Building your first website or your first draft of your website can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be.
First you have to approach it from the creative perspective. It should be a fun outlet to tell the world about your business.
We’ve worked building and hosting websites since 2002 and here are some of the best points we’ve learned about the 5 basic pages every website needs:
About Us - It’s continues to surprise us to this day how many websites neglect to have this page. It’s key to building credibility and information your visitors about you and your business. In today’s world, people want to know WHO they’re doing business with… this is your chance to show them. Here are the key points your About Us page needs to cover:
- How long you’ve been in business and what are your credentials specific to the industry?
- What services do you provide?
- Why is your company the one to deal with?
- How can your company help the visitor and what timelines are available for a normal project?
- How can they contact you and get started today?
- Include some client references and testimonials. This is the page where you want to shine and brag a little.
Contact Us - It’s useless to have a website without some way for your visitors to contact you. It’s that simple. Here are the key points to a good Contact Us Page:
- Make sure it’s easy to find and use. In many places on your website you should have a “call to action” which may be as simple as “click here to contact us”.
- Test Test Test to make sure that it works. And, when possible always have a backup plan. For example, you can have a Contact Us page that sends an email to firstname.lastname@example.org … but what happens if something is wrong with your email server? You’d lose that contact. We always recommend using a system that will keep a database of Contact Us entries in addition to the primary method. That way, nothing gets lost.
- We’ve seen broken contact us pages many times. A broken page leads to lost leads which leads to lost revenue.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) - Many developers skip this page and recommend pushing it off. We don’t. It can be central to guiding a conversation with a visitor to help them over the edge to take action to purchase a product. Design each question so that you have a brilliant answer. You can go on and on about how great you are with absolutely no rebuttal. It’s a beautiful thing. It’s also good for SEO (Search Engine Optimization) as you can ask specific questions whose answers will help your keyword rankings.
Products - Don’t take it for granted that people are on your site because they know who you are and what your products are. That’s a fatal mistake. Understand that many people will find your site via internet search and will land on any page on your site. Rarely will the bulk of website visitors land on the home page. So, make sure you have a good page that outlines your products and services. These are key things to help a visitor learn about your company.
Sitemap - The site map serves several purposes. First, it will help people find what they’re looking for quickly. We all use indexes to find specific tops in a book, think of the site map serving the same purpose. Second, site maps are invaluable for SEO. They specifically point search engines to specific pages on your site. As your site gets more complex, a simple user site map will no longer suffice, you’ll have to build something that leverages XML… but you can worry about that later.
The above 5 key pages that lead to success will put your business on the internet map. They’re not hard pages to develop. Don’t get mired down in making a site that’s so unique to get started. If you spend more time talking about graphics instead of content, you’re overthinking things.
Learn from your competition. Look at their websites. What’s working for them? There is nothing wrong with designing your site to stand out from theirs or to leverage an idea they have on their site.
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Wednesday, August 12, 2015