Choosing a Site Model

You might have an idea for a website already, something you want to sell, or something you want to write about, but before you start building your site you will need to decide what type of site you will run, and yes there are a variety of types to choose from. There are two main types of sites on the Internet, ecommerce sites and content-driven sites. Ecommerce sites are those that sell products and content sites are those that provide information or other content. This guide will only focus on content sites, sites that provide information or automated services. However much of the advice, especially in the realm of search engine optimization, will be applicable to all sites. There are different types of content sites and which type of site you choose to run will greatly affect the type of work you need to do to create it and the type of work required to maintain it. Also some topics may lend themselves to a certain type of site so when you decide what topic you want your site to be on in the next section that decision may influence your site type choice. What follows will be a survey of the different types of content sites.

Online Magazines

Online Magazine sites are those fashioned after a typical magazine. These types of sites are article driven and frequently add new content, consider them periodicals for the Internet. Online magazine sites start slow but eventually pick up steam with an exponential growth curve. The reason is that with frequently added content you eventually get a large library of content built up and you also attract a high number of return loyal visitors, much like subscribers to a magazine.

Online magazine sites are typically started with only a small amount of content with more added weekly or even more frequently than that. At first you will either need to pay writers to write that content or write it yourself, however eventually you may be able to solicit contributions from among your loyal return visitors. These return visitors are also valuable in that they will keep using your site regardless of ongoing promotion efforts and their existence will make it easier for you to launch a community or forum on your site. You will only develop a loyal user following though with well written, useful, and frequently updated content and so online magazines, when compared to other site types, tend to require to most ongoing maintenance and writing work to run.


Very Similar to online magazines are web logs, or blogs as they’re called. Like online magazines, blogs feature and require frequently updated content. Where they differ is mostly in writing style. A blog is informal by nature and while many people still write formally in their blog it is more typical to encounter informal opportunistic writing. What I mean is when a blogger wishes to write about a topic they do not necessarily open up their word processor and do a few hours or more worth of research or investigation before posting. Rather they just sit down and right. This informal, unpolished quality, is part of the draw of a blog. In addition to the informal writing style, another unique characteristic of a blog is that the content is organized chronologically.

Blogs have a lot of things going for them in the monetization and promotion realms. Unlike generic website publishing, blogging has become more main stream and as such you may find it easier to find advertisers, or even to find someone to buy you out for a tidy sum. Additionally blogs attract links like no other type of site. If you loathe having to work hard to build incoming links, open a blog, they’ll be easy to get. The main downside of a blog is that you are more or less locked into a content type. With other types of content sites you can expand easily and add new types of content or new types of content organization. For instance a resource site could one day open a community and or a blog to complement their other content. With a blog though you are usually stuck with that type of organization.

Another piece of good news with a blog is that there are great preexisting scripts for site management, so if you do not have programming skills or do not wish to pay for a lot of custom development a blog may be the right choice for you.