January 27, 2009
Wondering what pages to include on your website and why? Here is a list of important information that should be included on your site.
Before you start thinking about what to write, it is important that you create a plan, which outlines what each page will contain. That way you won’t repeat yourself or forget vital information. The most common pages on successful websites include:
1. Home Page (First Page)
This is your “sales” page and should provide information about what you can do for your customers. It should also give your visitors a brief overview of what they can find on your site.
2. Products / Services
It is useful to have a separate page for each product/service and write as much detail about each as possible. Start each page with a brief summary of the product/service, then provide whatever information you can. When people are searching for information on the internet, they want to know it NOW. They don’t want to wait until tomorrow when they can speak to you on the phone.
3. Contact Us
Place contact details in as many places as possible. Make it easy for your customers to contact you. Create a special “Contact Us” page, include your details in “About Us” page and also at the bottom of each page. Information to include: business name, physical address, mailing address, telephone, fax, email, emergency number, website address.
Whenever possible include the price of your products/services. Even if you can’t be specific. It is helpful to put at least a range of prices, eg. Carpet cleaning ranges between $40 – $60 per room.
5. Testimonials / Product Reviews / Before & After
Include testimonials from your current customer to show your potential clients that you are trustworthy, reliable and that you offer great service and/or products. Make sure the testimonials are real and if possible provide contact details of the person who supplied you with the testimonial. If you don’t have any right now, get them! Simply email your customers and ask for their feedback on your business and service.
You could also include before and after photos. Show the problem picture and beside it show the picture of resolution, with an explanation of your product’s benefits.
6. Frequently Asked Questions
This has proven to be a great time saver for many companies. Instead of having to answer the same questions over and over again, place them on your website and keep adding to them. The more information you have on your website, the less time you will need to spend answering questions by email or phone.
Frequently Asked Questions should address your customer’s concerns that may otherwise be an obstacle to making a sale.
7. Response form such as “Subscribe” or “Enquiry” form
An absolute must if you want to build a mailing list. Most people don’t like giving out too much information, so ask only the basics, such as Name and Email Address. Then keep in touch with your customers on a regular basis by sending out information that may be of interest to them. You may even wish to develop your own on-line magazine (ezine). There are many fantastic free or inexpensive programs that can handle this for you.
8. On-line Magazine or Newsletter
This is a great marketing tool. Not only does it help you keep in touch with your customers, but provides your website with fresh content. You can set up your Ezine in 2 different ways:
(a) Email subscribers on a regular basis or (b) Publish it on your website.
Or both. Include information about your business, industry or anything that may be of interest to your customers.
Add value to your business. Provide information that is complementary to what you do. For example, if you sell wedding dresses include information about reception venues, wedding planners, wedding cakes, flowers. By adding extra information you encourage more hits.
10. About Us
This is a very important page as it tells your customer about who you are and why they should buy your products, services and/or trust your organization. It can also feature your business hours (if you have a bricks and mortar store) or when they can speak to someone on the phone. Many companies also include their mission, details of their staff (photos, biographies, qualifications), recently completed projects, ACN or ABN, logo, directions to your store/office. It is also useful to include details of trade associations you belong to, trade and insurance certificates and any awards you may have won.
Offer a money back guarantee. The longer the guarantee, the more effective it will be. It could be 30 days, 60 days, 1 year or lifetime.
Find out what customers think about your website, business or product.
13. Events Calendar
This can relate to your business or industry. If you are an artist, you can feature dates where and when your art will be displayed or if you are a singer, where you will be performing.
14. Search My Website Feature
Some visitors to your side may not know exactly what they want but if you include a search function on your site, they can look for it very easily. Like search engines, this feature will allow your visitors to type in a word or phrase and then search for it on your site. It’s like having your own mini search engines, only instead of it searching the world wide web, it just searches your website.
15. Return/Refund Policy
To make your customers feel more comfortable when making a transaction at your website, you should provide then with your return/refund policy. Ensure it is easy to understand and spelt out step by step.
Privacy continues to be a major issue for customers shopping online. Concerns about how their information is going to be used is a major barrier when making a sale. Internet shopping experience is built on trust and privacy is the number one ingredient in trust.
17. Site Map
A site map is similar to a contents. It shows visitors how the site is laid out and which sections are where.
18. Copyright Information
Your website should carry a copyright notice to protect its intellectual property. It is generally in the form of “Copyright © 2004, Your Company Name”.
Here you can place links to the manufacturers of your products, trade associations or complementary services. When you place links to other businesses, you can request they do the same for you. This will not only bring you more visitors, but may improve your search engine ranking.
20. Media Information
Include any information, articles, photos of your products, staff etc that have appeared in the media – print, TV, radio or internet.
This can include news about your products/services or about your industry.
22. On-line store
An on-line store allows you sell products directly on the internet 24 hours a day/7 days a week. When building an online store it is important to take in a number of key concepts.
- Make sure that when visitors arrive at your store the navigational mechanisms are simple and effective
- The actual process of placing the order must be simple
- Make sure you accept common and convenient methods of payment
- Continually test your store so you understand your customer’s shopping experience
A blog is a journal that is available on the web. The activity of updating a blog is “blogging” and someone who keeps a blog is a “blogger.” Blogs are typically updated daily or weekly using software that allows people with little or no technical background to update and maintain the blog. Blogs are a great tool as they help with:
- Communicating with your customers. Blogs provide a way for you to communicate with your customers directly. And it is a two-way communication. You can post a message on your blog and your visitors can easily respond.
- Search Engine Marketing Blogs give you an increased presence on search engines, like Yahoo! and Google. If you use Blogger (Google’s Blogging Tool), every message you post creates a new page on Google so in a very short time you could have lots of pages pointing to your website
- Stay Ahead of Your Competition Blogs are relatively new and chances are your competition does not yet use them. So you will be seen as an expert in your industry when you post your knowledge and expertise.
- Media & Public Relations Blogs are excellent PR tools. You can post your Media Releases and articles and have them picked up by the media.
- Free or Low Cost
24. Photo Gallery
Even if you do not wish to sell your products on-line, you may wish to showcase your goods or services in a special photo gallery – show how your products or services are being used by your customers. They say “pictures speak a thousand words” and on your website it is particularly important.
Don’t give your customers a reason to visit your competitor’s website and provide them with all the information they may possibly need or want.
Ivana Katz of Websites 4 Small Business makes it easy for you to get your business on the internet. If you’re looking for a professional and affordable website designer, visit www.web4business.com.au and download a free website plan.