In a recent post, we wrote about the planning process you should take yourself through when it comes time to create content for your website. If you missed that article, go back and read it now before reading this one. You’ll find three free worksheets in that post that should help to get the development of your website’s content moving in the right direction.
After you have your three worksheets and all your information organized—and once you’re clear in the understanding that you’re writing your website’s content for your customers’ benefit and not your own—read through the following tips. Aside from being a list of the most commonly used pages that appear on website, they explain what you should include on each main page of your website.
Not all of these pages, of course, will be appropriate for your business to use. But being aware of the most commonly used pages can help you make decisions about what to include—and what not to include—in your site architecture.
1. Home Page
Clearly, this is the most important page of your entire website. Even if nothing else on your site is perfect, your home page, at the very least, should be professionally designed and visually engaging. It should provide information about who you are and what you can do for your customers. It should include a brief overview of what visitors can find on your site.
The navigation on your home page should be simple and intuitive; visitors to your home page shouldn’t have to struggle to access your website’s information. Your home page should also include quality imagery, and possibly a slideshow or video that explains how your company can solve your potential customers’ problems. You’ll also want to include easy-to-find contact information on your site’s home page, including your phone number and address.
2. Services Pages
Think about the various problems that are driving your customers to your services pages, and then write an opening paragraph about how your products or services will help solve those problems. In the second paragraph, present a summary of your services. Include as much detail as you can, but always ask yourself if the details you’re including will help a client to understand whether or not a particular service will be helpful to them.
If you have lots of content, we recommend organizing it with tabbed pages as opposed to drop-down menus. We also recommend creating a separate page for each service. If you have photos, please include them. No photos? Go take some, or use high-quality stock photography instead.
Remember, when people are searching for information, they want their questions answered quickly. If your site doesn’t answer those questions for them, they’ll simply move onto another site. Don’t let this happen just because you’ve skimped on content. Remember: Search engines love content-heavy websites.
3. Contact Information
Make it easy for your customers to contact you by putting your contact details in as many places on your website as possible. Your phone number should always be placed in the top right-hand corner of every page on which it appears, and your address should be in the bottom right-hand corner.
4. Contact Us
Again, make it as easy as possible for customers to get in touch with your company: Create a special ‘Contact Us’ page, and include it in your site’s main navigation. It’s important not to make the mistake of hiding your contact information, but neither should you create a contact form so extensive that nobody wants to fill it in. We recommend collecting only the minimum amount of necessary information on a contact page. And while you’re at it, make sure all the contact fields are required.
The following information should appear on your Contact Us page: business name, physical address, mailing address, telephone, fax, email, emergency number, website address, and hours of operation.
5. About Us
This is an especially important page, as it tells your customer who you are and why you’re in business. But don’t just explain what you do—talk about why you do it. You should use this page to showcase some of the core benefits of your company. Many companies include their mission statement here, along with pertinent information about their staff members, including photos, biographies and staffers’ qualifications. It’s also useful to include details on your About Us page about any trade associations you belong to, any awards you may have won, and any trade or insurance certificates your company holds.
6. Case Studies (aka Portfolio or Recent Work)
We love case study pages, because this is where you’re able to showcase some of your very best work. Take care to detail the pain points a particular customer had when they first came to you, and then explain how your solution was able to solve those issues. Use photos and images whenever possible on your Case Studies or Portfolio page, and include some of your information in easy-to-read bulleted lists. If you have access to client testimonials, this is an ideal place to include them.
7. Blog (aka Industry News)
This is another key area of your website, and one that will bring in a lot of new visitors. We think a blog is a great place to give away high-quality content. Your blog is the perfect place to prove your expertise and stand out as an industry expert; that’s one reason “how-to” articles and other informational content has become so popular on company blogs. You’ll also want to include specific SEO keywords in your blog posts that you couldn’t find a home for in your main website outline
8. FAQ (aka Frequently Asked Questions)
The most important aspect of a FAQ page is that it actually contains frequently asked questions. All too often, companies use their FAQ page to tell customers things that the business owner wants them to know. To us, that sounds more like a ‘Things You Need to Know’ page
A FAQ page should be a collection of the most commonly asked questions about your company and its products or services, along with your answers to those questions. It’s as simple as that. This page can be a huge timesaver for your staff, because it will save them from having to answer the same questions over and over again. In fact, we recommend that you ask your frontline staff to compile a list of the questions they’re most often asked—those are the questions you’ll want to include on this page. Remember that the more information you have on your FAQ page, the less time you’ll need to spend answering questions by email or phone.