The Four Styles of Websites

A blog feature image of the four styles of websites.

Written by aaron

Aaron likes to draw pictures and talk about smart stuffs. He is the founder of Primary Web Design, an American company that designs elegant and affordable mobile-friendly websites and offers internet marketing solutions for small to medium-sized companies.

December 17, 2022

The Four Styles of Websites: Understanding what they are how much they cost.

There are many different styles of websites, and each one is used for a specific purpose. In this post, we will discuss the four website styles: informational, transactional, educational and personal. You’ll learn what they’re primarily used for and why you need a website in order to grow your business. We’ll also cover costs so that you can be better informed when it comes to deciding who to hire as your web designer! So, let’s dive right in.

So, you’ve started a business and decided you want to move to the digital world to make it easier for customers to find your business, the types of services or products you off and maybe even some basic prices of those services and/or products. How to go about determining what type of website you need?  Websites come in four styles:


An example of an informational website

A screen shot of the Roots Hair salon in Savannah, GA

This style of website is used to provide information about your company, the services you offer and how clients can find out how to go about contacting you. It’s usually easy to navigate with simple text content that showcases what makes you unique as a business or organization. This is the typical website for small businesses who either have a brick and mortar store or have a service area they concentrate on. Since it doesn’t directly encourage customers to buy products or services, this type of site is commonly referred to as “brochure” site because you would typically see them on paper just like a brochure at the dentist’s office, library, convenience store or other local market. They come in many forms, but traditionally a single page or multi-page website is their standard format.

The single page version is great for small businesses who are just starting out and wish to expand in the future because pages can be added as time goes on. They are economical and affordable giving the business owner the most bang for their buck. Starting with a brochure style website is great for smaller, less established businesses. However, if you’re a larger corporation with many aspects and working entities, a multiple page website is more to your needs. Websites are not only used to strengthen your online presence, but also reach new customers. Informational websites can be highly effective in terms of reaching a wider audience because they have benefits that go beyond the traditional media platforms.

Informational websites tend to range in price from $800-$2500 depending on the amount of pages that are needed, but do not include a shopping cart or payment gateway like transactional websites do.


An example of a transactional or eCommerce website

A screen shot of the Amazon website.

A transactional website performs tasks related to commerce. Typically referred to as eCommerce sites these websites are used to provide online services for purchasing products or booking appointments and accepting payments. Websites like these are perfect for small business owners who want to sell products directly to consumers rather than through a third party marketer. Websites like these proliferate the online space and starting one up takes diligence and patience. The cost of marketing these types of sites can be rather expensive and in the long run, these costs may outweigh the benefits of having your own transactional website.

If you’re thinking about having a transactional website built be sure to include the time and cost of creating the site as well as the costs of maintaining it. A transactional website is not a one-time cost, but rather a long term investment.

One of the biggest costs associated with transactional websites is web design and development. Websites like these will likely be updated regularly as new products are added or prices change so having a good designer on hand to keep up with changes can help reduce future expenses. Another big part of maintaining a transactional website is handling the payment gateway, the shopping cart and shipping costs.  If you don’t have a dedicated person to handle these things, it’s important that the site is designed in such a way that shopping and checkout are easy for your customers.

The more products that you add to your transactional website the bigger it will get. Websites like these typically start small and simple, but grow large very quickly as more items are added for sale or distribution. If changing prices of products is a common occurrence then having some sort of software program in place can make this task easier and less time consuming. You may want to hire someone do these tasks for you, or you may opt to perform these tasks yourself, either way it will be a cost in monetary terms or a cost of your time and effort.

Transactional Websites or eCommerce sites typically cost more than website styles like informational websites; however they can be worth their price as long as the business owner plans on having a lot of daily traffic or is expecting to have large amounts of items for sale at any given moment. These websites are typically priced by the amount of web pages you require, but can also be determined based on time spent creating it and other factors as well.

Transactional websites tend to range in price from $3500 to hundreds of thousands of dollars, with ongoing costs that can be substantial with consideration to the size and complexity of the website.


An example of an educational website

A screen shot of the Coursera website.

Websites that use this style are those who offer educational resources, such as tutorials and reports to their customers or clients. These types of websites don’t directly sell anything but provide valuable information for potential buyers about your company, which increases trust among the viewers. A good example is a school website where you can get information about the types of education offered, degrees, classroom size, teacher info or other useful tidbits to help you make a decision about attending the school or finding one that better suits your needs. Another example of an educational website is a membership platform where visitors can purchase an ongoing membership and gain access to larger portions of the site such as instructional videos, tutorials or papers written that are not easily found in the broader spectrum of internet research.

Websites that offer this type of information to their visitors can be found in almost every industry and range from law firms that provide continuing education seminars through video tutorials, or course providers like Coursera who provide classroom settings with teachers and tutorial videos. Websites like these are perfect for small business owners who want to build an ongoing project to educate visitors in their field of interest. This type of website can also be used to support a small business. Websites that offer tutorials, frequently asked questions and other resources for customers are great marketing tools in their own right and help build the credibility of a brand by demonstrating expertise within an industry or market segment.

Educational websites range anywhere from $2500-$4500 and up depending on the level of content and customization.


An example of a personal website

A screen shot of the Samantha Lacey Johnson actress website.

These types of websites are referred to as “platform” style websites and are used to promote an individual. Some examples of personal websites are author sites, blogger sites, actor/actress sites, resume, or company founder pages. Websites of this nature are typically used to promote a product or service that the individual is promoting but can also be used as a business card type scenario where they use it to sell their services and connect with individuals who may need them.

Personal websites tend to range in price from $500-1500.

With any website there are ongoing costs that must be considered, including domain registration, hosting, SSL certificates, email, security, and marketing and advertising services. These services can range in price from $20-$1500+ monthly depending on the level required by the client or business owner. These ongoing expenses must be factored into your budget and a good web designer will be able to go over them for you and may even negotiate a bundled solution that fits your needs. Websites are meant to be an investment in the future, but it is important that you understand what your ongoing costs will be before moving forward with hosting or purchasing a domain name and the obligations you have on securing your website against potential threats as well as marketing or ad costs to get your website out there so that people can discover who your are and what you do.

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