Before you start to build your website or give it an update, you have to sit down and plan it out. I’m not talking about the pretty parts like a logo and your colour scheme. I mean the structural, bare bones of the website. The website pages.
What pages are you going to have on your website? And why?? What’s the point of each page? Are you including a ‘Reviews’ page just because one of your competitors has one? Do you really understand the point of an ‘About’ page? Should you have a ‘Pricing’ page or not?
There are only a handful of pages that are needed on most sites. Other pages over and above the bare necessities are fine as long as they truly are needed and serve a purpose.
Website pages that are essential
These pages are needed on pretty much every website and are the basic ‘must haves’. Make sure you include them!
Without a home page, you’ve got nothing.
This is the usually the first page your visitors will land on and needs to sum up in a few sentences what you do and what benefits the reader is going to get from your website. You only have a few seconds to make a good first impression with your home page. Keep it short, to the point and visually appealing.
If your home page isn’t done well, it might be the only page on your site that gets seen. Think of it as a summary of what you do and sell, but also a map that guides the reader to the right parts of your website.
This is a tricky page and one that many people struggle with. Your ‘about’ page shouldn’t really be about you!
Use it to show off a bit, tell your readers how wonderful you are and why they should trust you, but do it with the readers’ needs in mind.
So you’ve been in business for 25 years. Does your reader care? Not really. But if those years of business mean you’re highly experienced and an expert in your industry, that’s what they want to know and that’s what you need to tell them.
You can also use this page to mention your staff with a photo and a small bio, list your opening hours and highlight any qualifications – as long as they’re relevant to the reader and the information benefits them in some way.
Service / Product page
Whether you offer a service or a product, this is where you describe what you have on offer.
If you have multiple services or products, use a separate, detailed page for each one and use this main page to summarise what you do or sell. Have a brief paragraph about each service or product and then a link to your detailed page.
The individual pages can go into detail with things like what the product or service is, who it benefits, how it works, the cost and how they can take advantage of your offer.
If you want people to buy from you, they need to be able to contact you!
Include a page with all your contact details (phone number and email address as a minimum), as well as a contact form, a map if you sell from a specific location and links to your social media channels. Make sure you cover all bases – some people like to call you, others will email and some will prefer a contact form.
It’s also a good idea to have your phone number or email in the header on every page of your website.
Website pages worth considering
These pages, whilst not essential, are great to have on your site and serve a valuable purpose.
Price List page
This is one you’ll probably umm and ahh over quite a lot before you decide whether or not to have one.
Think about when you’re looking for something online. If you’re researching an accountant for example, and there are three that look good. Two want you to call them to discuss what your needs are and their rates. One has all their prices listed with a package that fits your needs exactly. Which one are you most likely to get in touch with first?
Customers appreciate transparency, and love to know what they’re up for before they contact you. Having to call for a price puts some people off – they assume you’re horrendously expensive or you’ll put the hard sell on them.
If you can’t list specific prices, at least include a range or a starting price so people have an idea of your prices. Your customers will feel they can trust you more.
Testimonials / Reviews page
Testimonials and reviews show your potential customers that you’re trustworthy and reliable and your services or products provide value.
It’s a great idea to have some quotes on your website; on a dedicated page as well as sprinkled throughout other pages. Try and include a full name, company name and a photo of the reviewer if possible. It gives your testimonial more credibility.
I recommend having a blog page if you have the time to keep it updated (or the willingness to outsource it).
It’s one of the best ways to bring new traffic to your site and boost your SEO. It also makes your website a go-to place for your readers when they need to know something.
Frequently asked questions provide valuable information to your potential clients, but also act as a great time saver for you. Instead of answering the same questions over and over again, you can direct people to this page where some of their other concerns might be addressed too.
Website pages to maybe include
Some pages are good to include on your site if you need them. An e-commerce site is going to have very different needs to a simple information only site, so go with what’s applicable for your website and business.
- Subscribe form – include this if you want to build an e-newsletter mailing list. You can also have opt-in forms around your site without the need for a designated page.
- Resources page – listing resources that are related to your industry adds value to your website and can encourage more visitors.
- Guarantee page – you might like to offer a guarantee to your customers to ease any concerns they might have about purchasing. This page will outline the details of the guarantee you’re offering.
- Calendar page – if your business is centred around a busy schedule, you can include a calendar of where people can see you, find you, meet with you, etc. This is great if you visit markets, perform at different venues or travel around.
- Returns Policy page – including a returns policy makes customers feel more comfortable with their purchase. Include all the details and a step by step process of how to make a return.
- Site Map page – for complicated websites with lots of pages, a site map can be included as an easy way for visitors to see where they are and where they might want to go.
- Terms and conditions page – if there are any terms and conditions that come with working with you, it’s a good idea to let clients know what these are up front.
- Photo Gallery page – this is a great page to have in cases where customers might like to see samples of your service or product. A picture tells a thousand words, so if visuals matter, include this page. Great for the hair and beauty industry, before and after shots and anywhere a customer wants to see the product in action first.
- Case studies / portfolio page – this is where you can showcase some of your previous work and tell a story in a case study of how you have helped someone out. If potential clients can see what your work is like, it might persuade them a bit more.
- Who you work with / don’t work with page – who you don’t work with is as important as who you do work with. If this is relevant for your business, include a page for this.
Website pages to get rid of
These pages aren’t needed. Ever. Get rid of them.
- Cover page – you know those pages that tell you you’ve arrived at a website and you have to click to enter? Get rid of them. They’re annoying to readers and just aren’t needed. If you’re using your cover page to direct people to different parts of your website, you can do this on your home page.
- Flimsy pages with not much content and no real purpose – merge them with another page or scrap them.
Every page on your website should have a purpose. Take a look at yours. How does it stack up? If you know it could be better, check out my website copywriting packages.