Building and launching a side project isn’t just a way to learn something new — you can turn it into a steady stream of revenue.
Whether you want to monetize your content with a membership website or launch an ecommerce store, there are a variety of options you can pursue.
8 unique website ideas to start in 2021
Here are eight different website design ideas to show you what’s possible:
1. Job sites
We’ve all spent plenty of time looking through job sites. So many seem like an endless scroll with no clear organization. Job after job passes by on the screen, and few of them jump out as something we may be interested in. Finding any type of job in the bulk of posts can be a frustrating task.
There is always a demand for quality job boards. If you have some technical skills already, starting a job web page of your own is a great idea for a side project that can help you bring in some extra income.
Content Writing Jobs stands out with a clean website design that focuses on the quality of their leads and usability. It offers a user experience free from the complexities that bog down so many other job boards.
This dropdown filter for job categories pictured above simplifies how someone searches. With categories including technical, UX, SEO, and entertainment, the dropdown gives you a quick way to find the specific type of job that you’re after.
Their revenue comes in the form of a monthly newsletter for job seekers that lets them know in advance about new job postings that are coming up. Content Writing Jobs also charges job posters a fee. Like many of the better job boards, it’s free from an annoying barrage of ads.
We’re fans of the clean lines, easy-to-navigate organization, and the selection of cool writing jobs. We were also happy to see that this job board was built with Webflow!
This is a great example of how to make a job board that job seekers and posters alike will find useful.
2. Affiliate sites
Affiliate websites sometimes get a bad rap. This is unfortunate because many websites out there can be classified as affiliate websites but do so much more than drop-shipping. Affiliate programs bring together creators with those who can help promote what the creators do.
An affiliate website offers an online store of products and resources in a specific niche. Think of them as digital boutiques catering to the tastes and interests of a selected demographic.
If you’ve been using Webflow for any amount of time, you’ve probably come across Flowbase. They shine with a passion for web design and authenticity that instills trust the moment you arrive on their landing page.
Though Flowbase wouldn’t be considered a traditional affiliate site — as they host an excellent selection of their own premium Webflow website templates and web design components, as well as write their own blogs and tutorials — they also feature work from others that you can clone and use in your Webflow designs. Flowbase also used Webflow to build this very website.
If you’re looking to launch a new website with affiliate links of your own, Flowbase is a great example of how having a specific focus can bring in the audience that you want to attract.
3. Membership websites
If you’re a content creator, why not take things up to the next level and start monetizing what you put out there for free? If you’re already blogging, creating tutorials, or are even thinking about launching an online course of your own, membership websites make it easy to get paid for what you create. There are many types of websites out there that offer memberships that unlock premium content that’s not available anywhere else.
Most offer a basic level, giving people a taste of what’s available for free, enticing them to sign up for their premium memberships. Becoming a paying member unlocks exclusive content like step-by-step tutorials, articles, videos, message forums where experts share tips, and other media.
Swipe Files is a membership website aimed at marketers with high-quality content like courses, articles, and access to a huge community of like-minded people who share the same entrepreneurial spirit. Getting in on their free membership puts you on their newsletter list. If you find their newsletters worthwhile, you’ll most likely be interested in paying for what else they have to offer. This is a solid business strategy for any membership website to follow.
If we look at their membership web page below, we see in these simple three columns how these plans differ and what content comes with the different membership levels.
If you are a prolific content creator, launching a membership website is an excellent way of monetizing your expertise.
4. Online learning websites
Quite a few platforms out there will host online courses for you. But they come at a price. Why not launch your own site and avoid having to pay someone for what you could do on your own with a website builder like Webflow?
For someone wanting to learn how to play the handpan metal drum, Master the Handpan offers everything one would need. Three different levels of paid lessons are available for those just getting started to those who’ve acquired a level of proficiency. Along with their instructional materials, Master the Handpan also has a buyer’s guide, discussion forum, and blog. There’s plenty of free content here to pique the interest of any aspiring handpan player.
If you’re offering an online course for a niche interest like the handpan, someone may find your website faster through a search engine than if it was part of a larger online course platform where it may get less visibility. If there’s not a lot of competition for what you’re teaching, being able to attain a high level of SEO may be feasible if you create your own website.
If you want to have complete control over monetizing your online courses, launching a website of your own is the way to go. This website was built with Webflow, and we hope you check us out if you need a website builder to help launch your own online course.
5. Blog websites
Many bloggers may also have podcasts, online courses, and other content out there they want to promote. A blog functions as a space to showcase one’s expertise and to share knowledge, as well as a place to send people over to other media that the blogger has created.
Aaron Ward’s primary goal is to give people the resources they need to launch their own online courses.
He keeps an active blog, touching on everything from how to edit YouTube videos to how to market one’s courses and bring in more students.
Aaron’s blog positions him as an authority on creating online classes and how to market them. It compliments so well the paid services he has like courses and coaching. Making the leap from his free content to his paid content should be easy for anyone who finds his blog posts informative.
Blogs are great for drawing attention to paid content and other services you provide. They help build your reputation. They also act as an SEO beacon, bringing in organic traffic and further helping send people to other pursuits of yours that you’d like to promote.
Aaron’s blog is another example of what you can do using Webflow — and he makes great use of our CMS to manage and update his content.
6. Ecommerce websites
Online shops are a great side business that almost anyone can launch. Keep in mind that with the number of ecommerce shops out there competing with each other, it’s imperative to have a niche and brand identity to set your online shop apart from the rest.
L’intendance, a French purveyor of bulk and specialized food items, offers all of their products free from wasteful plastic packaging. They succeed in having a very specific marketing angle, along with a website that reflects their brand identity of sustainability.
With brilliant food photography and a clean and bright web design, there’s a crisp freshness to this website that communicates what their brand is all about.
An ecommerce store can range from a few items to hundreds, and it’s well within the capabilities of anyone to set up. You can always start as a small business and scale up as you gain more customers.
7. Curation websites
Curation websites are libraries of related content that continually get updated. They act as an ongoing repository of articles, tutorials, and other content that their audience will find interesting.
For those with a passion for tech and design, Sidebar offers an amazing collection of curated content. Whether you’re a web designer, copywriter, or someone else whose creative talents intersect with the digital realm, you’ll find so much here that will capture your attention.
With articles like “Why Does a Design Look Good?”, “How to Improve CSS Performance,” and “How to Write Inclusive, Accessible Digital Products,” they cover a wide range of topics that anyone will find informative and inspiring.
This is another excellent example of the type of website you can build with Webflow. Our CMS simplifies the updating and managing of large amounts of dynamic content that curated content websites require.
8. Service-based websites
A service-based business is just a fancy name for a person who can do something for you that you can’t do yourself. A real estate agent provides a service. So does an interior decorator.
Service-based businesses also occupy the digital realm. Scribly offers the service of content. For companies who don’t have an in-house content creation team, freelance designers who want to offer content creation as a part of their services, or anyone else in need of a wordsmith, Scribly provides quality writing, social media management, and content strategy.
If you have a special skill and there’s a demand for it, starting your own service-based business can help put a bit of extra money in your pockets.
Launch your next side project with Webflow
From the smallest of online businesses to the biggest of job boards, Webflow makes it possible to bring your ideas to fruition. With an intuitive visual canvas, a powerful CMS, and Webflow University to help you learn, we give you all the tools required to launch your next online venture.