The terms website and portal are sometimes used interchangeably, but it is a big mistake. Laypeople find it difficult to distinguish between these concepts, but professionals have no excuse. Discover the main differences between websites and web portals to dispel the confusion once and for all.
Definition of a Website
According to Wikipedia, a site is an interlinked set of related web pages, “including multimedia content, typically identified with a common domain name, and published on at least one web server.” This definition may be simplified. A (web)site is a one-page or multipage hypertext document that is connected to the World Wide Web and can be displayed on a browser.
A server is where a website is hosted. This piece of hardware or software allows it to be accessible 24/7 from any screen. A domain name is a section of the URL (the string in the address bar) after “www” — for example, “cnn.com”. So, what is different when you create web portal for your company and do you need one?
Definition of Web Portal
A website can be created for any general goal, from news to e-commerce to online investment. What sets a portal apart is its specific purpose. It is a site designed to collect and present data from different sources like search engines, emails, and online forums.
A portal is a type of website — a customized library. It accumulates information from multiple locations and serves it in a structured form. Portals are equipped with personalized notifications, task management, collaboration, and other advanced features.
- Unlike a website, a portal is not accessible via a public URL. It has a private location and requires a unique combination of a username and a password to log in.
- Content is only accessible to visitors who log in.
- Content is dynamic, which means it changes for every visitor more frequently than on a typical website.
Functions of a Website
Via corporate websites, companies convey their brand narrative to the target audience. They tell existing and potential clients about their services, products, and the benefits they bring. Successful websites engage visitors to boost brand awareness, conversions, and loyalty.
Secondly, sites are crucial for increasing traffic through effective SEO (optimization for search engines). They contain relevant keywords, valuable content, optimized images, etc. High loading speed and mobile responsiveness also contribute to visibility on Google.
Thirdly, websites address typical questions asked by clients. Company blogs and FAQ pages help the audience save time. This also gives the bottom line a boost.
Finally, sites summarize contact information. Customers do not have to scour the internet to find ways to contact a business, as its email, phone number, and social media profiles are listed on its site. To sum up, the key functions of a website are:
- Communicating brand identity;
- Building a strong connection to the target audience;
- Boosting brand awareness, loyalty, and sales;
- Building credibility online;
- Improving communication with customers and addressing their questions.
E-commerce websites facilitate and streamline sales and delivery of products and services. They allow instant ordering from any desktop or mobile device, thereby enhancing convenience for customers and expanding reach for their owners.
Functions of Web Portal
A web portal will give your company a new toolset. It can enhance your online presence by delivering more quality information. Essentially, a portal is an upgrade for your site. The most common types are:
- Government portals;
- Tender portals;
- Cultural portals;
- Virtual national libraries;
- Corporate portals;
- Stock portals.
Portals improve the relations between customers and companies. They serve highly relevant and filtered information in a user-friendly way, on a comprehensive platform. Whatever your customers search for is at their fingertips.
High-quality web portals improve interactions. Your content is more responsive and better targeted to your audience. Finally, domain-based development helps companies attract users seeking information on a particular domain.
Through websites, companies reach out to an unlimited audience. PPC advertising and SEO make sites more visible. By optimizing content in the right way, brands rise in organic search results, so users see their URLs when they google specific products or services.
Portals are not designed to drive limited traffic. On the contrary, they restrict it due to their private location and login requirement. They attract a specific target audience and tailor the user experience to its needs. Portals allow companies to control user functionality on every page, integrate multiple sources and deliver information in a uniform format.
Process of Website Development
Now, let’s turn to the technical side of things. How are websites and web portals built? Experienced developers create sites in six steps using languages and frameworks like Java, Python, CSS, and Ruby:
- Information gathering;
- Content Writing;
- Testing, Review and Launch.
There are many more languages and frameworks. Many companies recommend PHP, the most widely used and trusted language as of today.
Process of Web Portal Development
This process follows the same steps as website development. Yet, the functionality, features, coding, testing, and integration differ. The languages, however, are largely the same. Developers may also use AngularJS, Laravel, React.JS, NodeJS and other Frameworks.
To Sum Up
Web portals are special types of websites. Their key distinctions are private location, access via login, and narrow focus on a specific audience. Through a portal, your business can deliver an advanced experience to a limited audience with specific needs.
Websites, in comparison, are built to attract as many visitors. They are built to boost awareness, conversions, loyalty, and other measures of commercial success. Using SEO tools and practices, including keywords and mobile optimization, digital marketing pros achieve high visibility on search engines like Google.
By now, the difference between sites and portals should be clear. The former will drive traffic and conversions, while the latter will enhance the experience for your existing customers, partners, or employees! In terms of foundation, both types of sites may run on the same languages and frameworks. An experienced web development team can build a site or portal based on your needs.