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Types of web sites – a categorization based on content

Types of web sites

Web sites, like other “worldly” things, can be classified into various categories – content-wise, design-wise, functionality-wise an more. This page has a list of the different types of web sites based on the content and features offered.

However, content can be varied, and with this in mind, I have tried to make the segregation as intuitive as possible. Please note that these categories of the web sites are not distinct and can overlap… sometimes to a very large degree, which, as you would know, is also true for everything else in the world.

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Search engine, directories, yellow pages and portals

These are some of the most popular types of web sites in the world. Some search engine companies, like Google or Gigablast, prefer to keep their homepage simple and stress on only one service, while Yahoo! and MSN have a more “portal” like look via which many services are pushed to the surfer like email, news etc.

The portal look provides a broader platform for the company to promote their different services but it also fragments the visitors.

Classified directories and yellow pages web sites list businesses (both online and offline) segregated into different categories or geographic locations. These may also include an internal search engine that helps users quickly locate information.

Information web sites

These are the types of web sites are dedicated to the purpose of providing information – whether free or paid. These information web sites might be catering to a niche industry or be wider in their scope because of which they can be labelled as “news portals”. Information web site can also contain updated time tables, TV guides, reference material, sports data (like cricket scores), weather and stock data.

Personal web sites

With tons of tools and services available, creating a web site is no longer “rocket science” (actually, it never was; but for some…). The astronomical number of personal web sites one finds on the web is mind-blowing! Personal web sites and blogs would probably be the fastest growing types of web site.

Personal web sites can contain any kind of information and are usually administered by a single individual who can choose whatever to put online.

Any one can now create a web site using online free hosting accounts that might also offer pre-made templates that are like ready-to-go web sites, or with free and commercial versions of WYSIWYG HTML editors like Frontpage, DreamWeaver etc.

Blogs and online diaries

Blogs are like online diaries (the irony is, though you keep your hardcopy diary under lock-and-key, you want more and more visitors to read the online one). Blogs can be created by anyone using free services like Blogger.com (Google) or Windows Live Spaces (Microsoft). You can also install blog software, like the free WordPress on your pre-existing web site and start putting your thoughts online in a matter of minutes!

Because blogs are so easy to create, manage and even earn from (there are a lot of profitable blogs online, if you didn’t know), the web has increased manifold. And it’s all thanks to the many free blog services and a strong enthusiasm by the ever growing blogging community who keep maintaining and updating their web space regularly.

From ramblings of a wandering mind to detailed and specific information on technical fields, the content of blog types of web site can vary widely.

Company web sites

Most company web sites have just a few pages of information on the business, its services and clients. These are more like “online brochures”

Forums

Forum types of web sites serve as platforms and promote interactions amongst the users. Unless specifically blocked and requiring a special invitation, you can join any forum on the web. Most forums cater to a specific industry or a field. So, for example, you will find forums on web design and development, banking and finance, biotechnology… I even came across one to help people share their phobia of butterflies (take a look at IHateButterflies.com – yes, I am mortally scared of butterflies and moths.

Forums on web sites, typically, contain categories that further narrow down the subject. Registered users can post questions or start a topic which other users can reply or add to. A lot of valuable information and knowledge exists in online forums and I urge you to join and actively participate in online discussions with people that share the same interests.

Ready-to-use free software such as phpBB or SMF help you set up a forum web site in a matter of minutes. If you already have a web site, check with the hosting company; they would probably provide such forum software for free which you can install via the control panel.

Online shops and auctions web sites

Though the web is primarily used for communication (email!) and information search, many companies have set up shops online. In fact, some companies like the popular Amazon don’t have brick-and-mortar shops – the entire buying and selling takes place online. Online shops are not restricted to selling tangible products; they can also provide services and a good example of this would be travel and matrimony web sites.

If you are planning to sell your products (or services) online the tons of free and commercial ecommerce software, make will get you up and running in no time. Furthermore, you can integrate payment gateways, like Paypal.com and moneybookers.com, in your online shopping mall and process the orders and receive funds.

Web2.0 web sites

Web 2. is an amorphous concept and primarily encompasses web sites that offer a particular service. The purpose of these web sites can be varied – information storage, communication etc. Sites like Flickr.com, Google docs, del.icio.us fall into this category.

Social networking

The new mantra on the web is social networking. These web sites can be classified as Web 2.0 sites but their sheer number and popular demands we have a separate category. Facebook, Orkut, LinkedIn, Twitter have been the rage past couple of years. From helping you locate schoolmates and past colleagues to “microblogging” (whatever that means), these web sites have a whole array of utilities and features with more being “invented” and added each day.

Dating web sites have grown over the years and now offer services quite similar to those of social networking (the idea is basically the same) hence they are a good fit in this category.

File sharing type of web sites

As internet speeds have increased and more and more people are using broadband connections, the importance of file sharing types of web sites has grown. Megaupload,com and RapidShare.com are two prime examples of such kind of web sites. You can not only find images, but also music (sometimes even full albums) and video (entire movies). These web sites offer both free and paid memberships – the former is usually a cut down version of the latter.

However, because of the huge number of files stored on these sites, it is almost impossible to find the file you are looking for unless you know the direct link. Web sites like loadingvault.com provide a decent enough search engine that helps you locate files based on your query.

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