How to Create a Website Page – Essential Pages You Need
Have you sat around staring at your computer screen because you just invested in the domain name for your business? You might be wondering what pages you absolutely need on your website before you tell anyone about your newest adventure. Or perhaps you may be a veteran website owner that is still struggling with the feeling that something is missing.
While there are a lot of pages your website could have, you will find that there are a few key pages that will make or break your online business. These are the pages that visitors will expect to see on your website and if they aren’t readily available to them they may hit that little “x” faster than you would prefer. After all, you want to land a sale, new subscriber or fan.
The Four Make or Break Pages
Before you hit publish on your website, you will need these four pages on your site. These pages are not only crucial for visitors but they give Google, and other search engines, the information that is needed to help you establish an online presence in their complicated algorithms.
There are three pages that will be visited on your site more than anything else, and one that will cover your business legally. They include a well put together home page, contact page, an about page and a page for your terms, services and policies, such as GDPR. These four pages should be on every single website, it doesn’t matter if you are a traveling pet groomer, a gourmet bakery or a handmade jewelry artist.
The four essential pages are not only for your target audience but they are filled with that good stuff that Google Bots love to read and gossip about!
The Start Here Page (aka Home Page)
The most important page on your site is the one that gives clear direction for your visitor. This is what is often referred to as a “Start Here” page and just as the title suggests tells visitors where to start. This page is especially important for first-time visitors who may have found a blog post and need more information before they start a click fest and get lost in the website abyss.
The home page needs to be laid out in an easy to navigate manner with the specific action you want the visitor to take on your site – think call to action.
For example, if the priority goal is leading them into your sales funnel starting with a freebie, the opt-in offer needs to be above the fold of the page, typically right below the navigation bar.
The opt-in offer’s primary goal is to capture the attention of the website visitor. This should span across the full-width of the website ensuring they click before being tempted to scroll and should be the primary action you want anyone who visits the page to take.
Focus on the Goal
You don’t want to give them the temptation to scroll right past it. If your goal is something else, focus on building the section out here. It can be anything from booking a consult call to checking out your shop page or even selling a specific product. Focus on the goal and tell your visitor why it is important for them to take action immediately.
From there you will move down the page with the possible actions you will want the visitor to take, such as directing them to a best-selling product, sale or popular blog post. If your primary offer wasn’t for them, it might be because they need more information about your business, which will lead us to the next essential page.
There are many more pieces that you could include in your home page to guarantee interaction from your visitors. You can read more about How to Design A Killer Home Page on The Creative Boss).
Remember that simplicity is your friend. Clear and simple directions will guide your visitors in the right direction.
The About Page
Another page that will get more visits than most is your about page, because if we are being honest, humans are inherently nosy.
But there is something that most website owners get totally wrong with about pages. They talk about them or their business. This shouldn’t be the case for your about page. Your about page should focus on someone else, your ideal customer.
This is a page that should resonate with your ideal customer. It lets them know about what you can do to improve their lives or businesses.
I know that the name is confusing and most tend to break down a personal bio and a story about how your business is like a baby to you. but this doesn’t actually help your ideal customer with what they need and will most likely result in them shopping elsewhere.
Your about page should be conversational and light-hearted but if you keep it focused on the results for your ideal visitor it will help your business — much more than telling folks about cats you own.
The Contact Page
Your contact page is also something that gets pushed to the back burner for most website owners. Sometimes even the emails that come in from it end up in a black hole.
This is why your contact page should be both optimized for the site visitor plus function well to guarantee that you receive their responses.
So what should you include on a contact page? I’m sure you know the obvious answer, a contact form. However, a successful contact page should include some more information for the visitor that will help you establish both expectations and boundaries.
Your contact page should include clear instructions on how to fill out the contact form. Yes, it should be intuitive but sometimes people need to you tell them specifically what to do.
The page should also include your office hours or turnaround time for responding to inquiries. If you only work in the office between 10 am and 2 pm, let them know. This tells them that outside of that window, they may not receive a response right away.
FAQs to the Rescue
Another often neglected contact page antidote is a FAQ section. If you are a small business owner you are probably familiar with answering the same questions over and over again. If you have been receiving repetitive questions, it is time to put together a list of the FAQs and put them on your website.
By answering the questions before they even ask it, they will subconsciously know that you value their time and yours. This also gives a sense that YOU are the right person for the job because you anticipated their needs.
This is one reason why you are seeing more folks utilizing chat features on this site. This gives the illusion of instant answers but unless you have the resources to hire someone to man it, folks will be waiting for responses from you.
