsorships, you can be selective and only promote products you think will be of value to your audience.
What are the best platforms to use for a blogging website?
Most popular websites for blogging:
- Square Space
WordPress is the most widely used blogging platform as it is highly customisable, can be easily self-hosted, and has a wide range of plugins that can help with SEO and monetisation.
Examples of popular blogging websites
- Pro Blogger
- Smart Passive Income
- Nerd Fitness
Standard features of a blogging website
A blog must have high-quality written and visual content that will engage the user and keep them returning repeatedly. The content should focus on a particular topic or niche that can appeal to a specific target audience. You should post regularly in a style that benefits the reader (informative, conversational, technical, etc.).
Articles (posts) are displayed in a clear format that makes it easy for the user to determine which articles are the most recent, with search filters to help find older content that applies to them.
Blogs have a straightforward layout, delivering easy-to-read content with minimal functionality. A clean layout with one or two articles per page is often favoured for a typical blogging website.
2 – eCommerce websites
What is the purpose of an eCommerce website?
eCommerce websites allow people to buy and sell in an online marketplace or as a strictly selling platform in the shape of an online store. You can customise an eCommerce store for any product, and like a blog, most online stores stick to a particular niche. For this article, we won’t focus too much on marketplaces, as this type of website is a significant undertaking.
Why are eCommerce websites so popular?
eCommerce websites have taken off over the last decade because of their ease of use and speed. Online stores can provide excellent value and quick delivery speeds, combined with high levels of payment security. This has resulted in impressive growth across the sector. The overall market is valued at over $9 trillion in 2019 and is expected to grow by 14.7% between 2020 and 2027.
What are the best platforms to use for an eCommerce website?
Most popular websites you can use to build an eCommerce website/online store include:
- Square Space
- Big Commerce
- WordPress (with WooCommerce)
Examples of popular eCommerce websites
- Ali Baba
Standard features of an eCommerce website
One of the principal features an eCommerce site needs is security and validation. This includes an SSL certificate and a secure payment system to put the customer at ease. eCommerce websites must have straightforward navigation to provide a great customer experience. A good online store will have extensive search filters to ensure people can find products quickly and easily.
Images and videos are also essential to give the user greater insight into each product. A review and feedback system should be in place to help promote products and gather essential data that can be used for marketing purposes and to assess customer satisfaction.
3 – Portfolio websites
What is the purpose of a portfolio website, and who needs one?
If you are a freelancer or can provide skilled services, you may benefit from a portfolio website to showcase your talents and attract new customers. A portfolio website should display clean and visually appealing work, allowing users to gain insight into why they should hire you, with little navigation.
This website is usually used by web designers, graphic designers, photographers, artists, and writers.
The best platforms to design a portfolio website
Most popular websites for building a portfolio:
- Square Space
Examples of portfolio websites
- Wendy Ju
- Thai Pham Photography
- Darren Hughes Art
What features should a portfolio website have?
It is crucial to make it abundantly clear what your service is. The user should know whether you are a photographer, a writer, or a designer in a matter of seconds, helped by clear communication and imagery. The content should be written in a personalised style, as the individual is sometimes just as important as the product or service.
Interactive elements, such as animated tiles, videos, and fun, engaging navigation, can also help your portfolio stand out from the crowd. However, the key focus should always be to provide high-quality examples of your work in an easy-to-view format.
4 – News/media websites
What is the purpose of a news/media website?
A news or media publishing website can work similarly to a blogging site to build an audience. Once the website gains regular traffic, it is possible to monetise its content, usually through a subscription service.
News websites can work in two ways. First, you can create unique content and publish it as an independent news source. Second, the website could aggregate news stories and articles from different sources with an RSS feed, giving readers access to various professional pieces from the top news outlets in real-time. Both methods have their merits, or you could decide to develop a hybrid of the two.
It is estimated that around 93% of adults get at least some form of news online daily.
What are the best platforms for building a news website?
WordPress is considered the best platform for building a new website from scratch. This is because the platform is highly customisable, thanks to many themes, plugins, and widgets that can help tailor the website to meet your requirements.
What are the most popular websites for news/media in the world?
- New York Times
- Fox News
What features should a news/media website have?
Navigation is critical for a successful news website, allowing your users to find articles and topics that interest them. Users should also be able to sort news stories by date, with keyword search functionality to sift through archived content.
A breaking news ticker bar is a feature that most popular news websites have to promote the most prominent and newest stories. Social media integration provides comments from top reporters for additional context.
Enabling comments can encourage discussion between your users, generating more activity and creating a social media-type experience. However, a moderation system is advised to avoid legal issues or offensive comments.
Visually, the layout should be stylish, with a simple display so users can quickly select articles that interest them. The website must be completely responsive as it is likely that most users will browse using their smartphones.
5 – Business websites
Why would you need a business website?
Suppose you run a business and need something more than a simple portfolio website. In that case, a specialist business website will be required to attract new customers, inform existing ones, and raise awareness about your brand.
As part of an overall business plan, your website should work alongside your social media and other marketing efforts to create a solid online presence locally, nationally, and perhaps even globally.
What are the best platforms to build a business website?
If you plan to develop the website but do not have coding skills, then using a platform that can guide you through the process and provide all the features you need is recommended.
The most popular websites for building a business website are:
- Square Space
Examples of business websites
Features a business website should have
Business websites should contain excellent copy to describe your business and emphasise the benefits of using your service.
Besides excellent copy, your website should also have the following features:
- Optimised for SEO
- Strong branding
- Easy to find contact details
- A blog with regularly updated content
- Customer testimonials and case studies
- Social media integration
It is also essential to protect your online brand at all times. Tools such as Visualping’s website defacement monitoring can be a worthwhile investment in the current climate, as cybercrime takes many forms.
6 – Educational websites
What is the purpose of an educational website?
Educational websites are used to sell courses, tutorials, and other content that can help teach the user a new skill or expand their knowledge. Educational websites may also let users watch webinars, listen to podcasts or audiobooks, and download e-books to give the audience multiple learning methods. This content could also be accessible as part of a marketing strategy.
What are the best platforms for developing an educational website?
The most popular websites used to build an educational site are:
- Google Sites
Examples of popular educational websites
Features of an educational website
An educational website should have engaging, interactive, and visually pleasing content that we can find with easy navigation. Multi-language support is also recommended to expand the international range of your target audience, while the interface should be personalised and welcoming.
If your website offers courses, the user should be able to track their progress and pick up where they left off each time they log on. Quick page loading and processing are also needed to provide a good user experience.
7 – Social media websites
What is a social media website?
Social media websites are communication websites that allow users to keep in touch with friends and family, participate in communities, share content, collaborate with others, and interact with individuals with similar interests.
Social media websites are one of the biggest advertising channels in the world, and statistics show that social media marketing is now considered more effective than print, TV, and radio.
It is estimated that over 4.6 billion people will use social media websites in 2022 – an increase of around 400,000 people from the previous year. Reports claim that the social media industry is worth over $220bn.
You should build a social media website on a custom platform.
The most popular social media websites are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube.
A social media website should have the following features:
- Simple methods to upload and share content
- A friend or follower system, with invites and requests
- Private messaging
- Video streaming functionality
- Notification to inform users of new content
Other popular websites include non-profits, directories, forums, and events websites.
With so many different websites to choose from, the one you pick for your company depends on your industry, your needs, and the site’s purpose. First, you should consider why you need a website; then, consider your audience before making a final decision.
What are the most popular websites you visit every day? Let us know in the comments below.