Site Content – What Should You Put on Your Website?
You’ve got your site, but what should you put on it?
It can be overwhelming to stare at a blank page (or screen) and try to dredge content from the recesses of your brain. For yeeeears, my website had just 5 pages. And I still had trouble coming up with things to say. But in the past year, I’ve been really working on building and refining my business and now I’m up to 13, not including the blog. Take a guess at whether my SEO was better then or now.
Yup, content helps. But it has to be meaningful, which is why we’re going to talk about what makes sense for your site content.
There is no “maybe” here. Certain pages you NEED if you want your website to be navigable by your users.
A lot of home pages are pointless. They have some sort of welcome message, maybe a pretty picture, and that’s it. But now, people are finally recognizing the power of the home page, and starting to think strategically about it.
Your home page should include your mission or bio, whatever compelling little tidbit makes you stand out, and a call to action. This is the place to spotlight whatever action it is that you want users to take on your site. It could be to shop, sign up for an event, or even just to contact you.
You can include other things as well – my site has a preview of each of the main pages to make it easy to preview on mobile, but those are optional. Your call to action is not.
This is a no brainer. What is your purpose, why is this site here, what is it that you want people to do? Products are pretty easy – you’ve got a couple options for sales pages and shopping carts, but everyone knows what to expect. Services can be trickier.
As a graphic designer, I have two pages for this. One is my portfolio with visual examples of my work, and the other is my service list and pricing. You might have just a couple services and want to discuss them in more detail. That works, too.
Contact information is so essential that I’ve begun including email, phone numbers, and even the contact form in the design of the site. My email is in the header and the footer, and all of my contact information is available on every page because it’s all in the footer. You might not want that much clutter in your site design, but you’ll definitely need to make this page clear and easy to find.
Even product based businesses who don’t need to interact with their clients to make a sale can benefit from easy to find contact information. As a customer, I need to be able to reach someone if I have a question or else I’ll take that sale somewhere else.
An about page might not seem essential, but it is for 2 reasons:
- It’s expected
- People buy from people, not corporations
I said before that I hate credibility as a reason to do something, but it matters. It is rare that I visit a site that doesn’t have some sort of mission statement or “meet our team” or something. It gives your site a more personal touch, which is important for the second reason.
Obviously, people do sometimes buy from corporations. We like our brand names, after all. But especially for service based businesses or shopping locally, we want to know who we’re buying from. We don’t just want a good product; we want to enjoy the experience. Without a little preview of the person we’ll be working with, we can’t know if it will be fun or horrendous and a lot of us don’t want to take that chance.
You have a little more leeway here and can pick and choose what you think will best suit your users.
Do you get a lot of the same questions from clients or potential clients? Make an FAQ page! People might not read it, but if they do, that saves both of you time. I personally use FAQ pages frequently on shopping sites when I want to know about return policies. Quick tip: don’t fill your FAQ page with fluffy questions just to make you look good. Customers can tell the difference between real information and promotion, and it reflects poorly on you.
Industry History or Jargon
It’s best to avoid industry specific phrases or jargon if possible, but it’s inevitable that we’ll slip up or have specific phrases that there’s no good substitute for. This is where a mini dictionary could come in handy (I have a “Design Terms” page). You could also use this as a place to explain obscure things about your industry or how your industry got started. Anything you think could be useful for your readers! Not to mention being an SEO goldmine.
You need a sitemap for the search engines, but why not make things easier for your readers and make one for human eyes as well? I use my sitemap for all my 404 pages, so that if anyone is struggling to find something, the directory pops up to help them out.
This works better for service based industries, but if you work with clients, it’s convenient for them to get a sneak peek of what it’s like to work with you. This can include an example project or a list of the steps you usually take. I tweaked mine to link my users to the pages with prep work, like “Questions I’ll probably ask you.”
This doesn’t necessarily need its own page, but testimonials are such an important part of the conversion process! We all like to know that someone has tried, and liked, something before we purchase. Testimonials are a reassurance that this person knows what they’re doing and that other people have enjoyed working with them.
Side note: I read recently that reviews (for products) are more effective when there are some negative ones. This is because we don’t trust products with only positive reviews (we think they’re potentially fake) AND because reading a negative review that doesn’t apply to us reassures us that the rest of the features are what we need.
This could come in a lot of formats. You could write educational articles, provide tips, share recipes, or even just share company news. A blog is great for your SEO because it means fresh content and keeps the search engines interested, but it’s also a place to connect with your target market.
Policies or Procedures
If you’re selling retail, what’s your return policy? Is there a money back guarantee? If you’re a service based business, how do you handle liability? What’s in your contract? This could really be anything, but if you have any industry-specific policies that your customers should know about, include this. Both for their education and to CYA in case of any legal issues later on.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but I hope it’s enough to give you some ideas!