Your website is the hub of your online presence. It’s the mass around which your entire digital operation revolves. In other words, it’s fairly important. Having a mediocre website will advance the impression that you are mediocre in general. Not only are first impressions very meaningful, but there’s also the compelling argument that any digital-centric business failing to put time into its website is probably also failing to handle everything else.
The conclusion is simple, then: if you want to get ahead online, you need to make your website as good as it can be. You don’t have unlimited time, though, so where should your attention go? Some pages are more important than others, so don’t bother pouring hours into adjusting the design of your 404 page. Let’s look at 4 essential pages that you need — and need to get right:
A straightforward home page
Your home page is the main page of your website, and what an internet user should reach if they visit your domain with no URL additions. Extremely obvious, yes? The problem with some website owners is that they don’t understand what a home page is supposed to do, so they clutter theirs up with unnecessary features and confusing layouts.
A home page is supposed to be the jumping-off point for a website. It should confirm the nature of the site (to orient the visitor), then give them clear options for taking action, whether it’s to view products, find some information, or use a provided service. Making it flashy and attention-grabbing won’t help if no one clicks through to the pages that actually drive revenue (product pages, for instance). Aim for a minimalist structure that supports the rest of your site.
An engaging “About Us” page
Your website ultimately represents a brand, whether it’s a corporate brand or a personal brand, and you need to take that seriously. Brand identity and personality are extremely important these days, particularly with the rise of interest in corporate ethics. People want to support brands they like — and the presence of shared values plays a huge role in determining that.
As noted, your home page should be minimal and stay out of the way, so the job of showing who you are and why you do what you do falls upon your “About Us” page (you can title it however you prefer, naturally). To make things easier, there’s a simple formula that works well, but you’ll need to demonstrate some creativity and unique personality while adapting it. Think about all the things that make you unique. How can you display them?
A well-stocked blog page
Content marketing demands attention from every corner of the digital world, because it’s such a critical element of getting noticed online. Build up some solid blog posts on the right topics and they’ll start to rank for relevant keywords. You can also share them on social media to get attention that way. Offer some real value and people will be more eager to support you.
How many posts do you need? There’s no set number, unfortunately, and that applies to word count as well. If you look around, you’ll find people who say that every blog post should be at least 1000 words to perform well, or over 1200, or no smaller than 1500. It’s all speculative. There are plenty of massively-long blog posts that don’t do very well. Just make your content useful and update as regularly as you can: that should be enough.
An easy-to-use contact page
What’s the goal of your website? You presumably want something from the visitors. It costs money to keep a website live and updated, after all, and yours must be serving some purpose that delivers ROI. Here’s the thing, though: even if you make the intended action clear, there will always be people who want more information first and insist upon reaching out directly.
This is why every website needs a good contact page. Yours should make it as easy as possible for someone to contact you with a query or complaint, creating a user-friendly omnichannel experience for the customer. It needs to offer a simple contact form that requires minimal data entry, offer links to social media profiles, and provide general contact details such as an email address, an office address, and a phone number. Vitally, it must also be mobile-responsive — even great mobile sites sometimes get sloppy with their form design.
Whatever your website is for and whatever purpose it serves, it absolutely needs each of these 4 pages. And if you really care about making the most of its potential, you have to improve your home page, your “About Us” page, your contact page, and your blog.
Freelance Website Designer & Developer
Rodney Laws is an ecommerce expert with over a decade of experience in building online businesses. Check out his reviews on EcommercePlatforms.io and you’ll find practical tips that you can use to build the best online store for your business. Connect with him on Twitter @EcomPlatformsio.