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Key differences between websites and web portals

alonatomina profile image Alona Tomina Updated on ・3 min read

Online presence is a great way for entrepreneurs to reach their target users. But businesses sometimes come over a stumbling block when deciding what type of web presence to choose. There is a lot of overlapping functionality between websites and portals; however, they differ in many respects.

Let’s dive in and define them individually & understand their differences.

What is a website?

A website is a collection of linked web pages hosted from the same domain. It could be accessed through a web address.

All publicly accessible websites constitute the World Wide Web. A website is one of the most popular solutions on the web.

A website could be industry-specific, product-specific, or services-specific, etc. Websites are typically dedicated to a particular topic or purpose, for example, e-commerce website, blog, brand-building site, corporate website, a government website, news site, gallery, etc.

What is a web portal?

Unlike websites, web portals are private locations on the Internet. A web portal is a website providing a broad array of services, for example, search engines and forums. It is a custom-made website that immerses information from a wide array of sources.

Some of the most popular examples include:

Yahoo is known for its search engine, but it is primarily a portal.

Grants.gov allows applicants for federal grants to apply for and manage grant funds online.

Web portals are classified as:

• Horizontal
It is employed as a platform for companies in the same sector.

• Vertical
It is a specialized entry point to a specific industry, subject area, or interest.

Most web portals require the user to log in, which allows the site to deliver more detailed content and services based on who that user is. There are many types of web portals depending on the usage, such as:

• Cultural
• Financial
• Government
• Search
• Corporate
• Tender and bidding

Website vs. web portal

When you are looking to build a web portal or a website, it is crucial to know the key differences so that nobody rips you off in the wrong way.

Audience

• Website: It is a destination that everyone can get to. Websites are designed for a broader audience.
• Web portal: Web portals require a user to log in, which allows delivering more specific content.

Access

• Website: The website is open for all. Content is globally visible.
• Web portal: Its content is login-protected, available after you sign up. Web portals are limited to people who decide to create their accounts.

Management

• Website: The information on a website is rarely updated.
• Web portal: The information is regularly updated.

Features

• Website: It is owned by an organization.
• Web portal: It is user-centric.

Interaction

• Website: Users can not interact with a website.
• Web portal: There is two-way communication between users and portal.

Which one to choose?

Both websites and web portals are fabulous mediums to promote businesses. Like every virtual solution, the decision to develop a website or portal comes down to the unique situation and company needs.

When you’re deciding between a website and a portal, you need to consider factors such as the project characteristics, current technology investments, the team’s needs, etc.

The website is a good option if:

• company is interested in a broader audience;
• company wants to focus on managing content;
• there is no need for many integrations with other applications;
• you need to have a site that operates separately from internal systems.

The web portal is a good option if:

• company wants to have advanced control over what users see;
• company needs this solution to work with internal and third-party applications;
• company caters to a specific audience;
• company need advanced features.

Wrapping it all

Websites help to attract clients through content. On the other hand, web portals serve a more interactive purpose.

Before entering market with a website or web portal, it’s crucial to conduct diligent research to identify the needs of the target audience.

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