Let me ask you a question.
When you built your website, did you sit down and create a carefully thought out navigation plan? In other words, did you work out all the pages you wanted to have on your site, and decide on the intention and purpose for each page?
If you didn’t, you’re in good company because most people don’t. The majority of websites tend to start with the basic pages, and have a number of extra pages added randomly to them over time.
Sometimes this works perfectly well.
But other times you end up with a confusing mess of pages all over the place, no clear navigation, duplicate content, flimsy content and a lack of direction. Your readers can’t find what they’re looking for, so they go and check out your competitors website instead.
If this sounds familiar, don’t despair. Completely scrapping your website and starting again isn’t always necessary, but if you’re thinking of tidying up your website, you absolutely need to make sure that each and every page has a specific purpose. There should be a primary goal for each page.
The things is, like a rebellious teenager or a stubborn toddler, website pages don’t always do what they’re supposed to do.
A good website should have an overall strategy and a goal for every single page. Ideally, one goal per page, but this can vary depending on what you’re trying to achieve.
To get started with a content audit, go through every page on your website and ask “Why is this page on my website?” And write down the reason.
⇒ If there is a clear reason, such as to explain your services, describe a product, encourage your readers to download a PDF or submit a request for a quote, then that page is probably fine to leave as it is.
⇒ If you can’t see the purpose of the page, how will your readers know what to do? Make sure there is something that tells them what to do next.
Most website pages will have a single, clear goal or intention.
- To sign up for a free webinar
- To download a free checklist
- To click to some package options and find out more information
Whilst I usually recommend you keep your options to the bare minimum, some website pages give you a huge amount of options.
On Apple’s homepage there are 64 things to click on (at the time of writing this post).Their goal is for you to choose what you want to look at and go there to find out more. With a well known name such as Apple, you can do this, because most people know about their products before visiting the website. For lesser known names, you’ll have to work a bit harder.
So, here are some common website pages and common goals for each page. How do your pages compare?
Your Home page will normally have a few navigation options, and that’s good. It’s meant to show your readers an overview of what you offer and how you help people, and give them some detail that usually clicks to another page with more details.
Think of your website as Bunnings store and your Home page as the staff member who stands at the entrance of the store to greet you. They say hello, ask you if they can help you find anything and point you in the right direction. Your Home page is the online “meeter and greeter” for your website.
The normal goal of an About page is to instil trust in your readers. The aim is to show people that you’re relatable, because if you can do this, they’re more inclined to buy something from you or work with you.
If you can tell your story and they connect with that, their emotions take over and they become more interested.
The About page is the most common page on websites where people get it wrong. It’s not meant for you to tell people how long you’ve been in business and what qualifications you have (although you can include those if they’re relevant). It’s where you need to get in touch with your inner hippie and talk about your feelings and emotions. This leads to trust, and inside that zone of trust is where the magic happens.
The usual goal of a Contact page is to encourage your reader to contact you! No surprises there.
You need to ask them to call you, send an email, come and visit your store or office, or submit a contact form. Keep your language friendly and approachable. I’ve seen so many websites that have a bland and uninviting contact page, that gives you the impression you’d be a real inconvenience if you actually contacted them. This is sure to turn people off.
Whilst other website pages might have a primary intention with a few other links here and there, a Landing page generally has no links to anything else. Not even a main menu.
The goal is to do one thing only – sign up for a webinar, download an eBook or enrol in a course. If your reader doesn’t do that, they have to close that page or click back. It’s pretty much “do this one thing or leave”.
It’s common for landing pages to purely focus on lead generation by convincing you to hand over your name and an email address.
Focus on your goals
To help you get clear on the intention for each website page, keep the purpose or goal in mind when you’re writing that page.
It helps to work in reverse, and write your call-to-action first then work backwards from there. You can fill in the blanks with everything you need to convince your reader to do the one thing you want them to do.
If you’re not sure which pages of your website are fine and which need a bit of work, find out with a Website Content Analysis.