Not all of us know where to start when it comes to deciding the essentials that should be included in a business website. Is minimalism the key, or should one cram in as much information as possible on as many pages as possible?
Our clients come to us for a professional web design service, but very often they have their own pre-conceived ideas of what their website content should be. Usually we reach a happy compromise, but just in case you’ve been wondering about whether your own site does the business as far as generating sales goes, it might help to know what our expert web designers recommend:
Note: For the purposes of this summary of website essentials we’re looking at a basic “store front” website that would suit a small business or solopreneur, to showcase their products and/or services, experience, qualifications and contact details.
- Home Page: As the most visited page and the means with which you make your first impression, this page should be interesting, engaging and attention-grabbing. What you do (brief and to the point), and how to get in touch with you should be immediately obvious. You also need to include social media buttons, and a simple menu for easy navigation. Also of value on the home page are testimonials, blog highlights, a short introductory video, any awards or industry recognition, and a clear call to action.
- About Page: Next in order of importance comes the “About Us” page, which is your chance to show the visitor how reliable, trustworthy, experienced and reputable your business is. Don’t make the mistake of describing the products and/or services you offer on this page. The About Page should do what the name says, and introduce you and your employees to potential customers. Bios and photos are good, a short history of the business, any special recognition you’ve received, and some words about what makes your product/service unique.
- Products/Services: Now you have the visitor comfortable with your business, you can lead him/her on to discover in detail what you offer. If there is a lot to digest, you can consider separating the content into categories, or more detailed sub-pages for each product or service. Highlight the benefits people can enjoy using your products/services, and point out how they differ and/or are superior to those of your competitors.
Important tip: Don’t call these pages simply “Products” or “Services”! These generic terms are not good for SEO. Try to use descriptive words or phrases to name the pages in your navigation bar, eg. “Blocked drains” or “Mechanical Repairs”.
- FAQs: We recommend including a Frequently asked Questions page to help persuade visitors to take the call to action and buy from you, or hire you. The questions are not only to satisfy potential customers, but also to prevent you from having to answer the same queries over and over again. Choose the questions you are asked repeatedly, and think of any that might overcome any objections a prospective customer may have. Give honest, clear answers.
- Testimonials: A very important element of your business website, Testimonials or Case Studies can be used to demonstrate to site visitors that you are not only skilled at what you do, but that you are trustworthy, credible and dependable. If you can endorse the (short) written testimonials with photographs of customers and your work, along with names and, if possible, contact information, so much the better.
- Gallery/Portfolio: If you’ve got something good, this is the place to show it off! Use photographs of your work – as diverse a selection as possible. Keep this page updated fairly regularly to keep it current.
- News/Blog: Only add this page if you are confident that you will be able to add new content regularly. Also, make sure that you can fill it with interesting and meaningful content relevant to your industry or product line.
- Contact: This page is crucial – after all, the whole purpose of your website is to provide a portal for potential customers (and returning customers) to get in touch and do business with you. You should have your contact details in the footer of every page on your website, but on the Contact page, besides repeating these details, you can add your opening hours, a location map with directions (if you have a physical business address) and, highly recommended, a contact form the visitor can submit to you.
Interesting fact: It’s a case of last, but not least, and you may be wondering why the Contact page – which is equally, if not more, important than the Home Page and About Page – comes at the end of the navigation list. It’s all due to something called the “serial position effect”, which relates to our cognitive bias. This effect has been proven to show that the items at the beginning and end of a list are more easily remembered (and are therefore more prominent) than those in the middle.
As you will have gathered by now, the number and nature of a business website’s pages are not a random choice, but are carefully mapped with the aim of giving the user a good experience, and turning a visitor into a customer.
If you would like Dentons Digital experts to evaluate your business website for performance and suggest improvements, give us a call …. we’ll make sure you have a website that works.