Having a social media presence for your business is important, but having a website is also a critical way to connect with potential customers. That’s why it’s key to understand the different types of business websites you can choose from.

David Rusenko, Square’s head of eCommerce, says when people expand online, they’re solving two main needs. “One of them is attracting customers and the other is around transacting digitally,” he says.

“The power of attracting customers is obvious, right? And that’s where you have your traditional social media presence, website, all that kind of stuff to make sure you’re out there and that people can find you and learn about you. In terms of transacting digitally, the real power of that is when you start to run your business and finally base it on one system — you benefit from the efficiency.”

Business website examples: 9 different types of websites to consider

Whether you’re launching a new venture, solidifying a side hustle into a more formal business, or scaling an existing business and taking it in a new direction, creating a website is an important step.

But what type of website is right for your business? The answer depends on what your business does, how you make money, and what your goals are for the website. Here are nine website types to choose from.

1. eCommerce site/online store

An online store is an appropriate website for your business if you sell products (or plan to) and want your customers to be able to shop for them 24/7. An online store, like an online boutique or other retail store, provides a way for you to connect with customers and list inventory for purchase.

To create an online store, you’ll need to set up payments and online business operations, such as order fulfillment, shipping, sales tax, and more. Like other websites, your online store can be integrated with social media sites like Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest to help you reach more customers.

“It’s a process you can get done within a couple hours,” Rusenko says. “You get your catalog online. If you don’t have a catalog, you can create a couple items to get started. The actual design and setup is straightforward. And then it’s a matter of merchandising — making sure you have good descriptions, good photos, and setting up the various fulfillment and logistics settings. Make sure you have your business hours, whether you do store pickup, delivery, etc.”

READ MORE: Multichannel Retailing: How to Sell Products Online and Offline

2. Portfolio

If you sell services — especially creative services — you can use a portfolio to show off your work and share information on how interested parties can get in touch with you. In fact, it should be one of your first action items when setting up your business.

Portfolios are well-suited for artists, writers, designers, photographers, and other professionals who want to showcase examples of their top projects to potential new clients

3. Booking website

An online booking website enables you to easily take customer appointments through digital channels. Offering a booking website or a “book now” button on your online store page can supplement or replace your process for taking appointments in-person or via phone. You can use a booking website to accept or decline appointments and block out personal time so your availability is always up to date.

A booking site is a great solution for businesses like salons, medical offices, and appointment-based consultants.

READ MORE: The Top Health and Beauty Website Features to Consider

4. Blog

A blog provides you with an online platform to share written content (and sometimes images and/or videos). If you’re interested in putting your ideas out there, or you want to engage in content marketing to help drive interest in something you have to sell, a blog can be an ideal route to take.

As you build an audience for your blog using social media, digital advertising, and other tools, you may opt to make money via affiliate marketing, which is when you promote products or services to your readers and earn part of the profit on each sale. You can easily start a blog using a solution like Square Online.

5. Landing page or lead generation site

A landing page is appropriate for your business if you want site viewers to take a targeted action such as signing up for a free trial, registering for a newsletter, or contacting you for more information.

READ MORE: 11 Tips to Help You Start and Grow a Newsletter

Creating a landing page allows you to collect personal information — that is, things like name, phone, and email — from your site visitors, usually in the hopes of establishing contacts that could be potential leads or prospects for your business. 

6. Event website

Want to get attendees for an upcoming event, like a concert or fundraiser? Use an event website to showcase detailed information about your event — such as the location, venue, and agenda — and enable customers to register to attend and pay for their tickets.

You can easily create event websites using tools like Eventbrite or embed buy buttons for your event right on your website.

7. Media website

If you’re starting a magazine, online news site, or other publication — or are otherwise looking to share collections of articles or videos — a media website is the place to do it. Think of sites like Forbes or The New York Times.

A media website allows you to showcase and curate content for an online audience. Your media website may be supported by advertising, subscription memberships, or a combination of the two. If you make money via memberships, you can gate certain content for registered members only.

8. Directory

If you’re running an association or your business centers on funneling leads to other businesses, you might build a directory to provide a searchable repository of the people or companies you want site viewers to browse, visit, or purchase from

An example of a directory would be a women’s business group that lists women-owned companies in a certain local area.

READ MORE: 6 Effective Ways to Team Up with Local Businesses

9. Online forum

Looking to bring people together to parse out ideas? An online forum is a type of website where people can ask questions or hold conversations by posting messages. Reddit is the best-known online forum website.

You may include an online forum as part of your website — to serve as a place for customers to talk about your business and/or products — or you may build a standalone online forum that brings people together around one niche idea.

Choosing the right type of website for your business

Like incorporating forums into online stores, you can combine multiple types of websites — by including a blog section on your portfolio, for example, or by adding a directory of sponsors to your event website.

The right type of website for your business is adaptable to your needs and integrates with the social media side of your online presence, helping you bring every aspect of your vision to life. 

Square has the tools to run your business — on your own terms. To help celebrate businesses paving their way forward, we partnered with Forbes on the Next 1000 initiative to spotlight bold entrepreneurs and share their most valuable lessons. By sharing firsthand experiences, we’re helping businesses celebrate resilience, build skills, and explore what’s next. See how Square works, and get more expert guidance for the next era of small business.