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What Are Web Portals and What Can They Do For Your Business?

If your business offers multiple services on the web, it may be time to consolidate. Developing a web portal is a great way to organize information and structure your business’s services into a clean, well-designed system. Web portals can include search engines and other internet tools, including email services, news, stock reports, and various sites and services owned by you or another company.

Organizing information in this manner is the best content management system and makes your web portal the go-to source for internet users everywhere, or for a specific segment of the population.

Web portals often include popular search engines, such as Google, Yahoo, and others. However, a web portal is so much more than a mere search engine. In addition to allowing users to search the internet, web portals can sometimes give users the ability to create their own customized webpages that give them access to a web email account and the latest news and reports from various sources. A popular example of a web portal was the now-defunct iGoogle site, where Google users could set their homepage to also display email, news, stocks, and other widgets. (Widgets are small applications that can be used or embedded into a particular webpage or onto a computer desktop. Examples of this include WordPress widgets used for blogging, and weather widgets on computer desktops or homepages.) Google itself can also be counted as a web portal, as it offers a variety of services from search engine capabilities and email to news, stocks, and advertising services.

Web portals often take two forms: horizontal or vertical. Horizontal portals are portals that serve several companies in the same economic sector and may include information relevant to that industry (e.g. a government portal gathering together government websites). Vertical portals typically serve a specific market, niche, or area of interest and are sometimes known as VIPs (“vertical information portals”). VIPs can offer news and digital publications, in addition to online shopping. Many popular VIPs today also include multimedia and social applications used in social networking, blogging, and video posting.

Web portals also typically fall into categories related to industries. Government portals and corporate portals can serve the public by pooling resources and helpful information for use by everyone. Also, some web portal development is created for use by authorized personnel only; these are known as closed web application systems. Web portals for businesses require users to log in, so they can access confidential documents, databases, and other information saved on a server. Certain parts of a corporate portal may be open to the public, such as with an online store where customers can browse for and purchase goods and services. Schools, hospitals, and a variety of other industries benefit from having their own web portals to provide a variety of services for their employees and clientele.

If you feel your company could benefit from a web portal, whether you serve the general public or need an effective system for authorized employees only, be sure to contact a developer who can provide custom application development for your business. Having a web portal to organize and host your web services is a great solution for making your business more effective and serving your clients in the most streamlined manner possible.