The Legalese Pages
Another page that is often skipped on websites, especially by new website owners, is the legal pages. The legal pages often include terms and conditions, privacy policies, etc. They often think that this isn’t important because they aren’t making money yet, or they simply don’t know about the importance of them.
If you are giving advice, selling a service or product or collecting personal information there are some legal pages that you are required to include on your site.
You will want to make sure that you are safe from being fined or sued and that is why having pages for privacy policies and terms and conditions are crucial. If you are unsure where to get these pages there are some great lawyers that work creative business owners like Christina Scalera of The Contract Shop and Genavieve Shingle Jaffe.
These pages don’t need to be beautiful but they need to be included. They need to be easy to find, they are often linked in the footer of your website on every page. This isn’t information that should be hidden from your site visitor.
Do your research and be sure to include these pages on your website before hitting the “publish” button on anything else.
More Pages to Include
The Money Making Pages (aka product pitch pages)
Now that you are armed with the four essential pages you can move on to the pages that will help you generate income. These are the pages that folks will land on with the intention of opening their wallet. It is your job to utilize these pages so they don’t leave without purchasing from you.
Now not every business needs all of these pages, for some you may only need one, it is dependent on the type of business that you are growing.
The product pitch pages should be laid out in a way that presents the solution to your audience’s problem and makes it an easy sell. If you notice that you have these pages in place and are getting traffic, but they are not resulting in any income then it is time to revisit the page and figure out exactly why that is.
Remember in the online space nothing is set in stone and changes are often easy to make.
One of the most common pages I see for websites is a services page. If you are a coach, nutritionist, web designer, or anything else that is a service you will want to lay out a clear services page.
This page should do more than just list what you offer – it should start with the solution. Present the dilemma and break down the solution so that the visitor knows that you are qualified to solve their problem.
A well laid out services page doesn’t even need to include prices. You might find it helpful to weed out those that do not have the budget for you, but at the same time, you may find that it often isn’t money related for them to say no, but something else, like fear.
Your services page should also include a way to either purchase or get in touch with you. Whether through scheduling, a consult call or joining your email list. Just have a solid flow for the potential customer to get the information they need and move closer to finishing the sale to get the results they are after.
If you offer products, physical or digital, you will want to set up a shop page. If you are designing your site with WordPress, WooCommerce is fantastic for this.
Your shop page needs to be organized in a manner that is easy for customers to navigate and find what they need. Your layout should be simple and not cluttered. You may even find it beneficial to limit the number of items that are shown on a page to avoid the overwhelm and scare the customer away.
Another feature that you shop should include is detailed descriptions. Not only what they are getting, but set the expectations and the instructions on how to purchase. While most are well capable of purchasing items online you want to tell them what to expect and if your checkout process is a bit different, be sure to share that.
If you are looking to really maximize the results from your shop pages, I recommend using tools to show upsells and cross-sells of related items.
This means that you have an automated system that recommends additional items to a customer before they checkout.
Remember that a well-designed shop page will make the difference for someone just browsing your site to someone walking away with goods in hand.
A hidden page that can generate revenue is a resources page. This is great if you are a service provider and share recommended tools or books frequently or if you are a blogger and are always being asked what tools you use to get the job.
A resources page can both eliminate questions in your inbox but also help you to make a bit of extra cash with affiliate links.
It is important to remember that this page should be useful to your audience. You probably don’t need to share every resource and tool that you use, just the ones that will benefit them the most. A great way to structure the resources page is to break it down into categories, so that your visitor can quickly find the section that they need.
And remember that you should do more than add the logo and link to the tool that you use. Give your site visitor the reason you are using this tool over the competition. Use this page as a testimonial that will help move them towards clicking the affiliate link.
Let It Be or Tweak?
Always remember the beauty of being an online business owner is that nothing is set in stone. Track the results on your pages and tweak accordingly. If you are looking for a great way to track where visitors are viewing and clicking on the page I highly suggest Sumo’s Heat Map tool.
This tool, paired with Google Analytics, will let you know exactly what is working on your website and what could use a little TLC. Designing a high converting website often isn’t done in a week, it takes time to track the results of your site visitors and figure out exactly what appeals to them.
Design your site, track the results, tweak accordingly. Follow this method until you have hit the jackpot.
About the Author
Sarah is the founder and lead designer of The Creative Boss. After years of running handmade shops on Etsy and scouring the interwebs for tips and advice on how to grow and succeed online, she knew that there needed to be a change! The Creative Boss was launched to offer a one stop shop for busy creatives who want to succeed online with ease.
Now that you know what pages your site should include it’s time to get to work designing your website. If you unsure what else you should have your website then grab the Web Design Self Audit Checklist.