03 Apr The Five Pages That Every Website Needs
Sometimes, it’s good to go back to the basics. Like your small-to-medium-size business’s website, for example. For all that is typically written about the importance of search engine optimization (SEO), page loading speed, mobile optimization, etc., there’s one fundamental upon which all else hinges: the essential pages that every website needs.
The pages on your website play an important role in encouraging visitors to stay awhile and learn about your business – with the ultimate goal of converting them to customers – as well as helping them find your site in the first place. Yes, that does mean SEO! However, SEO is easier to implement when your website has the types of pages that visitors expect.
Unfortunately, some businesses have taken a minimalist approach with their website design. The less-is-more philosophy can be a good thing, but not when it results in a site with little information about the business. Less information means less content – and therefore fewer SEO opportunities.
A potential customer searching online for what you sell may not find your site because common search terms aren’t included in the copy – because you depended on a sweeping video of your business or company logo surrounded by plenty of white space to do the talking instead. If your website isn’t high in the search engine results pages (SERPs), no one will know it exists – as most people don’t go past page one – so they won’t be able to be impressed. Consequently, they won’t be likely to buy from you.
Essential Pages and Why You Need Them
Homepage – Of course, your website has a homepage! Even a one-page website opens on an introductory screen from which the visitor scrolls down to continue. But it’s what’s on the homepage that can determine whether the visitor stays and ventures further or quickly leaves. Your homepage should visually convey your business’s brand identity – which your enterprise has – reinforced by appropriate text.
According to Big Apple Media, “The homepage should include all the basic information about your company and give a brief overview of the services you provide. Do not include a long list of every service you offer, but rather list only the main categories. You must strive to keep your main page clutter-free and only provide the essential information users are interested in.”
When a potential visitor performs an online search, the search engine may pull up an inside page rather than your homepage, depending on that person’s search query. No matter – if the visitor finds that page informative, they’ll be inclined to go to your homepage to learn more.
About Us page – This is the place to tell the story of your business. As Big Apple Media notes, the About Us page is the place where you can differentiate yourself from your competitors.
“The about page should include information about your background, company history, your mission, and what inspires you. However, the about page should not only be strictly about you and your business. One mistake many businesses make with their about pages is when they only talk about themselves. The about page gives you a chance to convince your potential customers why they should work with you and why they can trust you. By including information about your reputation, experience, years in business, awards, and credentials, you are trying to show your credibility and your expertise in order to build trust. ”
Be sure the information you put out there is relevant, or your About Us page could be a liability. According to Susan Green, owner of Susan Green Copywriter, “Avoid using generic statements like ‘We’re committed to quality,’ and ‘We offer excellent customer service.’ That type of website copy could apply to any business in almost any industry. Instead, find ways to demonstrate what is unique and wonderful about yours.”
In addition, consider this the ideal opportunity for making a connection with your target audience and engaging them in your business’s culture. There’s a website for a local brick-and-mortar business we encountered that deals in exotic luxury-end merchandise – most of it imported. Anyone wanting to learn how the business started, or about how the store owners formed relationships with its vendors, or how the brands were chosen – or the story behind the brands themselves – will be disappointed, as there is no such information on the site. Not to mention the missed opportunities for SEO!
Products/Services page – No matter how small your business or website, people who are looking for what you sell need to know that they came to the right place! “Visitors come to your website searching for a solution to their problem,” writes Green. “They want to know if what you have for sale is the answer to their needs.”
If your business sells products, provide a high-resolution photo of each product, accompanied by concisely written copy that offers an overview, followed by features and benefits. Typically, features and benefits are listed as bullet points to make reading easier. Website visitors tend to be put off by solid blocks of copy, and may not stay around, no matter how great the product. Again, be thinking about SEO keyword opportunities!
For services, use photos of your projects, if possible. If you run a roofing company, prospective customers would like to see examples of your work. Descriptions need not be cut-and-dried. A sentence or two that conveys your unique brand identity can go a long way in making your business stand out from your competitors. This also applies to descriptions of products.
Some businesses may need more than one page for this purpose. For example, plumbers who handle both residential and commercial jobs should have an individual page for each.
FAQ page – The frequently asked questions page is extremely helpful to visitors who may have questions about your business – as well as helpful to you, as you and/or your staff won’t have to spend time answering the same questions from numerous prospects. This is a simple format, listing common questions, each followed with the answer. Keep the tone informal. It should read as if you’re answering the question over the phone or in person.
According to Propel Marketing & Design, Inc., “This page can also serve to tell the buyer a bit more about you or your business. For instance, if you want them to know you have an A+ with BBB, pose the question, then answer it and always provide links to support your answers when necessary. Perhaps your business costs less or more than your competition, here is a great place to say why that is.”
Contact Us page – The purpose of your website is to drive leads to your business to convert them into customers. This important page is the next step in doing just that, so make sure it’s comprehensive! The Contact Us page should include the following:
- Physical address of your business (Note: this should NOT be a P.O. box).
- Business phone number.
- Email address (Note: we recommend a dedicated info@ email address to prevent spam from being sent to your individual email address).
- Contact form.
- Embedded Google Map.
- Hours of operation.
Pages That are Good to Have on Your Website
Not all small-to-medium size businesses are the same, so while the pages listed above are essential, the following are good to have, if practical and applicable.
Blog – Of course, in order to have a Blog page, you need to have a blog! Not only does a blog help build your business’s credibility and position it as an authority and thought leader, it also helps SEO. Google “rewards” websites that add quality content on a regular basis with a higher page ranking.
In addition, according to the inbound marketing experts at HubSpot, businesses using blogs as part of their content marketing mix get 67% more leads than those that don’t. Writing for HubSpot, Wanda Coustas reports that 52% of respondents on a recent content marketing survey agreed that blogging is their most critical content marketing tactic. No matter the size of your business, blogging is integral to your online marketing strategy. Our blog post – “Why Does Your Business Need a Blog?” – covers this topic in greater detail.
Gallery – This may not apply to your business, but if it does, dedicating a web page to photos of your work can help attract new customers. If you’re on social media (as you should be), you may be posting photos of your best projects or clients for whom you achieved the best results on your Instagram and/or Facebook accounts. But don’t neglect your website! Prospects may have found your website before your social media pages. Show what you’ve done for others so they’ll have confidence you’ll do the same for them!
Testimonials – A Testimonials page is a great way to start establishing feelings of trust and credibility in your business among prospective customers. People feel more confident in a business when they read accolades from those who are so happy with your business’s products or service that they took time to write about it, and to recommend you to others.
Getting those glowing testimonials will most likely be done through online review sites, such as Yelp or Angi. Our blog post – “How Can Your Business Boost Its Online Reputation?” – provides practical advice on how to encourage satisfied customers to write reviews.
The Take-Home Message and Our Blatant Self-Promotion
No matter how awesome your product or service, a website that doesn’t provide the essentials of what your prospective customers –and Google – are looking for won’t generate the amount of business it potentially could. We know that writing the necessary content – with the necessary SEO – is probably not in your wheelhouse. Same with writing a blog – which should be posted on a regular basis, at least once monthly, to move the needle.
Fortunately, that’s what our dedicated Virtual Stacks Systems team is here for! Our comprehensive digital marketing services include website design, website redesign, SEO services, content writing, social media marketing, pay-per-click marketing and so much more! We are ready to be your partner in success.
Contact us to learn more and get started!