When we think of the World Wide Web, we often think of buying and selling online. Consider retail and wholesale sites, as well as sales and marketing sites for services. However, not all websites need to have ecommerce as their primary function. In fact, websites can fulfill a number of other functions.
At HostGator, we think everyone has something worth sharing on the world wide web. But starting a website can be intimidating. Maybe you’re not sure what topic you should focus on. Maybe you’re not sure it will be successful. Or maybe you’re not sure you would attract an audience. Our recent Facebook contest winner, Linda, has proven that taking a risk can have a large reward.
Linda won our Facebook contest where we asked, “How did your HostGator website change your life?” We received over 100 entries from people all over the world in industries ranging from hospitality to seasoned entrepreneurs to novice business owners. Although all of the entries offered insights to how having an online presence has changed their business, Linda’s story offered a unique perspective.
Two years ago, Linda’s son died from cancer. While this is hard in itself, Linda and her family found it difficult to live with the knowledge that what he wanted most to accomplish in his short life was within reach but denied by poor communication between her son and the medical professionals taking care of him. This was her inspiration for starting her website. Examining the Examiner is committed to improving communication and promoting meaningful dialogue between patients and their health care providers by providing an interactive forum that can be accessed by patients and physicians.
Examining the Examiner was created as a forum for patients to share how medical professionals can best meet their needs in communication. Patients and caregivers are welcome to respond to questions and interact within the forum. Linda’s website has not only helped her find closure, but it has impacted the lives of hundreds of other patients.
Linda demonstrates that not all websites need to be used for running a business. Websites can be used for blogging, promoting, generating leads or showing off your portfolio. Her advice to us? To take the plunge. She says, “This is one of the best endeavors that I have ever tried to bring to fruition, and one that I was least sure about being successful.” Her site certainly has been successful allowing Linda to help a countless number of people, inspiring all of us to bring our websites to realization.
Inspired by Linda? Get your own website today!
Not quite sure yet what your website should be about? Check out this list of website types that aren’t ecommerce.
You might have a website whose primary purpose is to promote an event. For example, you may promote and offer details pertaining to a public event, such as a fair, a flea market, or a political rally. Or, through a limited access site, your aim might be to promote and offer details regarding a private event, such as a birthday party, an anniversary, a wedding, or a graduation. Your target audience here would be the people attending your specific event, so you may want to put relevant info behind a password wall.
You may simply want your voice to be heard, and one of the most efficient ways to allow this is to blog, which is a great use for a website. You may, of course, blog on any topic, but some of the more popular ones cover such topics as movie and live performance criticism, political opinions, and personal stories. Or you may have a blog associated with a class you teach or a group to which you belong. In the former case, your target audience could be anyone around the world, while in the latter case, your target audience would be more specific, likely members of the group being featured.
Fundraising is another great function for a website. Often, non-profit organizations establish fundraising sites. Or, you might set up your own personal fundraising page to seek money for a medical procedure, alimony, child support, student loans, car payments, or other bills. You can target various people with a fundraising site. For example, you might target a social media group, such as all your Facebook friends or all your Twitter followers. Or, you might target everyone who has volunteered for your non-profit organization.
Portfolio or Resume Showcase
Another great use for a website is to showcase your portfolio or resume in a place where potential employers and supervisors can have easy access to it by simply going online. Your portfolio might include photos or videos of work you have completed, as well as descriptive or promotional writing regarding your work. You may also include others’ positive reviews of your work. Besides potential employers and supervisors, you might target other working professionals who could learn from your work.
Online Community or Forum
You might establish a website for social purposes, such as bringing people together. Such a website would offer connection for people with a common ground such as alumnae of a specific college or university or members of a club. This type of site might list member names and contact information and share any announcements that are pertinent to group members behind a password wall.
Sometimes, a website is established to feature magazine articles. Access can be public or private, depending on who the target audience is. This type of website might include information on Hollywood stars, book reviews, or other articles of interest to readers. Targeted readers could be local, or if you are ambitious about distributing your articles, you might target national or even international readers.
If you have a talent for a specific activity, you may want to establish an instruction, or “how to” website. Maybe you know how to make repairs around the house, launch a boat, build a model, or cook a meal. You can share all of your “how to” knowledge via the World Wide Web, making your website a popular forum for you and other contributors to share and exchange opinions on the best approaches to getting things done.
You might use a website to report news items. This could be an up-to-the-minute report site on world news developments, local news items, weather, traffic, and other relevant information. Your target audience might range from people all over the world to people living on a single block, depending on the type of news delivered.
You might use a website to share your photos and videos. These photos and videos can be family oriented, work related, or home related. You might even share media of your pet. Your target audience might be friends, family, peers, potential employers, or co-workers, viewing media of a family picnic, company meeting, or other events in your life.
Perhaps you are a scientist looking to share your findings. A website can be the perfect forum in which to do so. Everyday, medical general practitioners and specialists turn to the web to share their findings and related information. Physicists, chemists, and other scientists can also share their research on the web, with target audiences being their peers and sometimes, the public.
These are just a handful of the common types of websites out there. As you can see, there are numerous types of websites that are not eCommerce based. Websites are a key method of communication in today’s society, and are useful for communicating many important activities and messages beyond simply commerce.
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